Can peonies be grown in Southern California?

andrea_san_diego(z10 So Cal)June 29, 2005

I'd love to grow peonies but have been told that they won't grow in zone 10. I live about 9 miles from the ocean. What conditions do they require?



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Common garden peonies will fail, but you could perhaps try one of the mediterranean species; like Paeonia
cambessedesii from Mallorca or P. clusii from Crete.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 7:39PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Herbaceous peonies require about 400 hours of chilling tempertures. You can call your county extension office for the average hours where you live. Al

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 9:39AM
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>Herbaceous peonies require about 400 hours of chilling tempertures.

The regular lactiflora-cultivars do, not all species.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 10:33AM
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Andrea....its never a question whether a particular plant will grow where you reside....its a question of

"Can I buy such plant at my local nursery or garden center?

If you cant buy it, then the question is moot....and if you entertain the thought of ordering from a far-off mail-order house, you would be advised not to since, if the local nursery doesn't stock it, you have to reason..... why.

If a plant....any plant, is not hardy to the local conditions, it would not serve your wallet to pay good money only to see it go to waste.

You should always be encouraged to buy only locally grown, locally hardy plants.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 6:32PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Unfortunately your local nursery is not interested in dealing with plants that will require some education of the purchaser. He does not want to replace a plant that failed. Because of this business practice all local nurseries carry the SAME PLANT INVENTORY. Many people are happy to eat at McDonalds but I don't think you would be happy if every restaurant had the McDonalds menu. I feel free to buy from nurseries of all stripes and those plants that do well I propagate and donate to plant sales, in an effort to encourage a wider choice. Al

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 10:07AM
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Did you find out WHEN you should start the 400 hours of cold? I purchased a double pink this spring and it had been pre chilled by the nursery. I can't dig it out but I am going to try to simulate winter by covering the soil with ice. I hope that it works. My plant actually had six blooms. They were so pretty. I must have more.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 7:56PM
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I'm going to chime in here for anyone interested in trying to grow peonies in zone 10. I fell for it again at Home Depot. Last year I bought rhubarb - which did well until the heat of August killed it - this year I bought a peony. I've planted it in pot on my patio. I live in the dry, hot inland area of zone 10. The plant has sprouted and is growing nicely. I have kept it on my patio -- however it hasn't been too dry or hot lately. But come summer I'll have to figure something out.
Anyone interested in seeing if this peony experiment will last can follow this posting. I'll also post some pictures.
I live in a place where catci, succulents and drought tolerant plants thrive, we'll see if this peony makes it.



    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 12:40PM
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Janet705(So. CA)

I have one from a friend that does well in So. CA but have no clue what it's called. It is a tree peony. Here's a picture of it currently in bloom. They are out there I just don't know the name. Happy growimg!!!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 2:41AM
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homenovice(z10 / Sunset 23)

I've heard that Festiva Maxima is one of the peonies that is more suited to Southern California. Sunset had an article some years ago listing a handful. I'm trying some in a north-facing location.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 3:59PM
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empireman(Hollywood Hills)

The good news is that COSTCO in Burbank has beautiful 5 gallon Peonies right now at about $15.00 each. I have paid up to $45.00 for peony plants before and they have never done well. Last year I planted bulbs and they didn't bloom. The nursery that grew the peonies being sold at Costco said that they were adapted for local gardens so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. One thing they did say was that they need watering EVERY DAY. That may be why my bulbs didn't do so well. I purchased the ones with buds and they are blooming as we speak. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:47PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Last year I bought one of those 5 gallon herbaceous peonies from costco, as usual for costco a no name variety. It was obviously root bound so tight I had to cut the container off. Had I left it in the container even watering it everyday would not have been enough. I planted it in the garden in a protected area, without the dividing it called for, putting it off until the fall when it goes dormant. In the fall I dug it up, made a couple of poor divisions, mostly to free up the roots. It was a poor investment and I will not be tempted to buy a peony too long in the pot and permanently damaged. If you buy a blooming plant and plant it where the chilling is not sufficient, there is no reason to expect it to bloom next year. Al

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:42AM
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