Tibetan tree peony propagation question

kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)July 14, 2012

I have a Tibetan tree peony that I got from Raintree Nursery about 5 years ago, and it is abut 6' high now. I have had wonderful yellow blossoms for the last couple of years, and this year, after it flowered, it has put out large numbers of pods about the size of my thumb. The pods are still green, but I broke one open and it has large yellow seeds about the size of a small marble. When is the best time to collect the seeds and what are the steps for propagating them?

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When the pods open up and the seeds are ripe, but not dried up yet, I would suggest planting them into the ground 2-4 inches deep, 4 inches apart in a garden bed, and many of them should come up next spring.

Don't let them dry out because it causes them to fall into dormancy, making them harder to germinate. I have attached my blog with some seedlings from March. I believe the Tibetian Tree peonies should be the most vigorous types.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tree peony seedlings

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:04PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Thanks, Steve. Great info...exactly what I needed to know.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:08PM
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No problem.

I actually need to thank you for letting me know the name of this type of tree peony because I've been trying to search for it, but now I ordered 5 of them for myself from raintree Nursery.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 3:10PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

It actually took about 4-5 years before it produced flowers, but it was worth the wait. I should have taken a picture this spring, but I didn't. Good luck with yours.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:38AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Just thought you would be interested in what the plant looks like and what the pods are like at the moment:

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:28AM
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Thanks for the pictures.

They look like they might be a little bit too young, but might still be capable of sprouting as long as the seeds appear to be solid.

It might be best to wait another month or so to harvest a majority of them to plant right away. After ordering them, they said shipping doesn't start until spring so it will be a while before I can add this beauty to my peony garden.

It looks like you have lots of juvenile groves of phyllostachys bamboos in the background.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:18PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I agree that the seeds may be too young to plant; I just pruned off a couple to get a look. I'm going to follow your advice and wait a while for the rest of them.

Yes, those are various Phyllostachys...but not juvenile...they're quite a distance from the camera so they look small.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 4:33PM
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It is about time to getting those pods opened up and plant the seeds based on how the seed pods look on my neighbor's mature tree peonies. It's important to get them in the ground, 2-3 inches deep in the flower bed, and watered so that they cannot dry out so they can sprout roots in the fall, and sprout the following spring.

By the way, do you have enough to do a seed trade?

I can get peony seeds off my my neighbor's tree peony, and I still have some dried dormant ones that were from eBay.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:09AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I was thinking that it might be the right time, too. Go to "My Page" and email me with your street address and your actual email address so we can more easily set this up. Then I'll email you back from my personal account.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 2:42AM
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Email has been sent.

As far as planting them, and getting them to germinate, fresh seeds may or may not sprout in the spring of 2013, but most of them should be viable and will germinate by 2014 so they should be planted in a flower bed that doesn't get disturbed much for a long period of time. These guys take patience. There are methods of scarification, but I've found that naturally germinated seeds come out the strongest.

The depth of 2-3 inches is pretty important because you need to make sure they don't get washed up, sprout too soon in the spring, or eaten by pill bugs. They can't be too deep either because they need to be able to send shoots out of the ground.

Good luck, and I hope you get some seedlings next spring.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 1:37AM
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Steve, what do you think about winter-sowing these? I'm afraid I've been waiting for cold weather---maybe I should sow them tomorrow? (*grin*)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:38PM
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I would suggest sowing them as soon as possible around 2-3 inches deep, more towards 3 inches if you are dealing with Tibetian tree peony seeds.

I sowed mine 2 months ago so some of them might be sprouting roots in preparation to sprout leaves next spring. They need the natural cooling and warming cycle to sprout. If you plant them now, they may sit dormant for an entire year, and then sprout in the spring of 2014 since it is already kind of late, but these take patience. They generally need 3 months of warmth, followed by 3 months of 40-50F soil temperature, and then a warm up again to sprout. They need the cooler season for proper vernalization, and development of buds.

There are all kinds of tree peony seeds available on eBay so I would suggest starting some of those. I prefer to plant all throughout the year just to make sure I have some coming up each spring

Here's my latest blog on them in case you were interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: peonies going dormant

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 8:13PM
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Thanks, Steve! Yes, mine are the Tibetan. I'm in the TN Valley, and while we've had several nights below freezing, the 7-day forecast calls for lows of 32 up to 51---so you just never know. (*grin*)

I'll get these in a pot tomorrow and stick them in a protected location, and hope for the best!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:09PM
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If you stick them in a pot, I would still suggest sinking that pot into the ground just to make sure the soil doesn't freeze around the seeds.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Good suggestion---but the ground itself rarely ever freezes here, and my oregano has lived for years in a big planter. Last year it never even died back to the ground.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 10:16PM
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It's not all about the freezing. Many times, plants in pots may be subjected to larger temperature swings, which is why a sensitive plant like tree peonies would probably be better off either in the garden bed, or in pots sunken into the ground.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:24AM
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Here's the string I mentioned, barbararose21101.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2014 at 10:52PM
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It wasn't blooming, it was taking up too much space, so it has been moved and severely cut back both roots, shoots and leaves:
Ostensibly it wasn't blooming because mulch had built up.
So: How deep does it want to be ? Note the white roots still visible above ground.

Do the cut stems need to be cut closer to the ground ?

I wasn't able to prepare the new hole as well as I'd like because
I had to take advantage of some help when help came by.
(It had to be dragged out with a "come along". )

I can top dress with vermicompost now or in spring . . .

    Bookmark   October 21, 2014 at 12:43PM
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