Tree peony seedlings emerging in the fall

stevelau1911September 22, 2012

I've been planting tree peony seedlings in several different batches for the last couple years, and with the recent cool down, I'm seeing some seedlings sprout leaves too instead of only germinating a root like they are supposed to at this time of the year.

It seems like if they manage to produce leaves this late in the season, they won't have enough time to build up energy, and they will literally be sitting ducks as the winter comes. Is there anything that can be done to save these?

I also planted 34 huge Tibetian tree peony seeds in various spots through my flower beds. Based on the size of these seeds, my guess is that they may be harder to germinate than most tree peony seeds. Will these manage to sprout roots in a couple months and sprout next spring?

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peonyman(Zone 5, Lawrence, Ks)


As I recall P. lutea ludlowii has very large seeds. That species will not survive for me. It dies in winter but I am not sure that it is the winter that kills it. The death knoll may be our hot and dry summers that weaken the plant.

Your seeds that are sprouting now are from what type of tree peony... Chinese, Japanese, Rocki, or Lutea hybrid?


    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 1:32AM
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P Lutea ludlowii is supposed to be only hardy to zone 5 so it might be the winter that kills them, but even though I'm in a zone 6 in the snow belt, I still plan on protecting them with leaf bags. They certainly don't seem to like the heat, but I've gotten around that with regular watering, and it doesn't get as hot around here with the great lakes.

The other tree peony seeds I have are mostly Chinese types. Most of them are from eBay seeds with around 30 something species. I have some from a forum member here as well as seeds from neighbors, and I'm not that good at identifying the species simply by the appearance of their leaf.

With a few dozen seeds that I have germinated, I can determine that there is certainly a huge genetic pool since there are many different leaf shapes and behaviors. I have some that only make 1 leaf, and then harden off, while I've had 1 that produced 6 leaves on the 1st year, surpassing all the 2nd year ones. That one is already around 1/3 inch in diameter with around 6 buds formed on the woody stem so this may have some pretty strong genes.

I do have over 1000 seeds planted in the ground in separate batches so I guess it's not unusual for a few of them to come up in the fall, but I hope the rest stay down until the spring.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:33AM
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