Why are itoh peonies so expensive?

stevelau1911October 1, 2012

I happen to have a pretty decent collection of itoh peonies already however one thing I have always wondered is why are these plants so expensive? They seem to be more expensive than tree peonies.

I've already figured out that with some rooting products, and a nice home-made potting mix, eyeless root fragments can turn into viable divisions. I just checked the size of these tubers, and some of them are swelling up to 10X or more the size that they originally started which leads me to believe that itoh peonies are not much harder to propagate than potatoes.

I just divided up my keiko itoh peony into 40+ divisions, saving a big piece to plant back in the ground, but it seems like itoh peonies are faster growing than both herbaceous and tree peonies.

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wiseoldgus(almost z6 KC)

New Itoh varieties are created by crossing tree peonies with herbaceous peonies. It is a difficult cross. There is also the time involved in growing out the seeds, evaluating the plants, then propagating enough for production. It is probably over 10 years to get it to market. New varieties will be higher priced to recoup some of the costs of getting them to market. Older Itoh varieties are coming down in price.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 12:38PM
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ryseryse_2004

I am going to splurge on one or two of these in the spring. Anyone in Z5 with suggestions or advice?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 4:33PM
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stevelau1911

I would suggest shopping around for the best deal. Asking someone for a division here may work as some people have very large plants already. I just happened to get into itoh peonies this year so mine are just getting started.

There are usually plenty of eBay sellers who eventually drop prices as it gets closer to late spring. I also wouldn't spend more than $30 on an itoh peony since these plants can literally be propagated from fragments, but nurseries tend to want to squeeze as much money out of each plant as they can.

One good idea is to get in touch with some other gardeners, and then get a bunch of itoh peony species, them split them up right away. A dormant plant can be successfully divided right away as long as it is big enough. Here's my itoh peony blog to show how it was all done.

Here is a link that might be useful: Receiving my itoh peonies

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:46PM
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ryseryse_2004

Thank you so much Steve!! Now I am really excited about getting started with these.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 8:36AM
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illinoisdoglover(z5IL)

I went to view your past blogs. Can divisions be taken in the spring since I am planning on moving the Itoh peony anyway? How long does it usually take to get a bloom from a division with only one eye?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 10:05PM
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stevelau1911

They can be taken before they activate and sprout. I believe it should take at least 2 years to get a bloom from a decent sized 1 eye division.

I am new to them too, but that's what I've seen from herbaceous peonies.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:29AM
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illinoisdoglover(z5IL)

Thank you Steve, will give it a try this spring when I move it.It has not been doing well in the spot I planted it approximately 7 years ago. It should be enormous by know since they state the roots are more prolific then herbacious peonies. Probably does not get enough sun. Any particulr advice on growing Itohs? Kids do not mind waiting a couple years for a bloom from one of my Itohs.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 12:08PM
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stevelau1911

I think itoh peonies may be better starting out in relatively large pots with good draining soil. I've always found that the ones growing in pots tend to grow darker leaves so they may be happier starting out in their pots until they reach a certain size.

If yours has not been doing well, it might have bad soil or not enough sun so before it goes active in the spring, you can still dig it up and pot it up in pieces if you want to give it a better chance. 7 years should be more than enough time to produce a massive plant.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 1:09PM
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illinoisdoglover(z5IL)

Thank you for the advice Steve. Will be sure to dig as soon as the ground thaws and before it gets active. Should be late March or so depending upon weather. I thought 7 years has been long enough time considering I only started with a piece of root approximately 6 inches long and without any eyes.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:07PM
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stevelau1911

Late March should be about right unless it will be a super warm March like last year. In 7 years, you should have a pretty big plant even if you started with a bud that you can root successfully.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:16PM
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