Which online source has the most mature peonies?

irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)October 14, 2005

I've been reading that peonies need a while to get going in the garden, and have noted several sources that people rave about like Hollingsworth, songsparrow and peony garden. Which company has the most mature/largest plants which will bloom the soonest?

Also, if I get peonies from these companies, can I expect blooms in the spring? Can I order and plant now?



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What you buy is a mature plant that has been taken apart(divided). Some companies purchase from wholesalers, some grow them themselves. Plants may be divided at two-three years or older. Depending on the cultivar you may receive a large two year old or a small three year old.

The reason that many people, myself included, rave about Hollingsworth is that Don Hollingsworth divides his plants so that at least one mature flower bud is on each division. Don believes that it is better to hear from a dissatified customer next spring rather than waiting for two or three years for the plant to become established. Accidents will happen no matter how great the care. Hollingsworth's is in Maryville, MO close to Kansas City where I live so I have visited his fields several times. He and his staff search the fields for rogue cultivars. He has also found new plants that were wonderful by taking this extra care.

The other two have many nice plants but I have never visited their fields but IF you feel you must have bloom next spring now is the time to orderand plant.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 9:11PM
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irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)

maifleur - thank you so much for this info. I've been looking on Hollingsworth's site. I found a few I like, but dont' think he has them. I like Sara Bernhart and Vivid rose (or vivid pink??) I'm going to go back to his site and treat myself to a new peony.

Also, I really like the tree peonys but they are really expensive -- I'm seeing like 50-75 per plant?? And it seems like that is the going rate for them. Maybe I will really treat myself and get one herbaceous and one tree peony.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 9:38PM
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Look around at your local garden centers sometimes you can find a potted tp for less than $50-75. Find out who has them in your area and watch for early or late season discounts and special sales. Who knows you might find a bargin. Although it didn't live because I didn't know to plant it deep I bought my first tp a unnamed yellow, end of season sale plus prefer customer coupon for $19.00. With all of the information on this site and others my poor plant would be still alive and blooming.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 1:13AM
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irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)

Maifleur - thank you for the info you have given me. I will be keeping my eyes open for tp's at local nurseries when they are running sales. I fell in love with kinkaku, I saw a picture of it listed on the gallery. It is so gorgeous.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 8:14AM
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valentina(Z5 WI)

I bought two potted tree peonies from Menards in summer when they were on sale. $12 each, un-named. They each had three short branches, kind of "suffering" looking, but I thought for that price... I should give them a try. They survived the summer so far and... hoping for next spring.
Nurseries usually have peonies in spring.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 11:36AM
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peonyman(Zone 5, Lawrence, Ks)


Kinkaku, well that is the name the Japanese gave it because they could not pronounce the true name for this cultivar which is Souvenir de Professor Maxime Cornu. The flower of this plant is beautiful when put in a bud vase or floated in a bowl of water. However it is not a suitable garden subject. If you must have it plant then put it some where that is not a prominant spot. As the tree peony blooms each bloom will get heavy and begin to hang its head; every bloom ends up in the center of the plant every time. You cannot see the bloom and you will be terribly dissapointed. It must necessarily be cut to be enjoyed. Souvenir de Professor Maxime Cornu is a cheap plant.

This year I have a new favorite tree peony of Japanese origin. The name is Renkaku. (It is just a coincidence that the name is similar). Renkaku, translated into english as "Flight of Cranes", is stunning in the garden. Actually I don't care that much for white flowers but this plant stands out in the garden. The white flowers are held above and are set of by the nice green foliage. The photo that I have linked below does not do justice to the plant. That photo was not taken in good conditions. Renkaku is also a cheaper tree peony and it is considered a common cultivar because it has been around for so long but it deserve a place in the garden.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 2:10AM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Maureen, the extra investment for a tree peony is well worth it. I consider them to be better in every way than herbaceous peonies, but they are slow to propagate and can be slow to establish. If you just want to give them a try and are not fussy then you can often pick up potted ones for a reasonable price. They tend to be stocked in spring when they sell quicker because they are in flower. If you want a particular cultivar then you buy mailorder and plant bare roots about now.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 8:21AM
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valentina(Z5 WI)

> This year I have a new favorite tree peony of Japanese origin. The name is Renkaku.

PeonyMan, I love Renkaku too. I think is one really good looking tree peony. I don't have it (yet!) but I plan on buying it next fall. Here's a picture I found: Renkaku - the third picture, of course :)


    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 1:24PM
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irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)

I like the Renkaku - however I prefer more double other than white. I like melon, apricot, pink, light or dark, crimson. Any other suggestions other than Renkaku?

Valentina - where is Menards? Is it online?

Peonyman and Valentina, thanks for posting the pictures.

Shrubs and bulbs - thanks for your info.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 2:33PM
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valentina(Z5 WI)

LOL Maureen, my mistake. When I read your question, I felt like somebody is asking me where is Walmart :))
Ok, I changed countries only 3 years ago, so I am still learning "things"... I am so used to hearing Menards, that I thought it's just another BIG store like Walmart, or Home Depot. This is the reason why I even mentioned it. I asked my husband why would somebody ask me where is Menards and he laughed at me :) So I guess Menards is just some store in Wisconsin (and around probably). It's something similar to Home Depot...


    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 3:29PM
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glassmouse(z5-Cent IL)

Yeah, Menard's is a midwest-only chain. We have them in my small town in Illinois, too (but have only just gotten our first Home Depot).

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 3:44PM
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peonyman(Zone 5, Lawrence, Ks)

Irish Rose,

Generally tree peonies will not be as full double as herbaceous peonies. Most of them are open centered when they fully open. They pretty much show the yellow stamen center. Most photos that you see that appear to be double are generally of flowers that are in progress of opening. There are exceptions but really not many. Some of the people that frequent this room can probably come up with a list.

There are hundreds of Japanese tree peonies in colors other than white. Generally all Japanese tree peonies are good garden subjects. Japanese tree peonies have been selected for outstanding traits. Japanese tree peonies are somewhat less expensive than the American Tree peonies but generally American tree peonies have a broader range of colors.

I would say that the best red tree peonies would be Kao and Taiyo. They both are brilliant red and are heavy bloomers.

For pink Yae Zakura or Yachiyo Tsubaki would be good choices.

Yellow would be Kinko. Kinko, like Kinkaku is a renamed French cultivar. The correct name for Kinko is Alice Harding. This plant is of smaller stature than typical for tree peonies but still as large or larger than most herbaceous peonies. The plant seems to put its energy into bloom rather than building a bigger bush. The blooms form out to the edge of the foliage and the bush is entirely covered with nice yellow flowers.

Purple: Well one of my favorite purple tree peonies is . This is closest to true purple and it holds the purple color well.

Another favorite of mine is Kokuryu Nishiki. This peony is a rich redish purple and it is trimmed in white. The flowers are very large and the back of each petal has a white flare on it.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 12:23AM
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irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)

Valentina and Sharon -we definitely don't have any menards around here. We have home depot though (for many years) -- Sharon, you guys just got your home depot?

Peonyman - thank you for all of these suggestions. I love that purple tree peony. I love purple and pink. Yellows and white are my last choices in flowers. But all of these are lovely. I appreciate the pictures you posted of these too.

With all of your assistance I know I am going to have a lot of peonies.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 5:21PM
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valentina(Z5 WI)

Maureen, there are many Home Depot around here but we just got our first one in this city too, this year. The REALLY nice thing about this is the fact that they built it right in front of Menards. You can imagine the "war" :)

Anyway, I am glad to see that somebody else discovers the beauty of peonies. I think people who can appreciate and grow peonies must be very patient people. They flower for such a short time and they take such a long time to mature... I guess everybody knows what I mean.
Anyway, as a BTW, in my country we call these flowers "Bujori". It means... it's hard to translate it because I am not sure there is a similar word in English. You know the red in the cheeks when you blush? In Romanian we call that "bujori". That's (as I said) the name of Peonies. It's a very nice name... for some very special flowers.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 9:40PM
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Mozart2(Zone 5 Michigan)


Even though I answered this question in one of your previous postings, I will - again - put in my highest recommendation for A & D Nursery, whose link I have listed below. The quality of their rootstock was mentioned in my response to that posting.

As you may not know, I am a Librarian with the Michigan Dept. of Corrections. Our facility has an active horticultural program for the inmates. Since none of the garden areas had any peonies gracing the soil, I purchased 4 peonies last year in the spring - 2 each of "Sarah Bernhardt" and 2 each of "Felix Crousse" - at the local Wal-Mart.

Although they were considerably cheaper, the roots of those Peony roots were much less than one-fourth of the roots that I just purchased from A & D Nursery. Despite the good efforts of the inmate gardeners - only two or perhaps one of the Peony roots has survived and even now one of the surviving roots still looks on the puny side - as only one or two sets of small leaves are showing and they are not much more than four or five inches high. I suspect that it will survive our southern Michigan winter, but I also suspect that it will take either four or five years for this plant to come into mature bloom.

So if you're prone to make use of less expensive Peony rootstock, I would be absolutely certain to deeply and well prepare the soil down to a minimum of 18 inches or deeper and, at least, the same distance in diameter and greatly improve the soil structure, if needed.

If you find yourself working with a clayish soil, I would also recommend working with a good soil auger to make soil preparation far easier. With this tool, once you have substantially loosened the soil, all you have to do is to remove the loose dirt. Obviously, less back breaking work.

I recently purchased the Pro Gardening Auger System from the folks at the web address below, which should make good deep soil preparation for a host of bulb, plant, and rootstock material far, far easier.

IMHO this system is the best soil auger around for the money, durability, and versatility.


Hope this information is more than useful.


Here is a link that might be useful: A & D Nursery

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 10:23PM
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ywilliam(z2/3 AK)

I found this terrific nursery on the web that sends "Monster" peony divisions when you order from them. Their motto is to "make an instant impact in your garden", rather than wait 2 or 3 years to see a bloom. They are Scott and Elizabeth Reath of Reath's Nursery at www.reathsnursery.com. The contact is 906.563.9777. In fact, Scott's father, David Reath, hybridized one of a few, the very rare" Lemon Chiffon" before he died, priced at $380. And, itÂs gorgeous!

I swear to you, the roots are as if they sent the entire plant to you! There's 3 different sizes and prices to choose from for each peony named. I ordered a few peonies just this past Monday via fax, and I received them today (this Wednesday evening) on my door step by UPS, because they cared about the snow coming in soon. Now that's service!! I promised them that because of the wonderful service I received that I would make every local master gardener aware of their website. They even ship through November until "their" ground freezes! How can you beat that!

I only wish I'd found them 4 years ago! Of course, we have snow by November but, you can always pot them up and put them in a cold place. I can assure you all that their services and divisions are certainly worth any money spent!!!!!! Please make all my sisters and brothers of gardening aware. Please check out the website guys!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 4:43PM
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