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Are tree peonies as easy to grow as the herbaceous type?

Posted by vickster Z7aNJ ( on
Fri, Jul 14, 06 at 9:08

Hi everyone,

As I am so anxious to order a tree peony known as Shima-nishiki "Fire Flame" from Van Bourgondien, do you consider these plants shrubs and do they require the same conditions as the others? Full sun, partial shade, good drainage, etc. The initial investment here is $29.95 and if you can give me some information about these cultivars, would appreciate it. Also, if you know of a nursery who sells very good stock of the aforementioned peony, please include their name and website.

Thank you, I hope to hear from you if you grow tree peonies......


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Are tree peonies as easy to grow as the herbaceous type?

Tempting photos, aren't they?

I've been somewhat disappointed with Van Bourgondien's tree peony stock. Basically, you get a grafted stick about a foot long and it takes several years until it consistently flowers. THEN, you might find that it's not at all the variety you had hoped for, but decide to keep it anyway because of the effort you've made to get to to that size.

Tree Peonies can be an investment, but with well grown stock and good cultivation, they can last longer than their owners. They are treated like shrubs, but require careful site selection as they obviously need room to branch out and some cultivars could use some protection from strong winds that tend to break weak stems.

I highly recommend the following website for more information about these extraordinary plants:

I'd hold off making the purchase unless you want to take a slight gamble with it or find a grower who can sell you a plant that is older than 1 year old. These can guaranteed to be the plant you're looking for!

Best of luck!


Here is a link that might be useful: Song Sparrow Nursery Tree Peonies

RE: Are tree peonies as easy to grow as the herbaceous type?

I am not an experienced peony grower, but I just got my order from Van Bourgondien with Renkaku tree peony. I bought it on sale, so the price was about 10 dollars. The condition of the plant is terrible. It is small, dry and, honestly, looks dead. They refused to replace it so I desided to give it a try (Van Bourgondien has warranty for one growing season). Not sure that I will get a refund or replacement from them next year though. I posted the negative feedback on Garden Watchdog site.

RE: Are tree peonies as easy to grow as the herbaceous type?

Riz and Alina,

Thank you so much for your candid opinions and explanations as to the reason that their stock is inferior. This is exactly what one wants to hear before placing an order. I believe that what they offer is a one year old plant. It would take many seasons prior to bloom, would it not?

Riz, do you have any of Klehm's tree peonies? The pictures are outstanding, their prices are higher but am sure that the ones offered are older than one year. Before I order any this season, I want to make certain that my site is a good one for this peony. Good sunlight, at least 6 hours daily and the soil will contain organic matter, humus, do we add manure or not?

Which varieties do you have experience with? Thank you again for your feedback.


RE: Are tree peonies as easy to grow as the herbaceous type?

Klem's Song Sparrow is a very reputable company. They ship 2-4 year old tree peonies. I did not order from them, but I believe it would be a good investment. The only thing I must warn you about - they have a lot of mistakes on their web site, at clematis section at least.
I personally had a good experience with Park Wholesale Growers. They are not as reputable as Klem's, but I had good luck with unknown tree peony I got from them - it grows like crazy. Same with Santa Fe herbatious peony - that one was huge 5-6 eye tuber. They are closed for summer now though.

RE: Are tree peonies as easy to grow as the herbaceous type?

I don't think you would be disappointed with Khlem's. I have ordered peonies from them for years - both herbaceous and tree peonies. In my experience the tree peonies are no more difficult than the herbaceous ones. I give them a good top dressing of compost each year and some rose food and they're great! Just remember that most tree peonies have a mature size of 3 -5 feet so be sure you leave it plenty of room. This year I ordered Murad of Hershey Bar. I figure you can't go wrong with a peony named after chocolate right? Every winter I look forward to my Khlem's catalog - it's like Christmas for me!

RE: Are tree peonies as easy to grow as the herbaceous type?

Here is a grower who specializes in tree peonies. You can read some of the write-ups listed on the site.
I have no expreience in ordering from them, but the pictures of the peonies are so enticing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pennsylvania PeonyLand

RE: Are tree peonies as easy to grow as the herbaceous type?

I ordered 3 Chinese tree peonies from last fall. They were great,
large and healthy. The price was good too.
They carry mostly Chinese peonies.

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