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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tree peonies starting to wake up

Ever since the start of February I have started to see tree peony seedlings pop up all over the place, however some of them got frost bitten since it is too early for them to start coming up. In order to survive, they simply need to successfully put out a leaf and take in energy over the summer so they can grow a lot stronger the next year.

Here are some of the TP seedlings from 23 February 2012. These are some of the ones coming out too early for their own good since their initial leaf is prone to freeze damage.

Here are pictures of some of them taken today 7 March 2012. These should be a lot safer as it typically doesn't get extremely cold by this time of the year. These are still hardy to around 20F without damage while they still have the reddish color which is usually gone by around April when their leaf reaches full size. One of the things to keep in mind if you ever try growing these is to never transplant them until the fall since they are extremely sensitive, and are prone to dying if they are transplanted earlier. I learned that the hard way so I'm leaving them all alone no matter how close they are when they emerge.

Here are a couple of the 2nd year seedlings which should produce a lot more growth than the new ones.

Finally here are some of the larger tree peonies, some of them which look like they should flower this year. Most of them also have sprouts underground which is a very good sign that they are happy.

Here's one of the herbeceous ones coming up just to show the comparison


  1. It's always exciting once you start seeing plants sprouting and springing back to life after winter dormancy. Spring is almost here!

    1. It is very rewarding considering that this is my favorite plant and the amount of time it took for them to finally sprout. Tree peonies are very delicate plants, but once they grow for a few years, they look very beautiful when they are in full bloom.

      I will update this a few more times and hopefully get some bloom pictures in there.

  2. How are tree peonies different from the regular ones. I envy you with your seedlings. I somehow thought they were very hard to grow from seedlings. If you pick the seed pods after they bloom, should you plant them right away, or hold them over winter. Should the seedlings be kept in the refrigerator or outside to keep them cold. I absolutely love peonies but around here, about time they are blooming, we always get some storms and they get knocked over and tattered. So sad; I wait all year for them to bloom and then the storms come. Good luck with your seedlings! More pictures as they mature, please. Very interesting.

    1. They are not hard when grown the right way, but they just take time because they need to first develop a tap root, then go through a dormancy period of cool weather before developing their buds.

      If you have fresh seed pods just starting to burst open in the late summer, I would suggest taking those seeds and planting them into a garden bed about 2 inches deep which is in order to prevent them from emerging too early to be exposed to late frosts, and it also protects them from predators such as pill bugs. If you buy seeds now, you can plant them anytime from now until July and some of them should germinate roots this fall and sprout next spring. It is easy to germinate them in a natural environment, but if you try them indoors, it is a very difficult process.

      I like having tree or itoh peonies mainly because they don't need staking and make bigger blooms. I'm definitely making more updates as they get bigger.

    2. I meant if you buy some seeds off eBay now and plant them straight into the garden bed a couple of inches deep, they will likely make roots in the fall, over-winter well and make new sprouts in the spring, but some of them might take another year.

  3. Oh, by the way, my email is
    Re how to handle the peony seedlings. thank you.