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Monday, April 2, 2012

Receiving my new Bartzella double yellow intersectional itoh peony

As you can tell by my other blogs, I really like peonies and decided to get one of the most common types of itoh peonies which is a hybrid between a tree peony and a herbaceous peony. Some of them are supposed to die back all the way to the ground while others will develop hard stems like this one as they can have characteristics of both types. The one constant is that the foliage looks more similar to that of a tree peony.

Here it is all leafed out since it came from Tennessee. 

Here's a close up showing that even though it physically looks like a tree peony, it is still more vigorous than tree peonies in producing new buds at the base of the root ball. The roots themselves appear to be semi-woody.

I decided to put it in a 5 gallon pot to establish before going in the ground. I'm deep planting it to hopefully encourage more budding and rooting on the trunk, ensuring that all the leaves are still above the soil line for photosynthesis. As shown here, it might still grow a couple more leaves this year.

Here's my Julia Rose Itoh peony which currently looks more herbaceous, but that may change as it gets older. I also have a very small root of pink double dandy itoh which hasn't sprouted yet.

The last couple pictures are just to show the difference between the foliage of a tree peony vs a herbaceous peony. The tree peony generally has sharper leaves which are often separate lobs with a dull color while herbaceous peonies have rounder leaves that are more glossy and a darker green when they are fully grown.

Kinshi Tree peony
 Red herbaceous peony


  1. How and when do you split a tree peony? I would not know where to start.

    1. One way is to wait until fall, then dig out the tree peony, and plant it about 3-6 inches deep on its side so that all the woody stems are underground. In the following spring when buds activate, roots should be generated from each of the buds. Each of these buds can become an individual division. If your tree peony has enough woody stems, it is possible to dig up the entire plant, and split in into divisions in the fall.

      Another way is to graft a woody branch of a tree peony onto a herbaceous root, healing the graft with heat, and planting the whole thing in the ground. Here's a grafting tutorial.

      You can also grow them from seed, and it's best to put the seeds straight into the garden beds 2-3 inches deep, and wait until the following spring.

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