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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Peony update, almost fully leafed

In the last post, all the peonies were just waking up, but it has been 4 weeks since then, and they are almost fully grown for the year. Peonies tend to make almost all their growth before June which is when they typically flower.

Here are a few Japanese tree peonies which are noticeably larger and healthier than they were last year so most of them shouldn't be relying on their herbacous nurse roots anymore.

Some of them have flower buds already on their 2nd year as grafted plants.

The Itoh peonies appear to be exceptional performers despite being only 1 eye fragments last spring. Many of them are already loaded with flower buds this year.

There are plenty of itoh peony buds on a lot of them, but you really have to zoom in to see them as they are still covered up by the leaves.

My peony bed is really filling in. There aren't that many blooms this year, but next spring, there should be blooms on most if not all of them in this bed.

3rd year tree peony seedling up front, 4th year grafted kinshi Japanese tree peony middle, mature herbaceous peony back, and 2nd year tree peonies on the sides.

Another angle

3rd year tree peony seedling

That 3rd year tree peony seedling in the front is already developing its flower buds to go to flower next year. After growing peonies for a while, it is pretty easy to tell which buds are likely going to flower the following year.

Here are some typical 2nd year tree peony seedlings

All the smaller 1st year seedlings are marked with chop sticks so they are easier to locate.

The herbaceous peonies are still the biggest at around 3ft, and close to flowering, but the tree peonies can eventually surpass it. Here's a closer look at one of the herbaceous peonies.


  1. Cool, can not wait to see your peonies blooming!
    How about ur rockii tree peonies?
    By the way, the landscape needs improvement.

    1. I'm not sure if any of them are rockii tree peonies. Most of them should be Japanese tree peonies, but I know some of the seedlings should be Chinese tree peonies and possibly Rockii, but I can't tell from the leaves.

      I don't have enough mulch for the entire peony bed as it would take many cubic yards at this point, but I would rather wait another year until I really fix it up so I can add organic fertilizers and till it into the soil. By that time, the peonies should really fill in, and the entire bed should look awesome.

  2. Hi, your "Compassionate" "phoenix hairpin" are rockii tree peonies, you will see the leaves are different from the leaves of Japanese and Chinese tree peonies.

    Where do u get the seedling of Japanese tree peonies?

    Hope you have an awesome garden soon :)

    1. I guess I do have a couple of surviving rockii tree peonies :)

      I got my Japanese tree peonies as 1 year old grafted plants from Van Bourgendien, but I waited until later in the spring back in 2012 so the prices would go down.

      My peony garden is not up to par yet, but my vegetable and bamboo gardens are much further along at this point.

  3. Sorry to learn your "Compassionate" died, so you probably can not see the differences between the leaves. I just checked the leaves of "Phoenix hairpin" is very similar to Japanese and Chinese tree peonies. Thanks.

  4. Wow, that is going to be one amazing show when all of those tree peonies bloom! Can't wait to see it. Your itohs look really nice and bushy. I have only one, and it's currently way behind my tree peonies and herbaceous ones in growth. Maybe just because it's really young still.

    1. I think almost all of them should bloom next year. You can kind of tell by the summer time which buds will yield flowers and I'm already seeing them form even though they are not completely grown yet.

      If you have an itoh peony that is currently very tiny, most likely it will catch up, and turn into a bushy plant by next year. Most of my itoh peonies were 1 shoot plants grown from divided tubers, but this year, they have immediately transformed into large bushy flowering plants, ready to be divided again in the fall or early spring if I wanted to for next year.

  5. I thought I had read somewhere that you had sold Itoh Peonies. Is that true that would be great. Your garden and passion for peonie culture is wonderful.

    1. Thank you. I just got all my itoh peonies last year so I haven't had a chance to get them divided yet, but I may sell some in the future.