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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Taking a look at the results from tree or itoh peonies grafted last fall

One of the things I experimented with is the grafting of some tree and itoh peonies and I'm finding that there has clearly been bud swelling from these grafted plants which is a clear indication that the grafts have taken. I have taken them from scions and nurse roots of all sizes ranging from the 1/4 inch diameter stuff to 3 inch diameter/ 5lb nurse roots attached to a whole tree peony branch. The purpose of this is to see the results and learn from them so I can develop an understanding of the true requirements of getting successful grafts.

Here's one of the massive ones where I take the biggest herbaceous nurse roots I can find, and hook it up with a nice big branch and these seem to be taking very well as expected. The buds are fattening up on the scion meaning that energy from the nurse root is already getting pumped in there.

I believe it is the species of tree peony that determines how fast the grafted plant will wake up because I'm seeing all grafts on certain species wake up while all grafts on others stay dormant.

The scions with tiny buds, or no buds at all will obviously take longer to sprout if they even produce shoots.

Here's a rockii one

This is an extreme form of grafting where I use just the bud and a bit of cambium attached and I believe this will actually work when healed properly.

As the tag reads, yes, this is a copper kettle itoh peony, and it appears that grafting works on itohs as well because I see many swollen buds on them.

I have even done more extreme tests such as bud propagation experiments in good soil, or simply putting tree peony branches into the soil with no nurse root to see if it can produce it's own roots and thrive. I have succeeded with branch and bud propagation in the past so I am looking forward to see if it's just the particular species I had, mere luck or just the right conditions.

Here are a couple of the herbaceous peonies which I get nurse roots from. When I grab roots, I try to make sure I don't get the chunky stuff with herbaceous eyes because those are very prone to generating herbaceous shoots which can easily become a parasite for the future tree peony.

Here are some of the stumps where I got some of my grafting scions from. These little buds may not look like much, but give them another month, and they may rise 1-2 feet tall.


  1. You should try micro-propagation for Ioth and tree peony :).

    1. I'm still looking foward to see how these turn out. It's been relatively cool this spring so I haven't seen that much action just yet.

  2. Hi, Steve
    I have tree peonies from you, love them.
    I notice Itoh peony are interesting plant. wondering if they are good companion plant with tree peony. Thank you!

    1. Their leaves look quite a bit different, but I don't see why they can't be companion plants given at least 3ft of spacing

    2. Thank you for your answer. I was thinking plant them together as flowering bulbs to perennial. can you suggest what is the worst happen if plant 1ft apart. Thank you again.

  3. 1ft apart would cause the itoh peonies to completely shade out and dominate the tree peonies because they start out growing a lot faster. Tree peonies will need at least 3 feet of space away from itohs to stand a chance since they will grow much slower.

  4. Oh~~Thank you!
    Finally understand~~

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