Growing from seed

Have you ever thought of growing some peony plants from seed? It requires patience but the rewards are well worth the wait. You can grow herbaceous or tree peonies from seed. The seeds we sell are pollinated by the bees so there is an interesting unknown quantity about the plants you will grow.

The flowers may be single, semi-double or fully double. Unless it is specified the colour can be anything from white through all the shades of pink to very dark red. Your seedlings should be vigorous because plants grown from seed are free of the diseases carried by old stock.

Herbaceous peony seedling – this vigorous seedling flowered three years after planting and we dug it after four years. The eyes are 2″ (5cm) long. It is a yellow single and produces large pods of seeds.

You don’t need a lot of room to grow seedlings for 4 – 5 years. If you plant some seeds every year, you will always have a new crop of plants flowering. It’s just a matter of being patient for the first planting to flower. I’ve heard that peony breeders live long happy lives- maybe the anticipation and waiting for the next batch of seedlings to flower encourages longevity.

Paeonia rockii seed – this seed was grown to this stage in a clip-lock bag with damp vermiculite. It was kept at 22°C for 12 weeks while the root grew. Then it was put in the fridge for 4 weeks 2°C after which I put it in the pantry (10°C) for another 4 weeks. Isn’t it amazing to see what happens? Now it is in a pot out in the garden where I can water it easily. The leaf quickly came up.

Imagine the excitement each spring as your own seedlings produce their first flowers. Don’t be discouraged if the flowers are small, it’s still only a young plant. The flowers will probably change each year as the plant gets larger and stronger.

For example, a single can grow more petals each year. If you haven’t got room to grow them all on be generous and give some to your friends. It’s a very cheap way of building up your peony collection.