Paeonia TOW - Part 1

Jim McKenney
Fri, 30 Jul 2004 16:01:48 PDT
At 05:15 PM 7/30/2004 -0700, Jane McGary  wrote:

>It's [Paeonia lutea] definitely hardy to zero F or a 
>bit below.

Yes, I think that has been known for a long time. But what about the form
known as ludlowii? I don't think it is as hardy. 

Let me tell you a bit more about the plant which grew here, in particular
about the way it reacted to winter here. I mentioned that each year it put
up several stems in the 3' - 4' range. What I did not mention is that, with
one exception, not one of these stems kept a terminal bud through the
winter. (The plant did not form terminal or axillary buds like those of
garden tree peonies; such buds as there were, were obscured by the petiole
base.) In fact, the growth of this plant was very similar to that of the
less wood-hardy forms of Hydrangea macrophylla: the plant was always root
hardy, but it always lost lots of wood each winter. Each spring the old
stems would sprout out somewhere along their length and then make
comparatively prodigious growth (compared to that of typical garden tree

Only once, after a very mild winter, did the stems survive the winter to
their tips. I thought that would be the year I finally got flowers. But no,
all I got were progressively more gawky stems. 

During most recent winters here the temperature has stayed above zero
degrees F. So, as we have seen with so many other plants, a minimum
temperature rating is not telling us the whole story.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where Ludlow's tree peony at
least lasted longer than Potanin's trollius-like tree peony.  

More information about the pbs mailing list