Paeonia - seeds and sources

James Waddick
Sat, 31 Jul 2004 14:51:46 PDT
Dear All;
	Germination of peony seeds has more mystique than hard fact, 
but I'll toss out some observations. Imitate nature. Peony seeds 
ripen in early fall/late summer and fall to the ground. They 
germinate the next spring in the shade of their parent or nearby. The 
best, easiest and laziest method is to follow this lead with NO seed 
storage. Plant seed as soon as ripen (the seed pod splits open) and 
allow them the warmth and moisture of mild fall weather, followed by 
winter chill. Seeds germinate after a warm moist, then cold period. 
Germination is in two stages, the first a primary root/radicle after 
the warm moist and the embryo after a cool period i.e. spring warmth. 
If seeds are stored warm, dry or cold, this cycle is interrupted and 
germination will be delayed. In a prime situation seed planted in 
fall can bloom in the third spring following.

	Expect much variation in species in regard to demand for 
warmth, cold, duration of each etc. Seed can take as short as 1 month 
or over 6 months to complete their germination requirements and if 
delayed expect another year or longer.

	Sources of tree peonies are few and far between. Prices are 
somewhat artificially high due to few propagators and few cvs 
available in the US. Some cvs are harder to graft than others and 
some are slower to produce their own roots than others so many 
factors are at work.  The major grafters of tree peonies in the US 
are 'Song Sparrow Nursery', 'Brother's Herbs and Peonies', 'Reath 
Nursery' and then it goes down to a few here and there.
	Tree peonies are grafted in higher numbers overseas with 
Japan probably being foremost, then the UK and various EU countries 
and Australia (yes Australia). Some of these places offer grafted TP 
in large (wholesale) numbers for a few dollars each.

	Grafting itself is a fairly simple process and easily 
learned, but something of an art to become proficient. Beginners have 
a very low success rate, but the pros get over 90%. Practice, 

	Seed germination is covered in some detail in 'The Genus 
Paeonia', grafting in the APS 'Handbook of Peonies'.

		Good luck.		Jim W.

ps Jamie mentioned these cvs 'High Noon', 'Kamada Fuji', 'Souvenir de 
Maxim Cornu' and 'Shimane Chojuraku'. The first is one of the easiest 
of the Saunder's Lutea hybrids to graft and is usually available 
cheaply from Japanese sources. "Souvenir" is an early French hybrids 
that you either like or hate. Huge orange-yellow flowers hide in the 
foliage and hang down. It is usually sold in the US under the 
Japanese  re-named 'Kinkaku'. These are identical plants. The other 
two are Japanese cvs, but slightly less common then the others.
	Jim S. should do fine with any of the Japanese or Saunders 
cvs. in his situation. The vast majority of hybrids will stay well 
under 6 ft and most rarely beyond 3 ft.
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
E-fax  419-781-8594

Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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