Growing Paeonia from seed

Jane McGary
Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:17:01 PDT
Travis doesn't say whether the seeds are from species or hybrids. If the 
latter, they will probably not produce plants similar to the parents. If 
the former, and if more than one species is being grown in proximity, 
they are likely to have crossed. I would not send garden seed of Paeonia 
species to an exchange, because I grow a number of species.

  By the way, if you do store peony seeds, do not put them in plastic, 
because they contain a lot of moisture despite their appearance. When I 
did the intake phase of the NARGS seed exchange I often received peony 
seeds that were moldy from being in plastic, or in paper envelopes that 
had fallen apart because the moisture in the seeds made the paper soggy. 
If you put them in paper packets, tape the ends.

Anyway, separate out the black seeds; the red ones are infertile. Sow 
the fertile ones about 2 cm deep in fall, keep moist over winter, and 
keep fairly cool and slightly moist over the following summer and fall. 
Seedlings should appear in early spring. Leave them in the seed pots 
until the leaves wither and then carefully transplant the roots to 
individual pots with the crown near the surface. They can be planted out 
in most gardens after one more year of growth. Young peony plants should 
be placed where they get afternoon shade.

If these are not valuable seeds (i.e., if they come from hybrids), you 
can also sow them directly in the garden and they most likely will grow 
if viable at all. Sometimes germination is delayed. I found this out 
after I moved to a new garden and potted up a lot of plants in soil 
thrown together with whatever I had on hand, including discarded soil 
from old seed pots. I now have volunteer peonies here and there from 
that source, some of them in completely inappropriate places. One even 
produced semidouble flowers this spring; I don't know whether it was 
seed of garden origin but will make an effort to key it out next year. 
Something seems to move the seeds around the garden, too -- probably not 
ants as the seeds are so large.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

On 7/24/2015 11:50 AM, Travis O wrote:
> Hi gang,
> I collected some herbaceous Paeonia seed from a garden near my house. How and when do I sow it?
> Thanks!
> Travis Owen
> Rogue River, OR
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