Herbaceous Peony Seeds

August will be the time to collect this year’s peony seeds. The vast majority of peonies yield viable seeds so if you left the pods on the plant all summer, try your hand at raising a crop of peonies from seed. Peonies raised from seed do not come true to the parent plant, though they may strongly resemble it. Almost all cultivated tree and herbaceous peonies are hybrids far removed from their wild species ancestors. The exception to this rule are seeds collected from a single species of peony which did not cross pollinate with other peonies.

Intersectional hybrid (Itoh) peonies are sterile and do not yield viable seeds. le. Most of the European and American ‘lutea’ hybrid tree peonies like ‘Leda’ or ‘High Noon’ very rarely produce viable seeds. However, these are but a very small subsection of the peony world, the overwhelming majority of Chinese and Japanese tree and herbaceous peonies all yield large quantities of fertile seeds that will soon be ripe for the picking and planting.

Right now the beautiful star shaped pods are swelling and beginning to turn from a leathery green to brown in color. Seeds are ready to be harvested when the seedpod has turned a dark tallow-brown. We generally harvest our tree peony seeds here between the 1st and 3rd weeks of August.

The herbaceous seeds are ready a bit later, around the end of August.

Methods for Seeding Tree and Herbaceous Peonies

When the seed pods have become a dark brown color and are just beginning to crack open, the seeds are ripe and ready to be harvested. Open up each segment of the seed pod carefully and remove the seeds. Damaged seeds will not germinate.

When fully ripe, peony seeds develop a double-dormancy which consists of a hard outer seed coat and dormant embryo. Germination occurs when air and water are able to penetrate the seed coat and reach the embryo.

There are many different methods for starting peony seeds. Some are determined by the natural condition of the seed, that is the level of dormancy while others are decided by the grower, primary weather to germinate the seeds outdoors or indoors.


ProQuest, UMI Dissertation Publishing Container production and post-harvest handling of lotus (Nelumbo) and micropropagation of herbaceous peony (Paeonia).
Book (ProQuest, UMI Dissertation Publishing)

Peony farm in San Jose

2006-06-06 13:38:33 by 4peonies

If you live in the bay area, I grow over 120 varieties of herbaceous and tree peonies and they can be purchased in 5 gallon containers all year round at the farm. The roots are 2-4 years old. They can also be mail ordered if out of the bay area and shipped in the fall. Visit my web site 4irises.com and see the varieties that I grow. Visitors are always welcome and the peonies are in full bloom right now.


Peonies in pots

2006-06-06 13:30:48 by 4peonies

Peonies can very well be planted in pots but do need full sun except tree peonies that could do with part sun. Peonies can bloom in the bay area very well if planted with the top eyes at the surface level. The main reason that peonies fail to bloom is that they are planted too deeply. I grow over 120 varieties of tree and herbaceous peonies in San Jose. I sell them with at least 5 eyes in 5 gallon containers all year round. See my web site 4irises.com


Peonies from Costco?

2005-01-15 20:53:46 by greedynot

I have not been able to get herbaceous peonies to bloom. Its just not cold enough in much of the area. Where are you in the Bay Area? This is an exceptionally cold year and I am hoping again! You can try the tree peony or herbceous peonies with blooms on them in the spring. But I doubt if you can get the herbaceous ones to bloom the following year though.
Btw, its good to plant the dormant plants and allow the roots to grow before the top does. Maybe March would be a good time. But don't plant if its too wet.


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