Sunday, March 17, 2013

2013 Peony Experiments - Peony Seeds in Bags

After ordering some Peony Seeds from Hirt's Gardens, I decided to grow the seeds in plastic bags based on some interesting instructions the seeds came with. I've never grown any peony seeds in bags before. So I decided to give it a try to see what would happen, whether they would sprout, and what the germination rates would be following this method. It has been three weeks now, and as you can see, there are no peony seeds sprouting in any of my plastic bags. In fact the only thing sprouting in my plastic bags is mold. As you can see in the second picture below, the two P. ludlowii seeds are both covered in mold. The rest of the bags appear to be mold free, but they are also root free as well. I am still going to plant these seeds in the ground, and hopefully some of them will still sprout anyway. For me this method did not work. I'd be curious to know if anyone else has been successful with this method, and if they have any tips. Sometime I think keeping things simple is the best way, let Mother Nature work her magic...

Peony Seeds in Bags with Moist Vermiculite

Mold Growing on Peony Seeds in Bag


  1. It has worked for me using paper towels, or peat moss. The key seems to be to have just barely enough water to keep the seeds plump, and if they dry out once in a while, let them dry out. I used fungicide powder just as a backup as well.

    Only some of them will sprout roots after 3-4 months of relatively warm temperatures which is when I transferred them straight into the garden so it is best to sprout seeds over the summer. Only some of them will sprout roots while some still sprout roots while they are in dormancy and sprout leaves the following spring after a good vernalization. They do absolutely need the cold cycle or else they will just die off.

  2. Steve,

    Maybe paper towels and peat moss would work better than plastic bags. They definitely need some kind of ventilation. Plastic bags don't seem to be a good home for sprouting peony seeds. It also doesn't seem like a good idea to send the seeds out with those sprouting instructions. Sometimes I think we can waste a lot of time and effort trying to duplicate Mother Natures' conditions. Just let her do what she does best...


  3. The one downside of growing them straight into the garden beds is that they are very prone to pests, especially pill bugs if they end up discovered, and small animals will eat the seeds if they wash up onto the surface.

    I have had peony seedlings sprouting in my garden every spring since 2011 so it is a very dependable method as I have seeds planted all over the place, usually marked so I know where to expect them. Some fresh seeds only take 1 dormancy cycle however some seeds may take 2-3 years to sprout as I'm finding some emerge that should have been planted back in 2010 this year.

  4. Steve,

    Yes, I have been sowing some of my seeds since 2007, but I have yet to get a bloom. One of the 2008 seedlings is actually starting to get larger than the rest. So I'm thinking that maybe I'll get a bloom next year. I hope so! :-)


  5. I have been performing some experiments with peonies as well! I also have some pictures and would love to share if you are interested!

    1. Misty,

      Sure! I would love to see your pictures and any information you might have to share, especially if your seeds sprouted successfully. So far Mother Nature has been the best option for me.