Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013 Questions - Chinese Tree Peony Seeds Sprouting

I received this question from Gayle in zone 5:
"Just wondering if you have had any success germinating your Chinese Peony seed order? I ordered the same packages and just sowed them. I hope to get a few new plants from the order, however, it is not as easy to germinate seeds as they say. Do you have any secrets for a successful germination rate?"

Honestly I am relatively new to planting peony seeds. Although I have been growing seeds I've harvested from my own garden since 2007, I have only started growing purchased seeds in the last 3 years. I am a very laissez faire gardener, and generally prefer to let Mother Nature do her thing. So all of my peony seeds are sowed outdoors in beds of topsoil. I usually do not add any fertilizer to these beds.

Chinese Tree Peony Seeds Sowed in Peony Seedling Test Bed

I have noticed so far that the seeds I have harvested myself do seem to germinate at much higher rates than any that I've purchased. I'm not sure if this is a factor of age of the seeds, handling conditions of the seeds, or suitability to my growing zone. The seeds I've raised, harvested, and planted myself are mostly lactiflora hybrids. The seeds I've purchased are mainly various types of species peony seeds and the above mentioned Chinese tree peony seeds. So their origins are far and wide around the US and the globe, and really there's no way for me to know the length of time since the purchased seeds were harvested. Whereas when planting my own seeds, I generally plant them the same season they are havested. I definitely want to give these Chinese Tree Peony Seeds some more time to sprout since it's only been a few months since they were planted. I am curious to see if and how many of these tree peony seeds sprout this coming spring. I will keep you posted on their progress. As you can see, they are all nicely labeled and waiting to germinate!


  1. I find that very loose soil high in compost, and partial shade appears to be the best for germination, and even with good seeds, only a small percentage of them will make it so it's always good to over plant.

    If you've seen my blog, you probably know that I am pretty familiar with growing peonies from seed.

    1. Steve,

      Thanks for the tips! I do have my seedling test bed in morning shade and afternoon sun, so part shade/part sun. I will have to try adding compost to see if that helps.