Monday, September 16, 2013

2013 Chinese Tree Peony 'Xiang Yu' ('Fragrant Jade')

Chinese Tree Peony 'Xiang Yu' ('Fragrant Jade') on Ebay

Well I got my first green and growing Chinese tree peony variety this week, and yes, I bought it on Ebay. I know, I know. Ebay is not necessarily the best source for peonies. However I do consider it to be a step above Gilbert H. Wild, who sends lots of mislabled plants, and several steps above Dutch Bulbs or Spring Hill Nursery, which import dry stick like material they call tree peonies. Also to that end, tree peonies are quite expensive elsewhere, and to quote a seller of US grown tree peonies on Ebay,"shipping only for a dry stick from China is $29, and the chance of survival for those plants was 20% in my hand". I was even reading last night in my copy of the First Edition of the Manual of the American Peony Society, that in the 1800s the Chinese tree peony sellers would often cut the roots of the tree peonies or scald the seeds they sold to prevent them from growing. I wonder if that was to increase their future business or, as the author of the APS Manual article surmised, to keep their best varieties to themselves. Let's hope things have changed since the 1800s and sellers don't do that nowadays. I guess I'll find out in the spring when I check to see if any of my Suffruticosa Tree Peony Seeds from China sprout!
Peony 'Xiang Yu' ('Fragrant Jade')
in Shipping Bag
Peony 'Xiang Yu' ('Fragrant Jade')

Anyway I got this tree peony from an Ebay seller in New York, that grafts and grows tree peonies himself, and the plant looks very nice for the price. It looks nice even for a much higher sum. I've even paid more for one of those dry stick-like tree peonies from a generic garden catalog only to have it die shortly thereafter. This one looks very sturdy and has lots of nice roots on it. The seller said it should bloom this coming spring or the next. I'm hoping for the one coming up!

Peony 'Xiang Yu' ('Fragrant Jade') Stem Root Junction

Peony 'Xiang Yu' ('Fragrant Jade') in Planting Hole

As you can see I planted this tree peony several inches below the soil. I actually planted it at least an inch deeper than the original grower had it planted (which you can see by the moisture mark on the plant's stems). This is to encourage the tree peony to continue to develop roots of its own (which would sprout off of the portion of the tree peony stem that is underground). So the more of the stem that is underground, the more surface area capable of developing roots. I also watered this one before I mulched it. I usually mulch it before I water, but since I was putting so much water on it (hoping to keep it moist), I wanted to make sure the water didn't run out of the planting hole. If you'd like more tips on planting tree peonies, check out this guide on How to Plant a Tree Peony.

Peony 'Xiang Yu' ('Fragrant Jade') Planted

Peony 'Xiang Yu' ('Fragrant Jade') Watered

Peony 'Xiang Yu' ('Fragrant Jade') Mulched


  1. If you are interested, CricketHill Peony is offering Rockii Peony Tree seedlings for $38 for 3 seedlings with free shipping. These are 1-2 year olds.

  2. Hopefully those are not herbaceous sprouts at the base or else they may try to take over the tree peony.

    1. Steve,

      Yes, I plan to pluck them off if they are. They do look a bit suspicious don't they?