Friday, April 19, 2019

2019 Peony Hybridizing Season is Here!

Bagged Peony 'Martha W.'

It's that time! Time to hybridize peonies!! Somehow between my new job, shuttling kids to/from school, homework, housework, etc. I have found a bit of time to start this important task of hybridizing my peonies! Perhaps it was my first success in hybridizing, getting my own intersectional peonies to finally germinate this year, 2019 I Finally DID IT! My First Intersectional Peony Seedling-s!, that propels me forward during this super busy time in my life. I am grateful to have this opportunity, and will do my best to make the most of it.

Bagged Pollinated Peony

This year was a little different than previous hybridizing years, in that my tree peony bloom season did not really overlap with my early herbaceous peony bloom season. Most years, I am able to harvest fresh pollen directly off of some of my tree peonies to pollinate the herbaceous peonies with. Not this year! This year, the only tree peony that is still in bloom with my herbaceous peonies is Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'. So this year, I saved most of my tree peony pollen in tubes in the fridge. (Luckily I had already purchased the tubes last year on Amazon.) I was planning to use the tubes (instead of aluminum foil) to freeze the pollen for use in future years as well. I will likely freeze any leftover refrigerated pollen this year to use in subsequent bloom seasons - which does work. Both of the intersectional peony seedlings that are now growing in my garden were made with pollen frozen from a previous year.

Bagged Pollinated Peony

I am planning to go outside now to pollinate a few more ripened buds this morning before work. However I am worried about the approaching storm today. I'm not sure if any of the hybridizing work I would do today will hold. The weather reports say we are expecting tornadoes, damaging winds, and possible flooding today. Perhaps I will bag a couple with paper bags today. Or perhaps I'll just go outside and remove these sheer bags (that were from 2 days ago, in hopes their pollination is complete) to make sure these pollinated peonies don't stay too soggy. Who knows? These could all be a wash, and I will start fresh on Saturday, after these severe storms have passed. We shall see...

Bagged Pollinated Peony


  1. My sense is that pollen "takes" in just a day or so, so you may be OK with the rain. But don't quote me on that.

    1. Bob,

      Yes, I've heard that too, but I was reading an interesting article/book on rose hybridizing that recommended waiting until 24-48 hours after emasculating the flower to add the pollen, giving the stigma time to ripen and become sticky. I haven't tried that before, so I may try that next year!