Articles about Peony experiments
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Thursday, April 25, 2019

2019 Peony Experiment - Little Darlin' Intersectional Root Pieces Grow!

I guess you could say this experiment was also a success. All of the Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' root peices that I planted last fall, 2019 Peony Experiment - Planting Little Darlin' Intersectional Root Pieces have all grown (except one). And I must say that this experiment was not totally controlled since it seems that a dog or some other animal dug up several of these roots, and they had to be replanted. One of them was dug up multiple times, even after it was replanted. My guess is the one that didn't grow is probably a root that was dug up multiple times, and that perhaps affected its ability to grow and thrive.


Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Root Pieces Grow (4/19)

Also the one root that didn't grow was also on the left. According to the original experiment, I planted them in order of least root (on the left) to most root (on the right). The root on the far most left side, which was really just a nub with an eye on it, really had no roots. Actually there was one other nub with eyes on it, just a slight larger nub, that did grow. Basically this experiment seems to confirm the success I had with the Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' in a similar previous experiment, 2013 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions Grow (4/25). It seems that intersectional peonies have a great propensity to regenerate.


Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Root Pieces Grow

Taking some new photos almost a week later, it seems that the bud tips (one of them actually looked like it might bloom!) of the tallest plant have started to dry up and die back a bit. I'm guessing it overgrew it's root capacity. It will probably be just fine next year. All of the other smaller divisions still look green and healthy. The other reason it could be drying up a bit could also be due to the heat we've experienced this week. We didn't get much of a chance to experience weather in the 70s so far this year (they may get skipped). It has been in the 80s for several days now, accelerating our bloom season, and perhaps causing this stress to these new intersectional peony plant divisions. Hopefully the weather will even out soon! A few more slightly cool, slightly warm spring days would be nice before summer!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

2019 Peony Experiments - Moving White Tree Peonies Successful

Well, I would say that my 2018 Peony Experiments - Move Mislabeled White Tree Peonies was quite successful. Perhaps it was because all of the tree peonies were very young, but all of them came through with flying colors. All of the buds that developed last fall did or will bloom this spring. I am excited to see how these tree peonies will grow in their new homes at the edge of the tree line instead of in the middle of the tree peony garden. Also I removed two very large tulip poplar tree from the tree peony garden area last fall, 2018 More Light for Tree Peonies, Sweet Gum Ball & Poplar Trees Gone! So these also are getting more light this spring than they have ever had before. So that could also be a contributing factor. Also all of these tree peonies I moved are P. Ostii seedlings. So perhaps these tree peonies are more tolerant to being moved.

P. Ostii Tree Peonies Moved Last Fall

Any way you slice it, I would say this experiment was definitely successful, and I would probably move tree peonies again in the future, especially young ones, as they seem to recover and adapt easily to their new surroundings. I can't wait to see how these young tree peonies grow and fill out (and hopefully) become covered in blooms! I think the moral of this story is that tree peonies can be moved and moved successfully. So if you are considering moving a tree peony, don't be afraid to do it (especially if the new home will have better growing conditions - like more sunlight!) Happy Growing!

P. Ostii Tree Peonies Moved Last Fall

Saturday, January 5, 2019

2019 Peony Experiment - Planting Little Darlin' Intersectional Root Pieces


Digging and Dividing Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin''

You know me - I'm always up to something. So I decided to go visit my Grandma yesterday since it was raining, and you can't really do anything outside. I had purchased a couple extra 50% off roots in the Adelman Peony Gardens sale, 2018 Adelman Peony Gardens Black Friday Sale 50% Off for her, and I still hadn't remembered to give them to her yet. So it seemed like a good day to do it, but I also wanted to bring her a root from the 'Little Darlin'' Intersectional Peony which has been growing like a weed in my garden. I wanted to split it and bring her a hunk since it is planted right next to my Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo', and it is kind of encroaching on its space a bit.


Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Root Divisions

So I split a piece of my Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' off with my shovel, but it split into two large chunks. The large chunk on the left with the huge root was one solid division, so I gave that one to my Grandma. The chunk on the right didn't have much root on it, and when I picked it up, it split into 7 pieces (with varying degrees of roots)!! All 7 pieces had nice pink buds on them. This sounded like another experiment in the making, and it reminded me a lot of the Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' roots I planted in previous experiment, 2012 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions.


7 Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Small Root/Eye Pieces

So I decided to plant all 7 intersectional peony root pieces in my peony test bed to see how they might grow. I planted them from smallest amount of root (on the left) to largest amount of root (on the right). It was a little muddy and wet outside for planting, but luckily it was only a light rain. We shall see in the spring how many of these roots sprout, and then we shall see how many of them live to see another spring. Last time all of the Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' roots sprouted, no matter how little (or no) roots the division had, 2013 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions Grow. So I am interested to see how these Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' plants will do (especially since the original plant was growing like a weed).


Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Pieces Replanted


Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Sign

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Peony Experiments - Move Mislabeled White Tree Peonies


Replanted White Tree Peony

I just had to sneak in one more project before the end of the year. This spring I tagged 4 of my tree peonies that are all white singles. Three of these were mislabeled tree peonies I bought on Ebay that I recorded in my 2018 Ebay Peony Seller Reviews. The last one was one of the tree peonies I got from Ali Express - very inexpensively, 2014 Chinese Tree Peonies from Ali Express. I couldn't just let these perfectly good tree peonies go to waste (just because they weren't the color I ordered), so I decided to reuse them as a border around the back edge of my woods behind my tree peony garden and along my garden path that leads to my outdoor covered swing. Some of these seem like P. ostii and there may be a P. rockii or two mixed in there as well.


White Tree Peony Being Replanted

Supposedly tree peonies resent being moved. So I guess you could say this might be an experiments of sorts. Since there of 4 of them, I might have a lot of built up resentment come spring, but I hope not. I'm hoping since I just removed 2 very large tulip poplars that were directly shading them, they will forgive me quickly and the additional sunshine will make up for any potentially severed roots. I tried not to sever too many roots, but a few of them did get - let's just say - "separated". I think most of them were intact. :-) I am anticipating that some of these may even bloom again this spring. I will let you know how they fare and whether I get any blooms out of them come spring.


White Tree Peony Roots

Friday, October 26, 2018

2018 Peony Experiments - A Tale of Two 'Kansas'es (Peonies That Is)

There once was a peony named 'Kansas' who lived in a garden in North Carolina, but there were actually two of them. One lived in full sun in the middle of the garden and was quite happy. The other one lived in part sun / part shade, and was always a grump. The 'Kansas' that lived in part shade was always jealous of the 'Kansas' that lived in full sun. That full sun 'Kansas' had everything it needed to grow and bloom beautifully - full sun, plenty of water, and no competition from tree and shrub roots. The part shade 'Kansas' wanted to grow and bloom as big and beautifully as the full sun 'Kansas', and it put forth a great attempt, even getting 7 blooms one year. Sadly the full sun 'Kansas' just could not sustain the growth or blooms. Each year the competition got more fierce, the sun's rays became dimmer, and there was less and less water available. One day the full sun 'Kansas' suggested the part shade 'Kansas' find a new home - one with more sun, more water, and no competition. The part shade 'Kansas' had never thought of this before, but liked the idea. It was sad to leave it's home after 10 years, but decided to go and live in the sun with some other peony friends at Grandma's house.


A Tale of Two 'Kansas'es (Peonies That Is)

BLOOMS
Year'Kansas' #1 Blooms
Partial Sun
'Kansas' #2 Blooms
Full Sun
2009
0
1
2010
3
27
2011
3
35
2012
1
14
2013
7
28
2014
7
39
2015
0
7
2016
1
22
2017
2
18
2018
2
30


Needless to say I decided to dig up one of my 'Kansas' peonies and give it to my Grandma. My grandmother lives on a bit of farmland with plenty of sun. She loves the dark colored peonies, and since this one, Peony 'Kansas', is an APS Gold Medal Winner and a Southern Peony Best Performer, I thought it would be nice to share it with her. As you can see from the charts here, the full sun 'Kansas' grew to full size rather quickly. (I'm sure I should divide it.) However the part sun 'Kansas' never got more than 4 stems and 7 bloom, and has since declined. The full sun 'Kansas' records are 16 stems and 39 blooms, quite a difference! So if you have any doubts about where to plant your peonies this fall, - FULL SUN!!! Pick a nice spot in the middle of your yard with no trees or shrubs nearby, and if you need more ideas on where to plant, check out our Top 5 Spots to Plant a Peony. If you're interested in checking out some of our past experiments, you can check them out here, Peony Experiments.

STEMS
Year'Kansas' #1 Stems
Partial Sun
'Kansas' #2 Stems
Full Sun
2009
2
3
2010
4
13
2011
4
12
2012
3
13
2013
4
16
2014
4
15
2015
3
15
2016
2
14
2017
2
14
2018
2
14


Friday, March 18, 2016

2016 Peony Experiment - 2 Year Old Root Grows


Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix' Sprouted

It's alive! Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix' has sprouted!!! Yay! It's not a very large sprout, but it is still alive. Since this peony did at least come up, I think I'll be able to nurture it to maturity. It might take a while to get a bloom on it, but I'm sure that it will get one eventually. This peony seems like a survivor! Even though I left this peony in a box for 2 years before planting it, which turned it into a 2015 Peony Experiment - Planting 2 Year Old Root, and it still came up, I would not recommend doing the same thing. I'm sure this peony degraded over time and lost quite a bit of energy and moisture, which would have helped it send up a much larger sprout and get a much better start in my garden. Also it lost two years of growing time and potential increase. So you'd be much better off planting your peonies right away. However, if you do happen to find one that's been sitting around for a while, it's worth a shot to plant it out and see it if grows! I'll be very curious to see what color blooms this peony has on it when it finally does bloom. Since this peony is from the 'Silver Dawn Mix', it could be a range of pale yellow to peach to pink colors. I guess only time will tell...

Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix'

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Stems

With the success of my peony experiment planting intersectional peonies with little to no stem attached (2012 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions / 2013 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions Grow), I decided to try another experiment this year planting intersectional peony stem pieces only. I want to see if intentionally planting only the intersectional peony stems will grow a new intersectional peony. I'm sure this would be a much slower method of propagation, since they would have no roots and would have to develop their entire root system and then grow large enough to bloom.

Yellow Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' Stems

Even if this does work, I'm not sure it would work for every intersectional peony variety. For this experiment, I am using the same peony variety that I used in my 2012/2013 experiment - Peony 'Bartzella'. After cutting back a peony I planned to divide, I saved any of the stems that contained pink growth buds. Stems without these growth buds probably do not have much chance of growing. So I reserved only those stems that had a visible pink growth bud. Also I made sure that the stems were long enough to include at least two of these growth buds, and even three if there were three growth buds present on one stem.

Small Trench Dug in Peony Test Bed

For this experiment, I have 10 nice looking intersectional peony stems, 7 stems with 2 growth buds and 3 stems with 3 growth buds. First I dug a small trench in my peony test bed. I laid the shorter, 2 growth bud stems diagonally in the trench and covered them with dirt. I planted the three taller, 3 growth bud stems vertically with one section of the stems sticking out of the ground. I intentionally planted these two different ways to see if one way roots better than the other. I did not use any growth hormone or fertilizers on these intersectional peony stems. I plan to let Mother Nature work her magic on these, and we'll see what she comes up with in the spring.
2 Growth Bud Intersectional Peony Stems Planted Horizontally
2 Growth Bud Intersectional Peony Stems Covered With Soil


3 Growth Bud Intersectional Peony Stems Planted Vertically

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 Peony Experiments - Planting Adventitious Roots


Adventitious Roots of Peony 'Grace Root'

This experiment practically created itself. While I was digging a piece of my Peony 'Grace Root' as a donation for the 2015 APS Fall Auction Dig & Ship Peony 'Grace Root', I accidentally severed a few pieces of the roots. Since Peony 'Grace Root' is supposed to have adventitious roots, meaning foliage can develop from blind root pieces, I decided to plant these severed roots to see if any of them would sprout next spring.

Peony 'Grace Root' Roots in the Planting Hole

So I dug a hole for them and planted them a few inches apart. I'm not sure if any of these root pieces are large enough, have enough stored energy, or have the correct piece of root needed to sprout. Actually I'm not sure what the requirements are to get them to sprout, or if there are any requirements. I guess we'll find out next spring.

Peony 'Grace Root' Roots Being Covered with Soil

I covered them with a few inches of soil, watered them in, and put a label in the soil. That way I can find where I planted them - whether they sprout next spring or not. I'm guessing some or all of them could take more than one year to sprout, but I'm not sure. I guess we'll find that out too! Let's hope some of these Peony 'Grace Root' roots sprout! :-)

Peony 'Grace Root' Roots Garden Label

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2015 Peony Experiment - Planting 2 Year Old Root


Label of Peony Root Box with Postmark 10/22/2013

So this wasn't really an intentional experiment, more like an accidental experiment... I apparently purchased this peony root, Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix', with the best of intentions in the APS Convention Auction. However little did I know that by the time the root arrived I would be experiencing morning sickness that not only caused me to cancel my Fall Harvest party that year, but also kept these peonies in their box in my garage waiting to be planted for two years! This box has been sitting there and sitting there and sitting there, and after a while I kept debating in my head whether to trash the box or open it. It has been sitting there so long I kind of forgot how long it had been there. I was thinking it had only been one year, but then I looked at the date on the box 10/22/2013 - almost two years to the day! Well, I decided to open it and see what was in there.
Peony Root Box
from 2 Years Ago
Opening Peony Root Box
from 2 Years Ago

Wow, I must tell you that Oregon Perennial did a spectacular job of packing this peony. I expected it to be either covered in mold or completely disintegrated, or both! However it was neither! The box contained a beautiful peony root inside a plastic bag filled with peat moss. It almost seemed as if it was shipped this year! It has started to grow a few small, white feeder roots and the buds were perfectly visible, not even sprouted one bit. It seems to have survived in a happy semi-dormant state in this box in my garage for two years so far.

2 Year Old Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix' Root
in a Bag of Peat Moss Inside of the Box


2 Year Old Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix' Root

So I planted it, and hence this experiment. I am a little afraid it might wake up in our warm, sunny fall and start to grow, only to be killed by the first frost. However I am crossing my fingers and hoping for the best that it survives (and hopefully stays dormant until spring)! I'll let you know how this "experiment" turns out... ;-)

Planting 2 Year Old Peony 'Silver Dawn Mix' Root

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2015 Peony Experiments - Herbaceous Divisions Grow


Peony Experiments - Herbaceous Divisions Grow

Remember those outcast herbaceous peony root stumps I had left over last fall after dividing my peonies? Each of these pieces had an eye on it, so I decided to plant them as Peony Experiments - Herbaceous Divisions. It seems like they are growing (well, most of them)! Both of the Peony 'Scarlet O'Hara' stumps are growing. The unknown white double peony stump is growing. It is labeled in the photo as Peony 'Top Brass' since that's what it was sold to me as (unfortunately that cultivar name was incorrect). The only one that didn't grow was the white and yellow anemone peony, which is labeled as Peony 'Rushlight' in the photo. This peony too was labeled incorrectly. Originally I divided these peonies to give them away at the plant swap. Now that these divisions have grown, I can give away or donate even more peonies in the future. I guess the moral of this story is, no matter how small a peony division you end up with after dividing your peonies, plant even the smallest pieces if they have eyes on them. They may just grow for you and make a new plant!

Peony 'Scarlet O'Hara' Root Stumps Grow


White Double Peony Root Stump Grows


White and Yellow Anemone Peony Root Stump Does Not Grow

Friday, October 10, 2014

2014 Peony Experiments - Herbaceous Divisions

After dividing a few of my peonies to give away Free Peonies at Gardenweb Carolina Plant Swap, I had a few casualties - pieces of herbaceous peony crown with buds attached but not much root. With little to no root on these pieces, I didn't want to give them away at the plant swap, possibly disappointing people with very little peony experience. These pieces are mostly just a piece of the crown with some growth buds. It is possible these may not grow at all, and if they do grow, it will likely take them a while to catch up to a standard division that contains the peony's storage roots. So I decided to plant them in one of my test beds to see if they would grow. I will be adding this experiment to the Experiments page, and will add updates about these peony pieces in the spring.

Herbaceous Peony 'Scarlet O'Hara' Divisions with Very Little Root


Unknown White Double Herbaceous Peony Division with Very Little Root


Unknown White & Yellow Anemone Herbaceous Peony Division
with Very Little Root

As you can see I tried to plant these peony pieces a bit deeper than I normally Plant an Herbaceous Peony. I wanted to give these little pieces a chance to grow and stay as moist as possible since I probably won't be watering them much. I'm curious to see what they can do on their own. If any of the peony divisions are successful in the spring, these will probably be contributions to share at future plant swaps!

Plant Herbaceous Peony 'Scarlet O'Hara' Divisions
with Very Little Root


Planted Unknown White Double Herbaceous Peony Division
with Very Little Root


Planted Unknown White & Yellow Anemone Herbaceous Peony Division
with Very Little Root

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2013 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions Grow

I thought you might like an update on my intersectional peony divisions from my 2012 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions. I was surprised to find last week, that even the division with no roots and old wood has started to grow!!! I am just amazed by this plant's earnestness and vitality. All of the divisions have really taken off. Peony 'Bartzella' has proven to be just a stellar plant in my garden. The tiny red growth from early spring in my 2013 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions has turned into flourishing plants. One of these small divisions even has a flower bud on it! I have since given that one to my grandma, but the rest of them are doing great and still growing! I am also planning to donate another one of these Peony 'Bartzella' divisions to the 2013 American Peony Society Fundraiser Auction. So if you'd like a chance to bid on a stellar peony for Southern gardens, please join us at the 2013 American Peony Society Convention at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania!
Peony 'Bartzella' Divisions
with Small Roots Growing 4/12/2013
Peony 'Bartzella' Divisions
with Small Roots Growing 5/27/2013


Peony 'Bartzella' Division
with Tiny Roots Growing 4/12/2013
Peony 'Bartzella' Division
with Tiny Roots Growing 5/27/2013
Gave the Peony 'Bartzella' Plant on the Right to My Grandma


Peony 'Bartzella' Division with
No Roots Growing (New Wood)
4/12/2013
Peony 'Bartzella' Division with
No Roots Not Growing (Old Wood)
4/12/2013
Peony 'Bartzella' Division with
No Roots Growing (New Wood)
5/27/2013
Peony 'Bartzella' Division with
No Roots Growing! (Old Wood)
5/27/2013
Close Up of Peony 'Bartzella' Division with
No Roots Growing! (Old Wood)
5/27/2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions

I am happy to report that 5 of the 6 Peony 'Bartzella' root divisions that I planted last fall, in the 2012 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions, have come up! Even one of the divisions with no roots sprouted. I didn't apply any rooting hormone or fertilizer, and I gave them very little supplemental water. Mother Nature did her thing! Some of the peony divisions even have multiple stems sprouting from the base! The only one that didn't sprout at all was the division that had no roots and the stem was old wood. The other division that had no roots came up, and that one had new wood. So it seems that the intersectional peony divisions can generate roots when there aren't any, if the division is a new stem. So get out there and start dividing your peonies! Fill up your yard, and then fill up your friends and neighbors yards too! :-) Share the love!
Peony 'Bartzella' Division
with Small Roots Sprouting
Peony 'Bartzella' Division
with Tiny Roots Sprouting
Peony 'Bartzella' Division with
No Roots Sprouting (New Wood)
Peony 'Bartzella' Division with
No Roots Not Sprouting (Old Wood)