Articles about Peony tree
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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

2023 January Tree Peony Growth

January Tree Peony Growth

Wow! A new year already? And the last day of the first month. Where does time go? The tree peonies keep time and have already begun their growth for the new year. I've been watching them all month go from fat buds into small shoots with buds! Although the weather is still cold-ish here (we have had quite a mild winter - 3rd warmest January on record), the tree peonies have begun their slow unfurling process - with some varieties farther along than others. Some types still remain in fat bud stage.

I am happy to see them greet me so early in the new year. Their blooms will be here by the end of March and beginning of April. So really they don't have much time left for those buds to fully mature, about a month and a half! Signs of spring will be here soon. Spring is coming!!!

January Tree Peony Growth

Thursday, April 7, 2022

2022 Red Tree Peony Broken!

Red Tree Peony with Broken Branch

I have a sneaking suspicion that the squirrels might have had something to do with this broken branch on my red tree peony. They have been pillaging the sunflowers in my bird feeders, digging up (and eating) lots of crocus bulbs (and muscari bulbs) in my garden this spring, and just being a nuiscance in general. They've even dug up some daffodil bulbs (which they supposedly don't like)!

Red Tree Peony Broken Branch

I know things like this (broken tree peony branches) happen from time to time, but this year this red tree peony looked especially good and was growing so well. It even had 5 blooms on it, which is the most blooms it has ever had! Aside from losing the bloom, which already hurts, it kind of feels like this tree peony is losing 20% of it's growing capabilities for the entire year, as there was quite a bit of tree peony foliage broken off with this branch as well.

Red Tree Peony with Broken Branch

My tree peony garden feels like it really has had a rough time getting started. I started collecting tree peonies last (after herbaceous and intersectional peonies), and the only tree peony that I have that is doing stupendous at the moment is Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'. I have been having a really hard time getting so many tree peonies to take. Many of them will grow for 1-3 years, sometimes more, but many of them will peter out after that or never really grow well, and just get smaller each year until they die. (Some of them have even gotten sprayed with weed killer!) I hope this string of bad luck with tree peonies ends soon!

Red Tree Peony Bloom

Friday, April 1, 2022

2022 Second Tree Peony Bloom(s) of the Season!!

We've had quite the cold spell since the 2022 First Tree Peony Bud of the Season! That tree peony ostii with the first bud was the lone tree peony with blooms for about a week and a half, and it has also been dry with no rain. Yesterday we got a big rain, about an inch and a half, with a warm front, and that really did the trick!! Several other tree peonies and one herbaceous peony all burst into bloom on the same day, April 1st! The extra moisture (and especially the warmer weather) really spurred these peonies into action! I love the whites and lavenders of these very early peonies. It is nice to enjoy these delicate, pastel petal colors in the early peony bloom season. 🙂

Tree Peony 'White Pheonix'

Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'

Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'

Tree Peony Paeonii Rockii Lavender

Peony 'Halcyon'

Tree Peony Paeonii Rockii Lavender

Tree Peony Seedling

Monday, March 21, 2022

2022 First Tree Peony Bud of the Season!

First Tree Peony Bud of the Season

It is a simple, nameless tree peony seedling, but it is so lovely to see this first pale pink bud appear so early in the season! A harbinger of beautiful sights to come! When in full bloom, these P. Ostii tree peony flowers look mostly white, but it is so nice to see this beautiful blush of pink before these flowers are fully open! The petals look so delicate and soft, like beautiful wisps of pale pink crepe paper!

Pale Pink Bud on Tree Peony Ostii

I hope all of your gardens are growing well, and your tree peony seasons are upon you or quickly approaching! (And if you don't grow tree peonies yet, now might be a good time to consider it - since growing tree peonies is almost like having a whole other peony season/show before the herbaceous peony flowers show up!) 🙂

Pale Pink Bud of Tree Peony Ostii

Thursday, February 10, 2022

2022 Solaris Farms Tree Peony Order Peony 'Angel' Emily & Her Children!

Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' is by far my favorite tree peony (at least so far!!). Unfortunately my Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' got killed 2 springs ago by TruGreen :-(. So now I have to order another one to put in a super protected area. 😊 My Tree Peony 'Angel Choir' was right beside it, and both of them bit the dust. Gosh, gardening can be an expensive hobby! Sometimes you think you only have to buy a plant once and it will be there forever, but that is not always the case!

Tree Peony 'Angel Emily'
at Solaris Farms
Tree Peony 'Angel Choir'
at Solaris Farms

Besides those two old favorites it looks like there are 2 new tree peonies from Nate Bremer at Solaris Farms that are children of Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' - Tree Peony 'Black Echo' and Tree Peony 'Olympus'. I really couldn't resist! They both look so gorgeous and loaded with blooms. I have spots in my garden picked out for them already! I want to put 'Angel Emily' in a lavender garden near my Intersectional Peony Garden, and I want to put Tree Peony 'Angel Choir' near a garden bench and bird feeder in my back yard. I also have some hot pink and light pink gardens where I'll put the other two new tree peony varieties.

Tree Peony 'Black Echo'
at Solaris Farms
Tree Peony 'Olympus'
at Solaris Farms

I am thrilled to see how Nate Bremer is carrying on the legacy of Bill Seidl in the hybridizing of tree peonies. It was a rare and unique opportunity to visit Bill's garden in 2016 Peony 'Dreamtime' Pollen from Bill Seidl's Garden before he passed away, and I'm so glad I had the chance. It was very humbling to find out that he even knew who I was! 😊 I can't wait to see how these new progeny of his angel, Tree Peony 'Angel Emily', turn out!! They look so lovely in the photos!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

2021 How To Cut Back a Tree Peony

Tree Peony with Dead Foliage

After a while that beautiful tree peony goes from gorgeous to gross, and you just want to erase it from your landscape. In order to get it looking decent again (and ready for spring), you need to cut it back. Cutting it back also removes parts of the stem that won't be needed next season and all of the dead foliage, which could harbor disease. The parts of the stem you will want to remove are any bloom stems that either bloomed or failed to bloom, but you don't want to cut off too much, as you don't want to lose any growth buds, which is where the peony will start to grow from in the spring.

Cut Tree Peony Bloom Stem 1" Above Top Bud

There are different ways you can cut back your peony stems and different methods of removing the foliage. I'll go over both of them here. The first way of cutting back the bloom stems is to cut the bloom stem back to 1 inch above the top growth bud on the stem. Using your pruners cut the stem at an angle (to prevent water pooling/damage) 1 inch above the leaf joint that contains a rounded, sometimes pinkish growth tip.

Tree Peony After Bloom Stem Cut 1" Above Top Bud

Tree Peony Bloom Stem Cut Back

After the bloom stem has been cut off, next the foliage stems should also be pruned. The foliage stems can be cut back to about 2 inches to leave a pointy, pokey hardened foliage stem to protect the growth bud, while the dead leaves will be removed and thrown away. These hard stems can be useful if you have a problem with animals that like to browse your tree peonies (like deer). It is not a huge obstacle, but an obstacle nonetheless, and may help protect your peonies from hungry animals.

Cut Tree Peony Leaf Stems Down to 2"

After one foliage stem has been cut back, continue cutting back all of the foliage stems on that main stem to 2 inches as well. As you are cutting the foliage, make sure you are placing it in a bucket or bag for disposal. Don't leave the dead stems and foliage on the ground underneath the tree peony. This will help with plant hygiene and health.

Cut Tree Peony Leaf Stems Down to 2"

Dispose of Tree Peony Stems & Foliage

Cut Tree Peony Bloom Stem Just Above 1 Segment Higher than Top Bud

Another way to cut back the peony bloom stem is to make your cut a little higher on the tree peony stem, one leaf segment above the top bud. This may be a useful method if you are concerned about severe cold or dieback in your peony stems. Here in my garden in the South, we don't usually have to worry about temperatures that cold. Some Northern states keep snow cover all winter to protect the peonies. However if you live in an area with extreme cold and no snow cover, you may be a bit more concerned about stem dieback. Or perhaps you've experienced stem dieback in the past, in which case this maybe the method that you choose.

Tree Peony After Bloom Stem Cut
Just Above 1 Segment Higher than Top Bud

Remove Foliage Stems
from Tree Peony

Pull Down Tree Peony Foliage Stem to Pop Stem Off

Another method of removing tree peony foliage stems is pretty easy and doesn't require any clippers. You simply pop them off by pressing the foliage stem in the opposite direction than it was growing. The entire foliage stem removes cleanly. I like to use this method for any foliage segments that do not have a growth bud in them. Since there is no growth bud that needs protection, the entire foliage stem can be removed, leaving the tree peony a bit more clean.

Tree Peony After Foliage Stem Popped Off

You can then continue cutting back any foliage stems with growth buds at the base. Keep repeating these processes until you have cut back all bloom stems and removed or cut back all foliage stems as well. After you are finished with the entire tree peony plant, it will be back to stems only, be so much cleaner, and ready for spring!! Happy Garden Cleaning!!!

Cut Back Foliage Stems to 2" to Protect Growth Buds

Tree Peony Cleaned Up & Ready for Spring!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

2020 Tree Peony 'High Noon' with 2 Kinds of Foliage?

Tree Peony 'High Noon' with 2 Kinds of Foliage - 3/27

Have you ever noticed your tree peony have 2 kinds of foliage? If so, you really need to remove one of them. Which one? The one that's not growing from the woody stems. You see, tree peonies are mostly grafted plants, meaning they take a branch from a very large and mature tree peony and graft or meld it to the root of an herbaceous peony. Usually those herbaceous peony roots are grown from some random no-good herbaceous peony seed. They just grow lots of those herbaceous peony seeds to get a large crop of very young (and hopefully vigorous) peony roots on which to graft their tree peony stems.

Tree Peony 'High Noon' with 2 Kinds of Foliage - 3/27

Tree Peony 'High Noon' with 2 Kinds of Foliage - 4/13

Still not sure which foliage to remove? Take a look at the photos. The herbaceous peony foliage is very shiny and slick. The tree peony foliage is more dull and softer. Also take a look at the leaves on each branch of the foliage. The herbaceous peony leaves are more pointed and usually come to a defined tip. The tree peony leaves are more spreading and usually have small cuts in them. Hopefully you've been able to identify which foliage is herbaceous and which foliage is tree peony now. So now all you need to do is cut the herbaceous peony stem or stems all the way down, right at or just below the soil surface.

Tree Peony 'High Noon' with 2 Kinds of Foliage - 4/16

Tree Peony 'High Noon' with 2 Kinds of Foliage - 4/16

If you're curious to see just what kind of flower that herbaceous peony nurse root might make, I have saved you the trouble. I decided to let the herbaceous nurse root bloom this year since it had an obvious bud on it that looked like it would mature. As you can see the flower is nothing to speak of at all. It is very small, very tiny, with very short petals, kind of sad actually. If you think about it, no one is going to graft a beautiful herbaceous peony (and valuable - that they could otherwise sell) to the bottom of a tree peony. So it is really best to remove this herbaceous peony foliage from your tree peony as soon as you notice it, so that any energy stored in that herbaceous root is not lost to the herbaceous foliage, flower, or seed development. You really want that herbaceous nurse root to use all of its energy to help the tree peony grow and become established. Happy Growing!!

Tree Peony 'High Noon' with 2 Kinds of Foliage - 4/21

Tree Peony 'High Noon' with 2 Kinds of Foliage - 4/21

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

2020 Tree Peony 'Koukamon' Blooms in Week 5 Late Mid Season!

Tree Peony 'Koukamon' 皇嘉門 (Floral Gate)

The weather must be really confusing the peonies this year. My Tree Peony 'Koukamon' 皇嘉門 (Floral Gate) bloomed in Week 5 this year! I have never had a tree peony bloom this late (that wasn't a brand new spring planted addition to the garden). Regardless, I am really enjoying the spacing out of this peony season. I kind of wish it could be like this every year! It looks like this tree peony first bloomed for me in 2018, and it bloomed in Week 2 Early season! So you can see what a difference it has had in the bloom season this year, almost 3 weeks later than normal! Regardless of when this Tree Peony 'Koukamon' blooms, I am grateful for it. This is such a gorgeous tree peony and an awesome shade of purple!

Tree Peony 'Koukamon' 皇嘉門 (Floral Gate)
Blooms in Week 5 Late Mid Season

Tree Peony 'Koukamon' 皇嘉門 (Floral Gate)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

2020 Tree Peony 'Renown' Blooms in Week 4 Mid Season!

Tree Peony 'Renown'

Either I don't grow enough tree peonies yet, or this tree peony is really mixed up this year. Tree Peony 'Renown' bloomed for me this year for the first time, with 3 blooms, and it bloomed in Week 4 - Mid Season! I couldn't believe it. I just tried looking it up in the APS database to see what season it is supposed to bloom in, and it didn't say, but it did say this, "Reblooms in July – August" Wow! I had no idea that some tree peonies reliably rebloom! I am very curious to see this. I also checked the Adelman Peony Gardens web site where I originally purchased it, and it says it blooms "midseason". So maybe this is the right time for it to bloom. The tree peony had only 1 stem for me last year (the first year it grew), and this year (the second year of growth) it has 4 stems and 3 blooms! I am just blown away!! I can't wait to see what this one does later in the season and how well it grows next year too!

Tree Peony 'Renown'

Tree Peony 'Renown'

Tree Peony 'Renown'

Tree Peony 'Renown'

Sunday, March 29, 2020

2020 The Tree Peony and the Honey Bee

Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee

I'm not sure who was more eager to see this tree peony open - me or the honey bee! We finally got some sunshine after days and days of rain and cloudiness, and boy was I thankful for it! So was this bee apparently, since the sun helped open up all of these flowers in bud. This tree peony is a seedling I grew from some seed I purchased on Ebay, 2013 P. Rockii Peony Seeds from Cricket Hill Garden. I guess this would be considered a semi-double bloom since it has more than a single row of petals. It sure is gorgeous, and I just love those purple flares in the center of the flower!! I will definitely be labeling this one so that I remember to move it this fall out of the seedling bed fall and into my garden! :-)

Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee

Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee

I'm sure the honey bees will be happy to have more flowers in the garden each year. I do know of one peony grower in Canada that also likes peonies & bees - Blossom Hill Nursery. They have their own hives, make their own honey, and lots of other products with the wax. I am just so grateful to see the bees here in my garden. I know that bees have been having a hard time. I hope that bees are able to recover. I also hope that we can all do our part to reduce our dependence on harmful chemicals and try to make each of our individual garden spaces bee friendly. Bees are our friends, let's make them welcome! :-)

Tree Peony P. Rockii Seedling & Honey Bee