The Q&A Archives: Peonies From Seed

Question: I have a tree peony podseed that I pulled off of my sister's bush and am allowing the seed to dry out. Should I do some thing else? Someone said to put it in the refigerator. Any special soil? Any particular time? Can I do the same for any annuals?

Answer: Peony seeds need pre-treatment before they will germinate, and lots of patience during the process. Place the seeds in a plastic bag together with moist growing medium and refrigerate for 2-3 weeks. Then remove the seeds and sow them just on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and press them in with your hand. Cover the trays or pots with plastic wrap to help retain moisture, and put them in a warm place. The seeds will germinate in 30-365 days. Plant the seedlings outdoors in spring, after the soil has warmed up a bit. Peonies resent having their roots disturbed, so transplant carefully. Plants started from seed should bloom within three years.

According to Steven Still, in his Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants, Peonies grown from seed are seldom true-to-type and it takes several years to see what color flowers they will have. Good luck with your venture!

Not all seeds require pre-chilling. Most annuals don't, but some perennials do. It's best to research each type of seed you have to see what the germination requirements are.

Hope this helps!

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