Peonies forum: Just how TALL will a tree peony get?

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jul 8, 2014 9:38 PM CST
I was gifted a seedling from my neighbor 4 springs ago. She thinks it might be yellow, but so far it has never bloomed for me. The first two years it stayed fairly small and kind of struggled, then it took off and is now about 6' tall and wide. How big do these suckers get? And when should I expect to see a bloom? It's borderline on the way out the door, it's starting to block my kitchen window view of our farm pond.
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Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Jul 9, 2014 7:59 AM CST
Holy Cow. I never thought they got that tall. I am surprised it hasn't bloomed though,
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Name: Maria
Victoria, BC (Zone 7b)
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Pwinget
Jul 9, 2014 1:24 PM CST
Would you mind posting a picture of it?
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jul 9, 2014 1:50 PM CST
Here's the whole plant - all of 6' tall and wide (that's a yard stick at the base):
Thumb of 2014-07-09/Bonehead/74af18

Here's a leaf - about 12" long:
Thumb of 2014-07-09/Bonehead/58788c

And here's an upper stem, with nothing but more leaves coming out:
Thumb of 2014-07-09/Bonehead/901f68

It's a nice enough foliage plant, but I was hoping for some flowers at some point, and thought it might get 4-5' tall at the most. This is just a giant thug...
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Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Jul 9, 2014 4:19 PM CST
Oh that's a big one!! Blinking Sorry Deb, no info for you but I have never seen a Peony get that big but don't grow many. I will be interested to see what the experts here say.
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Name: Maria
Victoria, BC (Zone 7b)
Region: Canadian Peonies Hummingbirder Birds Irises Seed Starter
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Pwinget
Jul 9, 2014 5:01 PM CST
I'm not an expert so please correct me if I'm wrong, but that looks similar to a P. lutea. It is a species peony that can cross with other peonies to create hybrids or self-fertilize in isolation. P. lutea is a vigorous plant and it does indeed have yellow flowers. That is the largest peony plant I know.

This is an older one at a nearby university garden. It is 7ft x 9ft. Paeonia lutea var. ludlowii:


Flower:


I don't know why yours isn't flowering. It looks like it gets plenty of sun. Have you fertilized it? I often read that adding too much nitrogen will cause it to forego blooms over foliage.

I think it's a beautiful plant, but it certainly needs its space.
[Last edited by Pwinget - Jul 9, 2014 5:04 PM (+)]
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Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
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Pistil
Jul 10, 2014 6:04 PM CST
Hi Bonehead!
I think it was 5 years ago I got a P. lutea seedling at Kruckeberg Botanic Garden in Shoreline (Seattle). I do not know what variety. I planted it in dry shade under a cedar tree, because they had some in their woods that somehow did well and bloomed anyway. They were tall and very straggly, but looked healthy (maybe 8-10 feet tall). Mine is now almost 6 feet tall and wide, and growing fast, but leaning out towards the light. It never wilts no matter how I neglect it. This is the first year it bloomed, and here are photos. Last year I saw a giant hedge of them at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle- it looked to be about 10' tall and 10' wide!!!!
Thumb of 2014-07-11/PineNut/4e4981


Thumb of 2014-07-11/PineNut/05d2cf

Name: Maria
Victoria, BC (Zone 7b)
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Pwinget
Jul 18, 2014 5:13 PM CST
Bonehead said: It's borderline on the way out the door, it's starting to block my kitchen window view of our farm pond.


Have you decided on what you will do with the plant?
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jul 18, 2014 7:10 PM CST
Well, at this point I'm cutting it back so it doesn't become a total screen for my dining room and kitchen windows. It's a nice foliage plant and stands up with no additional support needed. It totally shaded out the plants on one side, which I'll replace with a large hosta. Other than that, I'll wait and see if it perhaps blooms next season.
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bamira
Sep 13, 2014 3:58 PM CST
It grows to a height of 3,5 meters
You can sculpt, well being covered with.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Aug 10, 2015 10:53 AM CST
Checking back in. My non-blooming tree peony remains barren. I think it is going on 6 years now. A bit taller and wider than my photos above, and still no signs of blooms. I have not fertilized it at all. It is sited in a corner with southwest exposure so plenty of sun. Healthy as can be. I've about given up on it as a flower and simply treating it as a nice foliage plant.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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magnolialover
Aug 10, 2015 10:57 AM CST

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What cultivar is it and can you post a picture? It might help give us clues.
Tracey
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Aug 10, 2015 11:19 AM CST
Photos are in initial post (hasn't changed much, just got a bit taller and bushier). I don't know the cultivar, this was a gift from a friend who thought it had a yellow bloom. So far, no bloom or even a suggestion of a bloom. I believe she may have grown these from seed - she has a greenhouse and initially brought me 3-4 little seedlings but only one survived.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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magnolialover
Aug 10, 2015 11:36 AM CST

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I have been told there are some cultivar tree peony seedlings that can take 5-7 years to flower. Since you aren't sure what it is, I might just be patient and wait. If it was a seedling from a mother plant by chance, apparently this can take a bit. The cultivar looks very healthy and I would think you should see something in time.
Tracey
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Aug 10, 2015 11:40 AM CST
Going on 6 years now, so what's another couple to wait? As I noted, it is a very impressive foliage plant, so not without merit. Maybe next season...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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magnolialover
Aug 10, 2015 11:53 AM CST

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I sure hope so. It does have very nice foliage and structure so what is the harm unless you've got something much better waiting to take its place.
Tracey
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
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Oldgardenrose
Aug 10, 2015 1:53 PM CST
There is a difference between a seedling and a cutting, or bud grafting, for some plants. I just cut down a wisteria plant we had purchased and planted probably 25 years ago. Vines and foliage were great but it never bloomed. Learned later a seedling can take as much as 3 times as long to bloom as a cutting.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Jan 17, 2016 2:46 PM CST
I continue to struggle with this plant. Last season came and went with again good foliage but no bloom. I have no idea how to treat this in the off season - it appears to kind of die back similar to a hydrangea but with live buds at the ends of the uprights. Do you prune these back, or just let them go? So far I have done nothing to this plant - no fertilizer, no pruning, nothing. My patience is wearing a bit thin, but I keep thinking *this* will be the year I am rewarded with blooms... I guess my meandering question here is -- how should I prune this beast? Or do I just leave it alone?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
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LizinElizabeth
Jan 17, 2016 4:15 PM CST
This is YOUR year, Deb, I can just feel it! A little bulb fertilizer like Kousa recommends can't hurt. If yours was a seedling, actually grown from seeds dropped by your neighbor's tree peony, it could take that long to flower but I'm surprised at the size. Is it in a position that it could be getting fertilized with your lawn or anything too high in nitrogen? Have you ever seen any buds forming at all? I'm no where near an expert on tree peonies but your pics look like a healthy one that should be blooming soon.

Okay, before I finished this post I thought I'd do a quick search and came across this from Dave's Garden: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/80821/ It says it can take 5-9 years for P. Lutea to bloom from seed! Holy cow that's a long time to wait!
Liz
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
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Cem9165
Jan 17, 2016 5:51 PM CST
Don't prune it, if it's setting buds, you'll cut off all the blooms. I agree with Liz, give it some bulb food, and I also put composted manure around my plants.

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