Peonies forum: It looks like I have viable tree peony seeds

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Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
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Cem9165
Aug 7, 2016 2:18 PM CST
I left a pod on my noid peony tree, (the blooms were identical to my Houki TP), and the pod has matured and opened this week.

The seeds look viable, so what do I do next?

Should I cut the open pod, or allow it to stay on the tree longer?

Also, when can the seeds be planted? Do I plant them now or in the spring?
Thumb of 2016-08-07/Cem9165/98453d

I'm so excited about these seeds! I've had other seed pods on my other herbaceous peonies in the past, but none have ever been viable. I would love to be successful growing these seeds, I know if they survive, it would take years to see blooms, but I'm willing to wait.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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magnolialover
Aug 7, 2016 2:31 PM CST

Moderator

You can plant them now. I just set aside a row and mark it and plant them like corn. I push my finger into the soil drop the seed then cover them up with dirt. In October I put straw over them, a tarp,then one more layer of straw. It keeps excess water out. Uncover late March and wait for sprouting. Some will take two years.
Tracey
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs Region: Georgia
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Cem9165
Aug 7, 2016 2:52 PM CST
Thanks for letting me know Tracey! I'll cut the pod today. Now should I amend the soil where I plant the seeds, we have red clay, and how far apart should I plant them?

I just went outside to check Shimanishiki, and found 2 more mature pods. It looks like the top pod had been open for sometime, and has already dropped some of the seeds on the ground. I cut the 2 pods, and found 16 viable seeds.

Shimanishiki seeds
Thumb of 2016-08-07/Cem9165/71d0e2
Thumb of 2016-08-07/Cem9165/0ea960
Thumb of 2016-08-07/Cem9165/025726

Noid seeds
Thumb of 2016-08-07/Cem9165/8afb6e

"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Aug 7, 2016 3:03 PM CST

Moderator

You can plant an inch or two apart and then move to transplant in a more permanent location after the first or second year. Disturb as little of the surrounding soil when you do that as possible. By the second year you should see germination of everything viable (though I never say never.. Some may still germinate at some point)
They look good. Give them a little squeeze test between your fingers, if not mushy, there is potential.
Tracey
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs Region: Georgia
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Cem9165
Aug 7, 2016 3:06 PM CST
Thanks Tracey!
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 7, 2016 4:09 PM CST
You can also do the water test--drop them int a bowl of water, floaters are no good. Good luck with your seeds!
Liz
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs Region: Georgia
Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias Roses
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Cem9165
Aug 7, 2016 7:34 PM CST
Liz, thanks for letting me know about the water drop test, I had 1 floater.

So it appears I have 27 viable seeds to start. Now, I'll have to figure out where to plant them.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 7, 2016 8:08 PM CST
That is very exciting Annette! Best of luck to you and hope that you will get beautiful flowers from them.

littlebin
Aug 8, 2016 12:16 AM CST
Plant it as soon as possible to avoid the seeds to be dry. It is more difficult for dry seeds to germinate. Some seeds may take 2 years to germinate.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 8, 2016 1:11 AM CST
Are you planting all outside or the baggie method, Annette? I finally have some tree peony seedlings from the seeds purchased from the APS convention 2 years ago, they were planted outside in a pot sunk into my garden to make sure I could tell where they were before sprouting. I don't know how fresh the seeds were, most of the herbaceous sprouted 1st spring, all of the tree peonies sprouted 2nd.
Shira-ziku 3 seedlings from around 10 seeds sown
Thumb of 2016-08-08/LizinElizabeth/7371a1
Purple Butterfly in the Wind 1 seedling from around 10 seeds sown
Thumb of 2016-08-08/LizinElizabeth/8abed7

Liz
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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touchofsky
Aug 8, 2016 7:12 AM CST
Good luck, Annette! Great looking seedlings, Liz. I have allowed two pods to develop on one of my tree peonies, too, but they haven't matured yet.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Aug 8, 2016 7:22 AM CST

Moderator

Any seed that is purchased from APS would not be considered fresh seed. Fresh seed is harvesting at your house or a friend's home and planting immediately. Once the hard outer coat is solid, it can delay germination. There is also the method of soaking in water for a week or so and changing the water every day. This softens up an already hard outer seed coat. The year I started seeds inside I did this and had great success.
Tracey
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Aug 8, 2016 7:46 AM CST
This is really interesting. I planted seeds Liz (LizBest) got for me from the convention. Kind of wishing I had soaked them but that's okay. We get enough rain and cloudy skies to moisten them up pretty well. Liz, should I give them extra cover this winter. I put in soil then put just a thin layer of ground up mulch over them. Maybe a piece of thick cloth and more mulch?? Don't want to rot them though
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 8, 2016 9:23 AM CST
I didn't cover mine with anything additional for the winter, Mary. Mine were planted around 1/2 to 1" deep and covered with the same mulch I had in that bed to retain moisture; exactly as seen in the pics. The Molly, Lemon Chiffon and Silver Dawn seeds I planted from the APS sale came up first spring so I think you should be okay with yours as well, the tree peony ones are the ones that took 2 years. I'm going to take Tracey's suggestion and soak the TP seeds from APS for the week before planting since I've not gotten them in the ground yet, maybe I'll have some more TP seedlings next spring! I got some seeds from Nate Bremer's donations--some Rockii Mudan mixes. SUPER excited about those after seeing his seedlings!
Liz
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs Region: Georgia
Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias Roses
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Cem9165
Aug 8, 2016 2:10 PM CST
Liz, your seedlings look wonderful! I think I'm going to plant some of my seeds in pots and some in the ground, after soaking the seeds a few days. I've had success with getting daylily and Siberian Iris seeds to germinate well after soaking them. I'm afraid if I did the bag method,mi would forget about them.

I've read on the Crickethill site that they file the outer seed coat of the seeds that are in double dormancy( the ones with the dark brown or black coating) to "scarify" them to get them to germinate faster. It's going to be fun experimenting with these seeds.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
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Oberon46
Aug 10, 2016 8:59 AM CST
Now I am wishing I had not cut off the seed pods. I may have one or two left on Lemon Chiffon though. I will bag them and watch. Should I wait til them open naturally, or is there a sign when they are mature inside and should be cut open.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 10, 2016 9:07 AM CST
They should at least split first, I wouldn't cut any open. I'm not an expert, though.
Liz
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Aug 10, 2016 9:16 AM CST
I suspect you are right. Other seeds pods that I have opened (poppy, columbine, etc) are usually green and don't do well. I will just bag and tag and wait. We have been having gully washer rain off and on for several days and that always worries me as the bags (organza though they are) can get wet and promote rotting of the seed pods. I try to catch it before then and just cut them stem off and bring it in to dry out.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: My name is Monika...
Chicago :)
*Where flowers bloom so does HOPE!*
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xoxomonisia
Aug 11, 2016 10:50 AM CST
After reading everyones posts.. looks like I need to go outside and see if I have any seed pods that are opening. I have pink and red peonies! I heard from seed it may take 3 to 4 years to bloom. Would it be quicker if I dig some of the roots up and transplant to another spot?
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 11, 2016 12:11 PM CST
Hi Monika, welcome to the peony forum! Dividing and moving peonies isn't really complicated but it is labor intensive if the plant is large. Dividing is the ONLY way to ensure you have more of the same plant since they don't grow true from seed. If you have a peony that's mature--lots of stems and flowers this spring, you can divide it to make multiple new plants. First off you'll want to wait until fall when the plant goes dormant. Peonies will die back to the ground every year, they don't have to be THAT far gone but if you can wait until most of the leaves are dried up it would be best since they're still storing energy for the next year until then. It's easiest to cut back all foliage at that point so there's only a few inches left--less to get in the way. You'll want to dispose of the foliage rather than composting it to get rid of any disease/mildew/etc. Start digging at least a foot out from the outer edges of the base of the stems as some varieties have massive roots. You'll want to dig down at least 18" and lift the entire thing out. Once you've dug all the way around it and down you should be able to rock it gently with the shovel--if you still feel a lot of resistance you'll want to go deeper. Once it feels like the roots are loose you'll have to lift the entire root out. (Most of the time there will be pieces that break off--pretty much unavoidable and not a big deal but save any larger root pieces--some peonies can grow from pieces of root even if they don't have eyes.) Use a water hose and remove as much soil as possible so you can get a good look at the root; it'll be a big jumble of feeder roots with eyes like on a potato on and near the crown of the root. You'll want to examine it before cutting to get an idea of how many divisions you can make, you'll want 3-5 eyes and 1-2 complete feeder roots/division. Sometimes you can pry the whole thing apart but most of the time you'll need to cut from the crown down to get the division started, a fine tooth saw or knife will make it easier but make sure they've been cleaned thoroughly first. I typically go right down through the middle of the root first cut then gently pry subsequent pieces off with little need for a knife. I've seen posts from people in more humid areas than where I live recommend leaving the roots unplanted for several hours to allow the cuts to dry up; I've always just replanted mine right away with no issues. Depending on the variety and the size of your divisions you could easily get flowers on your divided roots next spring.

Growing from seed is pretty cool as well--you could end up with a brand new, amazing peony that no one else in the world has! It does take a lot longer to get to blooming size, I personally think 3-4 years is way optimistic but maybe I'm just in a more challenging growing zone. Unfortunately even seedlings from big double peonies typically have less petals and are smaller unless you're very lucky or are a talented hybridizer. That said, I've seen some really pretty seedlings shown by forum members so it's certainly worth trying.
Liz

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