Peonies forum→Cutting flowers off of first year bushes

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Connecticut (Zone 6b)
krazyquilter
May 28, 2020 7:32 PM CST
I know that you shouldn't cut foliage off of first year plants, but how about just the blooms? My first year Hawaiian Coral has 5 nice size buds, 2 of which flowered yesterday. Today was cloudy and misty, tomorrow and Sat forcast for more of the same with potential thunderstorms and some downpours. I'd like to enjoy the blooms! Can I cut close to the flower, leaving foliage on plant and bring inside?
If I need to keep on the plants for next year growth, I will do so...but such a shame after this already awful freezing cold and wet spring here in the Northeast!
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
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anyagoro
May 29, 2020 1:45 AM CST
Of course, it is totally fine, even good if you cut the blooms but save the foliage. Enjoy them! Smiling
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
May 29, 2020 3:37 PM CST

Moderator

I agree with Anya! Enjoy them as much as you can. It seems like such a long time before we get to enjoy the blooms again.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Jan 3, 2021 3:38 PM CST

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I know that not everyone gets on Facebook, but Walt from Mountain Flower Farms posted this very interesting article regarding disbudding peonies for the first three years and I wanted to share the link.


http://mountainflowerfarm.com/...
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
[Last edited by Mieko2 - Jan 3, 2021 6:54 PM (+)]
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Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Jan 3, 2021 6:57 PM CST
I know that it best to get rid of buds in the first few years, but it is such a pain to lose ability to enjoy flowers right after you bought a new eagerly anticipated plant! Especially for new variety which could be simply mislabeled. I probably will do it this spring with the newly divided roots though as I am sure what I have.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Dragonflies Butterflies Bulbs Birds Bee Lover
Annuals Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader
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LizinElizabeth
Jan 3, 2021 8:23 PM CST

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I don't know if it really makes an appreciable difference as long as the first yea plant doesn't produce a crazy amount of buds, I'll remove any more than 3. I actually had a first year plant produce 10 buds one year—I removed all but 3 because they wouldn't have made it to bloom, anyway.
LizB
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover
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anyagoro
Jan 3, 2021 8:48 PM CST
I leave one bud the first year, to enjoy and see if it is true to name. Peony farmers though have to disbud all peonies the first 3 years, it is a rule for them.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Jan 4, 2021 4:33 AM CST

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Anya, did you see the chart Walt had in the middle of the article? The difference is amazing!

LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
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ElPolloDiablo
Jan 4, 2021 6:34 AM CST
AlexUnder said:I know that it best to get rid of buds in the first few years, but it is such a pain to lose ability to enjoy flowers right after you bought a new eagerly anticipated plant! Especially for new variety which could be simply mislabeled. I probably will do it this spring with the newly divided roots though as I am sure what I have.


It really depends on how old/big the division you have bought is. To talk Itoh's, the two Bartzella I bought were really small divisions, meaning they needed bud removals for the first three years. But the Copper Kettle I was sold as "ready to go", without any need for bud removal.
It's obviously a matter of money: that Copper Kettle was twice as much as two Bartzella division. You get what you pay for.

I have been experimenting a bit with pruning with Japanese wood peonies. The results on a small Renkaku have been dramatic to say the very least but I will post the details this Spring, after it bloomed for the second time (if I don't hang myself first).
I also had to prune my gigantic Shima Daijin, but it had less to do with improving bud production and more with correcting severe growth problems. Lots of spindly growth and too unbalanced towards the South. We'll see how well it performs.
Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
-Charles Darwin-
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
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anyagoro
Jan 4, 2021 1:38 PM CST
LG, yes, I saw the table.
ElPolloDiablo, exactly, roots matter a lot. For peony farms, they use very small roots (at least what I saw and what was told at a conference I once attended), they need some time to grow feeding roots and save enough energy for bloom production. If we buy excellent quality large roots we don't need 3 years to wait, and we usually don't need to maximize bloom production in years to come. Of course we can choose one way or another. In Russia it is customary to disbud peony buds the first year.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Jan 4, 2021 3:20 PM CST

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Very interestingEl Pollo,
I look forward to seeing what your results are in 2021. You just have to take one day at a time to get through this craziness!

Anya, you do make a good point on the size of roots they plant. Much smaller than what we retail customers receive.

LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Jan 4, 2021 4:07 PM CST
I usually divide big ones if possible and leave at least one bud for identification for 1st year. But do not disbud after 1st year.
[Last edited by AlexUnder - Jan 4, 2021 4:08 PM (+)]
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Name: Top
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Peonies Dahlias Region: Missouri Seed Starter Zinnias Daylilies
Irises Hummingbirder
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Topdecker
Jan 6, 2021 8:42 AM CST
I suppose that I am 'farming' peonies, but without the benefit any hand-me-down knowledge or actual farm implements (or even power tools). So smaller scale and more hands on. I mean, I walk out and weed / fertilize each peony by hand and check on the health of each as I go.

I am not going to dig and divide a peony until I am satisfied that it is the correct variety and that means that it needs to bloom. Multiplying a mistake isn't going to happen if I can prevent it. That said, ground planted first year plants don't bloom well anyhow (this is true for both smaller and larger divisions) - I don't see much of a point of allowing them to expend the energy in what seems like an iffy result.

And by don't bloom well, I mean that they have difficulty opening, blooms with irregular shapes, smallish flowers, semi-double when they should be double, etc. The resulting flowers aren't necessarily very good at all for identification of the plants beyond the sigh of relief that I at least have the correct color. So if I've got 8-10+ peonies of a given type planted, I might allow the best of them to grow a bud just to see if the coloration matches - the rest of it will have to wait until the second year or maybe even the third year.



Top
The return of perennials in the spring can feel like once again seeing an old friend
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover
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anyagoro
Jan 6, 2021 12:19 PM CST
Top, sometimes I get a better flower from a newly planted peony than from the same plant next year. I guess it depends on a variety. For example, Amalia Olson (root from Adelman's) produced a perfect flower next year after planting and after 3 years its flowers are not developed to the same level. Maybe our climate is not for this variety, but the flower bud which developed in that very first flower was set in Adelman's field and gave a gorgeous bloom (I left only one bud). I still hope my Amalia Olson will develop and start showing perfect flowers as in that first year.
Name: Top
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Peonies Dahlias Region: Missouri Seed Starter Zinnias Daylilies
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Topdecker
Jan 6, 2021 12:49 PM CST
@anyagoro Yeah, I had a first year Lorelei produce a glorious bloom and I am hopeful for a repeat this year. I understand your eagerness to get back to a beautiful bloom - I probably went out and looked at that bloom 3 times a day :)

Top
The return of perennials in the spring can feel like once again seeing an old friend
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Jan 6, 2021 2:34 PM CST
Anya, I have same thing happened with my Salmon Dream, The flower was a huge very intense pink color with a shape like a saucer. I may dis budded it except one, so it could be a cause. 5 years later I do not have such color intensity or size. On another hand my Etched Salmons are outstanding even after multiple divisions during those 5 years. They were way smaller 1st year. It could be weather and climate for different cultivars that makes the difference.
I made Salmon Dream multiple divisions last year and planting them under different sun/shade conditions. See if there will be a difference.
Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
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SoCalGardenNut
Jan 6, 2021 4:05 PM CST
I'll take whatever I can get, no disbudding them, I guess I'm supposed to remove the first few fruits too, I never did.
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