Simple Guide to Grafting Tree Peonies

By magnolialover
September 8, 2013

Grafting tree peonies can be done from late August into September and is a great way to propagate this often rather expensive plant.

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Sep 7, 2013 8:56 PM CST
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Sempervivums Lilies Hybridizer
Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Pollen collector Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
And what a nice surprise to log on and see your article, Tracey. You explained the steps very well and I think even I could try doing this!
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Sep 8, 2013 7:09 AM CST
Name: Tracey
Midwest (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Tomato Heads Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Pollen collector Forum moderator Hybridizer
Plant Database Moderator Cat Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Seed Starter
Thank you. It was much less overwhelming than I imagined when I did it last year. Thought it might be fun for folks to try. If I can do it, really anyone can Smiling Hope you get to try it out. Thank you again.
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Sep 8, 2013 10:05 AM CST
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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What a terrific tutorial! Nice and simple to follow instructions! Thumbs up
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

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Sep 8, 2013 10:08 AM CST
Name: Tracey
Midwest (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Tomato Heads Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Pollen collector Forum moderator Hybridizer
Plant Database Moderator Cat Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Seed Starter
Thank you!
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Sep 8, 2013 12:29 PM CST
Lincoln, NE
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Really fantastic article ~ simple, clear and concise. Awesome Thumbs up
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
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Sep 9, 2013 11:20 AM CST
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
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Thanks, Tracey. Very straight forward and concise, and what everyone likes to see..... real answers that aren't ambiguous.

A few follow up questions:
---- 1. It seems like the time to do this is late summer? Any tips that signal the right window of opportunity?

---- 2. When grafting stem to stem, it is very important to match the cambium layers just under the bark of the two pieces. But the anatomy of roots versus stems is very different, and I wouldn't be surprised if this does not hold true. Apparently this is not important?

---- 3. Obviously, when you are planting in the outside bed, the soil is already moist. Do you water once before you place the sheet plastic over? White, clear or black plastic?
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers. - Socrates
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Sep 9, 2013 12:21 PM CST
Name: Tracey
Midwest (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Tomato Heads Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Pollen collector Forum moderator Hybridizer
Plant Database Moderator Cat Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Seed Starter
1)End of August through September and in warmer zones I have read you can go into October. The growth you cut off (scion) is showing for next years buds. These here are present in early August, at least. Each resource I have seen gives the same time table, without further explanation. It may be to schedule it during the normal "fall peony planting time" table that creates the window, allowing roots time to establish before cold ground sets in.

2)This part may be a specific I do not know or understand fully. This may be the reason for the 30%-50% success rate though.

3)I planted in moist soil and did not water in after planting. I was worried about the saturation of the grafts. The plastic I used was opaque and blue. I would choose white of those you listed. The main purpose is to protect from excess moisture. So I would think any thick plastic would do.

Thank you for your comments, Rick.
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Sep 20, 2013 5:29 AM CST
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b and Fl
I'm always on my way out the door..
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I haven't any tree peonies, but I'd still like to say that this is an excellent article on grafting! Thank you!

One more question: Do you plant these in a shady spot so that they don't cook under the plastic, or is that the reason for using opaque material?
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Oct 8, 2013 8:50 PM CST
Name: Dianne
Sacramento, CA, zone 9b
Bulbs Region: California Cut Flowers Peonies Plant and/or Seed Trader Vegetable Grower
Great tutorial. I may try some this year. I have to prune my tree peonies anyway since they tend to get scraggly, and I have some herbaceous peony that I need to thin out, so will have some rootstock. Will have nothing to lose except for time Hilarious!

I won't have the warm weather (70-80 degrees) for the grafts to heal, but maybe I can find a warm enough place for them somewhere. I notice that you use very short scions. Do I leave one or two eyes and that will be enough?
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Oct 9, 2013 7:20 AM CST
Name: Tracey
Midwest (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Tomato Heads Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Pollen collector Forum moderator Hybridizer
Plant Database Moderator Cat Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Seed Starter
Your grafting material rootstock should have no eyes. Eyes increase the chance of herbaceous rootstock coming up and taking nutrients from the tree peony grafts.

The taller the scion, the higher your chance of damage in the process. Most scion pieces will be shorter.
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Oct 9, 2013 1:32 PM CST
Name: Dianne
Sacramento, CA, zone 9b
Bulbs Region: California Cut Flowers Peonies Plant and/or Seed Trader Vegetable Grower
thanks!
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Aug 1, 2015 6:47 AM CST
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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I don't have tree peonies, but if I did then I could try grafting from your pictorial instructions.
Your article gives excellent directions in a very clear presentation. Thank you!
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Aug 1, 2015 7:01 AM CST
Name: Tracey
Midwest (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Tomato Heads Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Pollen collector Forum moderator Hybridizer
Plant Database Moderator Cat Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Seed Starter
Thank you Caroline. I've had pretty good success with this method that I learned from our local peony society. Many years we have a grafting class.
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