Peonies forum: Peonies wih good foliage throughout the growing season

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Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
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Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Nov 8, 2015 9:59 PM CST
Thanks Liz!

I hope Pink Hawaiian Coral and Sea Shell do well for you next spring! They both have beautiful blooms. I have 2 PHCs, one that was planted from a root in the fall of 2014, and it bloomed this past spring. I liked the blooms so much, when I found PHC as a potted plant in one of local nurseries, I couldn't resist, and had to buy it again.

Do any of your local nurseries carry potted peonies? The plants grown by Monrovia do very well here. I wonder if you were to try a potted Sea Shell or PHC vs roots, if they would do better? I know it's hard seeing your plants not do well because of lousy weather.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Nov 8, 2015 10:27 PM CST
I should have taken a picture of the my NOID peony foliage ( could be Victoire de la Marne or something different for all I know ) - it was all magnificent pink... Cut it a week ago... Others were not that great, but last year Festiva Maxima was nice bronze color.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
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LizinElizabeth
Nov 8, 2015 10:29 PM CST
Thanks Annette, I'm really not sure if the roots are even still there for either one or if they rotted away. I won't give up on either entirely. I will keep a close eye out for any sign of life in the spring and will have big pots handy, just in case! If not I'll get them replaced eventually and will be extra careful with them after. Most peonies are so close to indestructible that it's a bit of a shock to find those that fail. They're both nice enough to go through the extra effort to grow them here, though.

There are a couple of nurseries that carry a few peonies nearby, I've never seen Sea Shell or PHC there. Another peony enthusiast that lives on the other side of Denver told me about a nursery near her home that carries tree peonies, we're supposed to make a day of nursery visits next spring when they're in stock, that'll be a fun day!
LizB
Name: Teresa Felty Barrow
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
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bluegrassmom
Nov 13, 2015 7:27 AM CST
That sounds like a fun day outing, Liz. Hello, folks. I am new to the peony forum. Liz was very helpful in getting me started into collecting them Rolling my eyes.

Alex was Festiva M. bronze during the summer?
Bee Kind, make the world a better place.
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Nov 13, 2015 2:17 PM CST
Is starts to change colors in August here - depends on the weather.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Nov 13, 2015 11:39 PM CST
Hi Teresa, hopefully they'll do great for you! They're beautiful flowers and the foliage looks really good with daylilies after the blooms are gone.
LizB
Name: Teresa Felty Barrow
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Irises Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies
Region: United States of America Garden Photography Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Cat Lover Heucheras
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bluegrassmom
Nov 14, 2015 5:11 AM CST
I am looking forward to seeing them bloom. I am guessing they will not this coming Spring.
Bee Kind, make the world a better place.
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Nov 14, 2015 6:40 AM CST
Liz, I wish I had a nursery here that carried tree peonies consistently. Enjoy your day of visiting the nurseries next spring.

Teresa, welcome to the peony forum! Liz is right, daylilies are a wonderful companion plant with the peonies. I hope you get to enjoy the blooms from your new peonies soon.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 8a)
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Lalambchop1
Nov 14, 2015 9:17 AM CST
Hi Everyone,
Why are tree peonies so expensive?
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Nov 14, 2015 10:44 AM CST
Some of the more common ones aren't that expensive, Leslie. I don't grow them commercially so this is just my opinion of what I imagine the reason is, of course!
So most herbaceous peonies are propagated by root division. Most grow fast enough that they can be divided every 3-5 years and, under good growing conditions, probably produce a minimum of 3 saleable divisions each, probably more. The ones that produce more are typically the lowest priced herbaceous roots unless they're a really unusual color, new to commercial sales, etc. Tree peonies are typically propagated by grafting onto herbaceous peony roots--a much more labor and time intensive process. Tree peonies also mature more slowly than herbaceous so the wood necessary to create those grafts are more precious. The time investment alone in getting a tree peony large enough to donate multiple pieces for division is hugely longer than that invested in herbaceous propagation.
You can buy a bagged, tiny piece of the very most common herbaceous peony for around $5 but that piece won't produce flowers (probably!) for 3 or more years. That same variety potted and growing from a nursery with buds or blooms would be 5 times that amount. If you buy a root of that same type online the price will probably be $15-20, will probably have 3-5 eyes and at least one good sized feeder root and could bloom the spring after planting. The root necessary to produce a good tree peony graft would be that feeder root from the $15-20 herbaceous peony. Then the grower has to keep that graft going for a year or more before they can sell it. If you look around a 1 year old tree peony division can be anywhere from around $20 to over $100 depending on seller and variety.
There are plenty of unscrupulous sellers out there that will sell you what's supposed to be an expensive tree peony that ends up being a much more common, cheap variety once it blooms. The same thing for Itohs--you can pay top dollar for what's supposed to be a rare variety and end up with a common herbaceous. If you're new to peony buying it's worthwhile to do your homework and buy from reputable growers so you get what you pay for. You'll see factual reviews of sellers here on this forum. We even have picture of the roots we received for the last several years--if that's not good info for a new gardener I don't know what is! There are some reviews of tree peony growers as well, they just aren't as common as herbaceous growers. Most big growers at least offer some tree and Itoh peonies along with their herbaceous stock and are fine to buy from.
When you get your first tree peony bloom and it's actually the variety you wanted, selected because of a few pictures online, you'll see that it's worth the extra money for these amazing plants! The flowers in person are so much more wonderful than any picture can convey. And that tree peony is a longer than a lifetime investment with a lifespan as great as any ornamental tree that you place in your yard. I've seen plenty of posts on the peony forums where people have inherited both herbaceous and tree peonies from their parents, an amazing gardening legacy, don't you think?
LizB
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Bookworm Annuals
Roses Hostas Xeriscape Daylilies Aroids Region: Mid-Atlantic
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csandt
Nov 14, 2015 11:27 AM CST
Thank you, Liz, for your informative post. I have seen only two tree peonies in bloom (on the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology and in the gardens of Costal Maine Botanical Garden) and both were spectacular! However, I have avoided considering them for my own garden because I have the idea that they are fussy enough to require umbrellas! Would you mind commenting on that assumption (correct or incorrect)? What are some cultivars you would recommend to start out, based on beauty, ease of care, affordability and hardiness) for zones 6b and 7b? Thank you.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Nov 14, 2015 4:33 PM CST
CS, I don't have a lot of tree peonies, yet! The only ones I have that have bloomed so far are Phoenix White, Alice Harding and one that was supposed to be pale pink that bloomed white, can't remember the name. There are several members of this forum have lots of trees and the pics they post every spring are gorgeous. Take a look at the Blooms 2015 and the one about Northern Peony Blooms from around the same time, both started around April/May 2015, you'll see some beautiful flowers. And I would feel perfectly safe in betting all of my blooms next spring that they were even more amazing to see in person!
From my experience tree peonies can take more shade than most herbaceous so if you have an area that is in part shade or dappled shade they can handle that well, might actually prefer it in the warmer zones. Maybe a spot that's partially shaded by a tree later in the summer? And they should be planted deeper than herbaceous peonies, at least any that still have the herbaceous feeder root. If they're planted too shallow the herbaceous root can put up stems which could cause the graft to fail. They don't need to be pruned in the fall at all, a lot of the following year's growth actually appears on the woody stems. 2 of my Phoenix Whites died all the way back to the ground the last couple of years but put out entirely new growth so don't automatically assume it's dead if that happens to you. And no umbrellas are required! You'll find yourself getting more and more protective of your blooms, though. They're so pretty that it's a shame to have them fade quickly because of weather, I can see why people would be tempted to protect them. It just about breaks my heart to see how many blooms I lose to hail every year.
There are several members here who have 1st hand experience with multiple varieties so can probably steer you to the best varieties to try. I think it really depends on your color/shape preferences as to which you should start with. A recommendation would be Kinkaku--that one's a classic. Absolutely beautiful and pretty widely available, it's a double with a very distinctive yellow/orangey/pinky mix of colors. It's also known as Souvenir de Maxime Cornu. And tree peonies with Paeonia Lutea in their parentage have been known to rebloom in the fall! We actually have one member here who's posted pics of it happening for her (Kousa), I think it was Kintoh, a really pretty yellow. The yellows from that line are the only ones I've ever heard of that did that. I think you guys are in the same growth zone so you could have a chance at that as well! I'd be so ecstatic if that ever happened here....
Pam at Tree Peony Garden has been very helpful with info and her descriptions of the trees and their growing habits on their website is full of information to help you make a good choice. Her selection is getting sparse for the year, don't even know if she's still shipping, but here's the address if you want to take a look. Several people here have bought from her and have been very happy with the size and health of the roots. http://www.treepeonygarden.com...
LizB
Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 8a)
Keeps Sheep Daylilies Hybridizer Garden Photography Cat Lover Hummingbirder
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Lalambchop1
Nov 14, 2015 6:34 PM CST
Liz, thank you so much for taking the time to post all of that great information. Awesome!
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Nov 14, 2015 6:51 PM CST
You're very welcome, Leslie! I'll gladly talk about any gardening subject any day!
LizB
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Nov 15, 2015 12:44 PM CST
The only faults that I find in tree peonies are that they require a permanent location(it is very hard to move a mature tree peony) and their bloom season is very short. You wait a year and can enjoy the flowers only for a brief period of time. I think that is why people want to protect their tree peony blooms. But like Liz said, when you see them in bloom, you tend to forget all the hassle and wait. Esp. if the tree blooms in a good stretch of favorable weather, it is spectacular.

If you want instant gratification, it is best to buy a grafted tree peony with at least 3-4 stems of growth and has started to develop their own roots. You will most likely get flowers the following spring. If you buy a small tree (1-2 years grafted), it may take a few years to bloom though it is alot cheaper. The time it takes the tree peony to bloom from grafted is 4-5 years. Some that are vigorous can bloom in year 3 but I don't know those varieties. It takes years to get it to blooming size so hence the higher cost for a more mature tree.

@csandt, do you know Ken's Gardens in Smoketown in Lancaster? They do carry potted tree peonies for sale in spring. These are Japanese tree peonies that are sold by color. This past spring, they offered red, orange, yellow, pink and purple colored tree peonies. If names of varieties are not important to you, these tree peonies are a great deal. They are very reasonably priced at $39.99 a tree and they usually have a few buds. If you get them on Customer Appreciation Days, you will get 20% discount (but the buds have already finished blooming). I wish I found them before I ordered a bunch from places that I shouldn't. Now, I am out of space to plant any more tree peonies. If I have more space, I would like to get the orange one from them. I think it maybe Kinkaku.
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Bookworm Annuals
Roses Hostas Xeriscape Daylilies Aroids Region: Mid-Atlantic
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csandt
Nov 15, 2015 4:48 PM CST
Liz,

Thank you so much for the additional detailed and helpful information. I am just beginning to think about them (learning phase but not buying phase) and value the information you provided.

Karen,

Thank you too for the detailed information. Yes, I am a regular customer at Ken's Gardens and will certainly look for the tree peonies in the spring of 2016, especially the orange one that might be Kinkaku. That one sounds like an excellent starting point.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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magnolialover
Nov 15, 2015 5:50 PM CST

Moderator

Tree peonies are some if the world's nicest peonies. I attribute their cost to length of time it takes to grow from seed as well as grafting time and failure rate.

They do enjoy NOT being transplanted/ moved after planting. They would much rather be in a home garden than a pot at a nursery😊

The preferred time to plant them is fall, like all peonies. Spring planted do fine if planted after frost date. You would treat them as you would any newly planted perennial , making sure that they get at least 1 inch of water every week .

Tree peonies are definitely patience plants. The first couple of years you generally have few flowers but after three or four years they really start taking off.
Tracey
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Nov 15, 2015 6:15 PM CST
My pleasure, CS!
LizB

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