Peonies forum: Huang Jin Lun (Golden Wheel) Problem Child

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ElPolloDiablo
May 28, 2018 3:01 AM CST
Hi everyone. I come here seeking wisdom regarding this peony.

In late Fall 2013 I bought two traditional peonies in China: one Qi Hua Lu Shuang and one Huang Jin Lun. Both were bought from a reputable commercial grower, not some chap on Alibaba. Big Grin
The former started blooming in 2015 and has been going from strength to strength as it becomes larger and more established. The latter... has been dodging me for five years now.
It first bloomed in 2016 but has always struggled. It hasn't grown much over these five years and since it started blooming it also took the nasty habit of partially wilting as the season starts warming up, like now. This year it looks particularly bad but it's still alive as it sent out two extra stems. I can post some pictures if it helps.

What bugs me is not just that it's the only peony that has ever given me problems, but that in 2016 I planted two Bartzella's about 3 ft away on the same gentle slope and they have been doing very well. Too well actually, as they have grown to quite gigantic proportions, even for Bartzella's.

As said the peony is on a gentle slope of well draining soil. I followed the usual procedure I have always followed with peonies for planting and caring during the first few years. I've never lost a plant so far, be it an old European hybrid, an Itoh or a Japanese tree. You can understand my puzzlement.

I've read all sort of negative comments about the Huang Jin Lun, especially from commercial growers from The Netherlands and Germany, and so far I cannot but share this opinion. It seems that either the plant is really a handful or that we are missing something the few successful growers get right.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
I am just another white boy who thinks he can play the Blues.

littlebin
May 28, 2018 7:30 AM CST
"Huang Jin lun" is notorious for its difficulties to grow and survive.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 28, 2018 8:57 AM CST
I bought and planted this 3 falls ago. It died the following spring. It grew well in early spring and rapidly went into decline when it started to get warm and humid The crown rotted. I wonder if my climate is too humid for it. I did amend my bed with a great deal of sand to make it very well drain so I don't think it was my soil. Can I ask in what US state did you plant this peony?

ElPolloDiablo
May 29, 2018 2:35 AM CST
kousa said:I bought and planted this 3 falls ago. It died the following spring. It grew well in early spring and rapidly went into decline when it started to get warm and humid The crown rotted. I wonder if my climate is too humid for it. I did amend my bed with a great deal of sand to make it very well drain so I don't think it was my soil. Can I ask in what US state did you plant this peony?


I am an expat presently living in Europe, foothills of the Italian Alps. I'd put this place at around 8a in the USDA hardiness scale.

I've talked to both commercial growers and experts from all over Europe about this peony over these five years and their opinion has varied from "Nice piece of work" to "Dig it out and throw it in the garbage". That's fine, but why is this peony so hard to grow? Average temperatures? Air moisture? Soil quality? Parasites? That's why I wanted a second opinion from US experts.


I am just another white boy who thinks he can play the Blues.
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
May 29, 2018 6:59 AM CST

Moderator

I've heard it was fussy and in my climate, it wasn't worth trying, in my opinion. With so much peony beauty out there, I have chosen others over a "problem child". Surprised it is still in commerce with its difficult ways for so many.

I hope you find some answers. I wish I had them.
Tracey
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
May 29, 2018 11:54 AM CST
ElPollo,
Do you have enough of a stem to try to graft it to a more vigorous root stock? That may be what others have done to attain a better plant.

And if there is a pathogen in the roots of your original purchase this would bypass that.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.

ElPolloDiablo
May 30, 2018 11:30 PM CST
Mieko2 said:ElPollo,
Do you have enough of a stem to try to graft it to a more vigorous root stock? That may be what others have done to attain a better plant.

And if there is a pathogen in the roots of your original purchase this would bypass that.


There's still enough plant alive to have sent out a couple of stems. It may be worth a shot but the plant has to get to late October/early November because due to local climate I won't dig out a (living) peony before that date. Any idea on what rootstock may be well suited to grafting this plant or old Chinese varieties in general?

Thanks
I am just another white boy who thinks he can play the Blues.
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
Image
magnolialover
May 31, 2018 4:34 AM CST

Moderator

Any herbaceous rootstock will do for grafting. I dig out roots, without digging up plant to get a few pieces of root of some peony that is well settled in and the plant doesn't even notice.
Tracey
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
Image
Mieko2
May 31, 2018 1:14 PM CST
I would suggest that you use your best performing herbaceous peony in your garden. Try to make sure that the peony is not root adventitious. I believe we have a thread here about adventitious peonies.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Birds Dragonflies Ferns Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Jun 1, 2018 9:38 AM CST
I found and uploaded a photo of this pretty peony (my first upload of a Creative Commons photo!). Those who have had problems with growing this peony might want to add a comment to the database. I always read through the comments when researching a potential addition to my garden and find them quite useful.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

ElPolloDiablo
Jun 2, 2018 1:00 PM CST
Then I have Sarah Berhardt donor already lined up.

I have a picture or two of the plant in bloom and will upload it in the future (I need to download them from the phone). I've also posted a performance report just to let people know this plant is truly fussy.
I am just another white boy who thinks he can play the Blues.

ElPolloDiablo
Jun 11, 2018 2:47 AM CST
I've carried out the "surgery" the other weekend so it's time for an update.
I've put the two transplanted stems in a pot filled with earth and sand as I have no place in the ground to put them right now. One showed signs of strain yesterday and most likely won't survive, but the other seems to be doing fine so far.

I took the occasion to dig up the rootball and examine it. The crown was rotten dry apart from the bit which provided the two stems above while the deeper roots were spotless, no rot nor nematode knots. Weird, but well consistent with the "rotten crown" which seems to be the typical issue with this peony.

At this point I am wondering if perhaps this plant wouldn't benefit from a layer of inorganic mulch, such as gravel or lapilli, and perhaps some wide-spectrum fungicide applications. Something to try out if the transplants survive.
I am just another white boy who thinks he can play the Blues.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
kousa
Jun 12, 2018 7:22 AM CST
Thanks for sharing your experience with this fussy variety.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
Image
Mieko2
Jun 13, 2018 8:59 AM CST
Very interesting! I'm sure that adding gravel will not hurt. I am on the Swedish Peony Society Facebook page, and they do use gravel.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.

ElPolloDiablo
Jun 26, 2018 8:56 AM CST
Update.
One of the two trasplants died and was eliminated. The other is apparently still going strong and even survived a storm without damage.
I don't think there will be any update here for a while, so thanks to all those who contributed!
I am just another white boy who thinks he can play the Blues.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
kousa
Jun 26, 2018 9:39 AM CST
If you are successful in growing this variety, please share your experience and the medium you use to grow it in and the location that it is growing. I would like to try this variety again someday if I know what conditions are needed to make it survive and thrive. Thanks.

ElPolloDiablo
Jun 27, 2018 6:59 AM CST
kousa said:If you are successful in growing this variety, please share your experience and the medium you use to grow it in and the location that it is growing. I would like to try this variety again someday if I know what conditions are needed to make it survive and thrive. Thanks.


If both the peony and I will still be alive next Spring, happily so. Smiling

I plan to try a completely different location for it, but I think I'll stick to the sandy soil for the time being. It's an in-house preparation for potted plants that love a spotlessly drained, drier soil such as Lampranthus aurantiacus (Ice Plant).
I am just another white boy who thinks he can play the Blues.

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