Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

How to Germinate Tree Peony Seeds Successfully

A couple week’s ago the tree peony seeds I planted in mid March started to poke their heads up into the summer weather. For the most part the experiment seems like a success with pretty much a 90% healthy germination rate.  Tree peony seeds have a double dormancy you have to break in order to get them to sprout properly.  Peony trees rarely grow true to seed so these seedlings are bound to be something new.

A successful process for growing tree peonys from seed:

1. Collect fresh tree peony seeds from an establish plant. Seeds are most viable when fresh off the plant, I collected mine in mid November.
2. Place your dehusked peony tree seeds in a bag of wet vermilculite, and place it somewhere warm. Then forget about them.
3. In early March I looked inside the bag of vermilculite to find handfuls of sprouted seeds. (See the post earlier this season for more info)
4. Plant up into 2″ or 4″ pots with potting soil. Plant a more then 1 seed per pot if you’d like to increase your chances of success.
5. Keep moist, not drenched, and wait. Planted the sprouted seeds at the end of March, baby trees started to pop mid July. The seed’s second dormancy takes 3-4 months to poke their heads, maybe shorter if grown in a greenhouse.
6. Once seedlings are established, pot into bigger pots, 1 & 2 gallon should work just fine.
7. Wait 2-3 years as your peony matures, flowers only appear on established plants.

3 Responses to Growing Peony Trees From Seed: Success Story

  • Fay Patterson says:

    My mum have me a bunch of seeds, I didn’t know what for so eventually popped them in the ground and now have a peony seedling. So I’d still give your seeds a go!

  • Nichelle Isaacson says:

    I have seeds harvested from last fall that I have kept safe and dry, but I am just now discovering that I should have immediately put in the vermilculite. Is it too late? Should I start the process now? Any help here would be much appreciated. 🙂

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Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.