Table of contents:
- All the tricks of growing peonies from seeds
- Why peonies are rarely grown from seed
- Physiological features of seeds
- The choice of planting material
- Germinating peony seeds at home
- Growing and caring for seedlings
- Planting seeds in open ground
- Growing peonies - video
Video: Growing Various Types Of Peony From Seeds
All the tricks of growing peonies from seeds
Peonies are extremely common in garden plots. The popularity and charm of plants are due to their relative unpretentiousness, good survival in severe winters and, of course, the appearance of flowers, amazing aroma and a variety of shades. The most common reproduction of peonies is by dividing the bush. But you can also get flowers from seeds that will delight you every summer. Cultivation has many subtleties, but it is very interesting to wait for the result of your own selection work.
- 1 Why peonies are rarely grown from seed
- 2 Physiological features of seeds
3 The choice of planting material
3.1 Seed boll - video
4 Germinating peony seeds at home
4.1 Stages of stratification
4.1.1 Conducting Stratification - Video
5 Growing and caring for seedlings
- 5.1 Step by step planting process
- 5.2 Care of young peonies
- 6 Planting seeds in open ground
- 7 Growing peonies - video
Why peonies are rarely grown from seed
The propagation of peonies by seeds is quite rare among amateur gardeners. And there are objective reasons for this. The main thing they are guided by when purchasing peonies for their site is the beauty of flowers. Therefore, hybrids specially bred by breeders are selected. Their significant disadvantage is the exact preservation of the appearance of flowers only when the bush is multiplied by division.
The doubleness of a peony is not preserved when propagated by seeds
However, in hobby gardening, purity is less important than beauty. Most of the seedlings obtained from seeds give interesting results. In this way, wild peonies can also be propagated, for example, evading or thin-leaved ones.
Some varieties do not bear fruit at all, hence the seeds are missing. These include, for example, Madame Forel, Marchal MacMahon, Montblanc, Celestial. To a greater or lesser extent, this applies to all double and lactic-flowered peonies, which, if they give seeds, then in very small quantities.
But even if you have collected the seeds, what will grow from them will only remotely resemble the original bush. Most of the varietal traits, especially the doubleness of the petals and the brightness of the shade, will disappear. This is not to say that the flowers will be ugly, but they will definitely be completely different. And to evaluate the result, you have to wait at least five years.
Reproduction of peonies by seeds requires certain skills. This is a rather complicated and time-consuming procedure with many nuances. But all the difficulties, inconveniences and long wait pay off when you see flowers that you personally bred.
Physiological features of seeds
A characteristic feature of peony seeds is low germination, which is due to the presence of an underdeveloped embryo that poorly absorbs nutrients and trace elements necessary for germination from the soil, and a dense shell. It is very good if about half of what you have planted will germinate. Of the seedlings obtained, about a fifth of them have decorative properties.
Another difference is the low enzymatic activity. This means that in the first year after sowing, a very small number of seeds will germinate if they are planted immediately in open ground. Most will rise in the second summer. If you breed tree peonies, there are often cases of seed germination in the third or even fifth year. Therefore, in order to "deceive" nature, stage-by-stage stratification is used.
This property of seeds is transferred to seedlings. They grow very slowly, adding several leaves per year. They begin to bloom 5-7 years after planting in the ground (depending on the variety).
The choice of planting material
If you do decide to grow peonies from seeds, start collecting them when they are not yet fully ripe. Otherwise, they "go into hibernation." It is almost impossible to get them out of this state and make them germinate.
Fully ripe peony seed box
The optimal time for harvesting is from the beginning of the second half of August to the end of the first decade of September. If you wait longer, there is a danger of being damaged by rot, mold and other fungi.
The peony fruit is a multi-layered light green (lighter than the leaves) leaflet of a complex shape, reminiscent of a star, at this time begins to diverge along the "seam". Be sure to wait for this moment. Unripe seeds will definitely not sprout. Do not cut all flowers from the bushes to form the leaflet. Leave at least 7-8 pieces.
The seeds themselves are colored in all shades of yellowish-beige or light brown, have a glossy sheen. The shape is round, and the shell is slightly elastic, soft and smooth to the touch. The size, depending on the variety, is 5–10 mm. The tree peony has the largest seeds.
Depending on the type and specific variety, the seeds look slightly different in appearance.
If you buy seeds from a store, it is obvious that they have already been there for a long time, the shell has hardened. It will be more difficult to germinate them. If the shell is also very wrinkled, refuse to purchase. The seeds have lost a lot of moisture, the germination percentage will be very insignificant.
Ask where the seeds come from. The further away the place of origin, the less likely they are to ascend. Moreover, they are adapted to local conditions. Consider whether the flowers will survive in your area.
Seed box - video
Germinating peony seeds at home
In order to "deceive" nature and get a high germination rate next spring, seeds are germinated at home, using an artificially created temperature difference - stratification, simulating the change of seasons
Before planting, soak peony seeds in settled water at room temperature for 2-3 days. It is even better to use a growth stimulant for this (the most popular are Epin, Rostock), having prepared a solution according to the instructions, or a strong solution of potassium permanganate (the color should be saturated, ink-violet). This is especially true of store-bought specimens with a shriveled hard shell and seeds of tree peonies.
Stages of stratification
Stratification can significantly increase the germination and survival rate of peonies
Stratification takes place in several stages. It is important to adhere exactly to the time frame and all the recommendations given. This creates:
- the best conditions for the ripening of the seed;
- a high probability of the appearance of roots;
- correct development of seeds into seedlings;
- proper growth of peony bushes after planting in the ground.
Phases of stratification:
- Warm phase.The seeds are planted in shallow containers filled with very moist heated sand or soil and sand in equal parts (if you squeeze it in a fist, water should ooze). Use a conventional oven or microwave for heating. By the way, such a procedure is also an additional disinfection of the soil. If the weather permits, simply put the warming containers outside or in the greenhouse. Then they are covered with plastic or glass to create a greenhouse effect. Good lighting and extra warmth are a must. You can use a special electric heating pad or a conventional heating battery. The optimum temperature is about 15 ºС at night (put it outdoors while the weather permits, then use a glazed balcony or loggia) and 25-28 ºС during the day.Do not overdry the seeds - spray the soil with a spray bottle every day (the soil should stick together into a lump when squeezed). Ventilate them at least once a week to avoid mold.
- Cold phase. After about two months, when the root appears, the plants dive, pinching the tip slightly. They are transplanted one at a time into fertile soil. It is best to buy ready-made soil in the store. Peat tablets are also a good option. The containers are removed to a room with a temperature of 6–12 ºС. If there is enough space, even a refrigerator is suitable, if it is not often opened so that there are no sudden changes in temperature.
- Warm phase. Seedlings should spend three to four months in the cold. When you see the first leaf, bring them back into the room and store them at room temperature (18-22 ° C) until they are planted in the ground (in early August). Cover them again to maintain constant moisture.
The stage of cold stratification can be shortened by treating the plant in the area of the hypocotyl (the section of the stem directly under the cotyledons) with a 0.01–0.025% solution of gibberellic acid. It is a natural growth hormone of organic origin, widely used in professional breeding to increase seed germination. A piece of bandage or a cotton pad is moistened in it and applied to the indicated place for a day. Processed seeds are covered with glass jars or the bottom of cut plastic bottles. If after 7-10 days no kidneys are observed, the procedure is repeated, gradually increasing the concentration of the solution, but no more than three times.
A less common variant of stratification looks like this:
- Cold phase. Immediately after harvesting, place the seeds in the freezer for two months.
- Warm phase. It also lasts two months. Take out the seedlings, plant them in small containers and put them in a warm place, providing light and, if necessary, additional heating.
- Cold phase. In the fall, dig up the garden bed in advance, making shallow trenches (about 10 cm) 10-15 cm wide in the ground, and cover with plastic wrap. After the specified time has elapsed, shovel off the snow, place the containers with the seedlings in the trenches, fill the gaps between them with peat, needles or sawdust and wait for the shoots in spring.
Stratification - video
Growing and caring for seedlings
Step-by-step planting process
Seedlings are planted in a permanent place in the second decade of August. The planting scheme is usual, the distance between future bushes is about 50 cm for dwarf varieties and 80-100 for all others.
- Drainage is placed on the bottom of the prepared pit - expanded clay, brick chips, small ceramic shards, pine needles and so on.
- To half of the earth from the pit, 200 g of simple superphosphate, potassium sulfate and dolomite flour are added, mixed and poured back. The rest of the soil is mixed in equal parts with compost.
- Then the plant is placed in the hole so that the root collar is at the level of its upper edge, and covered with earth to the brim.
- To stimulate root growth, you can sprinkle with heteroauxin or sodium humate (respectively, two tablets or one ampoule per 10-liter bucket).
At the end of May, if the climate permits, you can temporarily plant peonies in a bed with light, loose soil, located in a slightly shaded place, deepening by 1–2 cm. Level it and cover it with sawdust to prevent weeds. Peonies love the cool morning sun, but not the midday heat. The ideal place is in the shade of a spreading tree, on the east side.
Care of young peonies
Seedlings do not tolerate soil with high acidity. To neutralize it, use dolomite or bone meal, wood ash.
The main enemy of peonies is rot, so the seedlings should be regularly sprayed with a 0.05% Bordeaux liquid solution (50 ml per 10-liter bucket) or another fungicide from a spray bottle, at least once every 2-3 weeks.
It is also useful during the summer to feed with a solution of cow dung or complex fertilizers (Fertika-Lux, Rainbow, Reasil, Dobraya Sila, Kristalon). But in accordance with the frequency recommended by the manufacturer. An excess of fertilizer is even worse than a lack of fertilizer. The optimal interval is once every 7-10 days.
A pale green or greenish-yellow tint of the leaves is evidence of a lack of nitrogen. In this case, feeding with ammonium nitrate will help. Be careful not to get the substance on the leaves. Water the plant immediately with clean water.
Peonies need rare but abundant watering
Watering is no less important - twice a month, but plentiful. It is performed not at the root, but along the edge of the garden bed or holes made between the rows of plantings. Loosening the soil at the roots contributes to oxygen exchange and the correct formation of the root system.
The normal development of a seedling looks like this:
- Until the end of summer, before landing in a permanent place - one continuous sheet, without the characteristic irregularity. In favorable weather conditions - two. When transplanting, the main root stands out clearly and has a thickness of about 1 cm or slightly less. A bud must appear in the leaf axil.
- In the second year, mainly roots grow. The maximum number of leaves is 3-4. The stem is short, no higher than 15–20 cm. But the number of buds increases. The norm is 6-8 pieces.
- The third summer - one or two shoots 35–45 cm high. Each has 3–4 normal leaves. It is already clear that these are peony leaves. The root system is deprived of a clearly defined main root. The number of buds in comparison with the previous year doubles, their length is about 2 cm, and smaller buds are formed in the sinuses.
Planting seeds in open ground
If you decide to plant peony seeds in the ground, you need to do this almost immediately after collection, setting aside no more than 3-4 days for drying to prevent them from drying out and hibernating
Light loamy soils are ideal for planting peonies.
This method is recommended for the southern regions, where winter comes in accordance with the calendar. In this case, the seeds will also undergo a two-stage stratification, but in a natural way. The first stage lasts during September, when the temperature is kept at the level of 15–25 ºС, the second is in October and November, when it does not fall below 5–10 ºС. In more severe climatic conditions, the seeds will freeze in the ground.
The garden must be prepared in advance. It must be dug deeply, removing stones and weeds. The best soil is light loam. If it is heavy - clayey, peaty, or silty, humus, river sand and compost are additionally added during digging. You need half as much sand as the rest of the ingredients. For 1 m², you will need about two buckets of such a mixture.
- Dig a shallow wooden box into the garden bed or mark the planting site in another way, for example, with plastic or slate borders, because most of the seeds will not germinate next summer. You may simply forget the exact landing site. And in this case less land will be needed.
- Planting depth - 3-5 cm. Moisten the soil well beforehand.
- In late October or early November (before the first frost), plantings must be protected from winter cold. Spruce branches, straw, sawdust, fallen leaves, and so on will do.
- About a third of the seedlings will appear next spring. The rest - a year later. Care consists in the usual procedures - loosening, watering, feeding, weeding out. The most important thing is to provide enough moisture, the soil should be moist at all times.
- By the end of August, the resulting seedlings can be transferred to a permanent place. Be careful when transplanting, try not to damage the thin roots. It is best to remove the plant with a lump of earth around the roots.
You can use a combined method
- Plant the seeds in a box in the fall and leave them outside for the winter.
- In early March, place the container in a warm room and keep it at room temperature until May.
- In May - June, when the night temperature is stable at 15 ºС, plant it in the ground.
Growing peonies - video
Growing peonies from seeds is a rather laborious process. In addition, it takes a long time to wait for results. But the bushes obtained in this way are better adapted to the weather conditions of the given area and show a higher survival rate compared to cuttings purchased from the store. The main thing is that a unique plant will grow in your garden, which is not found anywhere else.
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