Peony Seeds

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Cockcroft
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-27

I've been growing peonies from seed exchange offerings for several years.  I sow them in a pot and then like Trond put them outside and let the weather do its best.  Some that I've had good luck with include P. mlokosewitschii, suffruticosa, mascula, emodi, lutea ludlowii, obovata, tenuifolia, delavayi, and witmanniana.  All are lovely but very slow to flower from seed.  And one is not so lovely, but a favorite of mine anyway, P. brownii.  The biggest problem is finding spots in my garden to plant them out.

It is my experience that patience can be rewarding.  I also remember that some seeds wanted to pop out of the soil, so vigilance in re-burying them is important.  :)

Claire Cockcroft
Bellevue, Washington Zone 7-8

CScott
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-23

Now that is encouraging!
I am wondering about the info above that old seeds germinate less readily.
Deno suggests otherwise?  Well--- that one year of dry storage improves germination?
Dr. Deno also suggests that GA-3 may help?
Any thoughts on that?

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

CScott wrote:

I am wondering about the info above that old seeds germinate less readily.
Deno suggests otherwise?  Well--- that one year of dry storage improves germination?

I think it comes down to planting them and finding out... If you have enough seeds of the same kind, you could try GA-3 on one batch and compare with the other batch?

Not specific to peonies, but I think a lot of seed behavior is much more species-dependent than one would guess - that different species within a genus may act differently, and so even categorizing behavior by the genus may often be too broad - and Deno's work found lots of example of that.   
He also found that dry storage of seeds of certain species (again not necessarily specific to peonies) actually enhances germination by breaking down germination inhibitors, which goes against the sweeping statements that one often hears or reads about the uselessness of "old seeds".  Fascinating stuff.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I haven't tried old peony seeds but I have grown nice plants from 10 years old dry-stored (not cold) tomato seed. Excellent germination ;D

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Yes, I've seen that too...  tomato seeds have terrific longevity!

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Tomato seeds survive the city's sewage treatment, too.  :o

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

RickR wrote:

Tomato seeds survive the city's sewage treatment, too.  :o

Of course, it's the way they are dispersed in nature ;)

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Peter George
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-03

Just to restart the Peony germination thread, I'd like to know as many different methods of handling mature, dry peony seed. I've been out in the garden these past few days, and I've collected a few dozen seeds from several different species, and I'd like to get something more than an empty pot! I've got GA3, but have never used it with peony seeds. Can I give them a boiling water bath? Should I scarify them? Use hydrogen peroxide? Soak them in water overnight? Some of the above? All of the above? Thanks in advance.

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

Longma
Longma's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2012-11-19

I have used the following method in the past Peter and been rather successful.

Paeonia sp. seeds are doubly dormant. Sow and expose to winter cold or chill for a couple of months before sowing. Roots develop during the first year. The seeds then need a second period of cold before the shoots appear. 

I've never had to resort to GA3 etc., although I'm not saying that these methods won't work, smiley.

Hope you'll show us your results.

53.69° N, Dedicated to West Coast Fritillaria, plus three other members of the subgenus Liliorhiza. I grow other Genera, as time permits !

paulhschneider
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-20

Germinating peony seed..

In the past I've had problems germinating peony seed from the Seed Exchange. Jim Waddick gave me a tip that really helps: Plant the seed in a pot buried to the rim in a place in the garden where you won't lose it. I cover the pot with a piece of mesh cut from a sheet of metal lath( purch from Lowe's, Home Depot) which allows rain & weather to pass through but keeps out the squirrels & chipmunks. I've used clay pots with the bottom knocked out to allow ground moisture into the pot. I suppose a plastic pot with the bottom removed would be just as good.I'm sure it would help to water the pots if you encounter a dry spell. Leave the pots in the ground through  a full winter & germination will occur the following spring. I have had good success with this method. I  think the clay pot allows more even contact with the surrounding soil moisture and more closely imitates natural conditions. 

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