got a lovely pink tree paeony that now has a big seed pod. How and
when can I sow the seeds and will the plants have the same type
your tree paeony is a true species that has self-pollinated, any
seedlings you grow are unlikely to be exactly the same as the parent.
But you may still end up with some interesting plants and it would
be fun trying.
Leave the pod on the
plant for the seed to fully ripen, checking its progress regularly
over the next few weeks. When it looks as if the pod is splitting
open, or if it changes colour, cut it off and take indoors. You
could then open it by hand or place in a warm dry place to open
Ripe tree peony seed
is usually about pea-size with a hard dark-coloured seed coat. Successfully
germinating them can be tricky as they can have a rather complicated
inbuilt dormancy factor that needs to be overcome. I recommend you
try three different techniques.
First the simple approach.
Take a few seeds and sow them in a pot of seed raising mix and place
it outside in a sheltered shady spot where the seeds will be subjected
to the normal high and low temperatures of autumn and winter. Make
sure the mix stays moist.
Secondly, use a craft
knife to knick a small hole in the hard seed coat of some of the
remaining seeds. Be careful not to cut your fingers! Then sow them
and treat in the same way as the first ones.
With the rest, nick
the seed coat and soak them in water overnight. Then mix them with
some moist sand in a sealed plastic container, and put in the fridge
for 4-6 weeks. Then sow as before and place in a warm, sheltered
spot such as a window sill, making sure the mix doesn't dry out.
Be patient, they could
take many weeks to germinate. When the seedlings are large enough
pot them up into individual pots for planting in the garden later.
Seedlings take quite a few years to mature so you'll have to wait
patiently to see what colour the flowers turn out to be. Good luck
- let us know how you get on.
Gardener, Issue 139, 2004, Page 27
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.