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How to Propagate Peonies (Via Seeds or Division)

How to Propagate Peonies (Via Seeds or Division)

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The peony plant is a gorgeous flowering plant that is popular in many parts of Asia, Europe, and Western America. The plant has several species that can be distinguished, and scientists usually disagree on the exact number.

Some believe that it’s around 25, whereas some scientists say that the number is 40. In general, most scientists believe that there are 33 species in the genus.

Like many other hybrid plants, the peony is quite popular at homes. It adds a touch of color to the garden, and it also looks pretty unique, making it one of the best choices for growing at home.

When you talk about the flowers, there are hardly any other plants that can beat out the peony.

It’s hardy and deciduous, and gives off wonderful blooms. In fact, some of the flowers can grow as big as dinner plates! Needless to say, most people who have peony plants love them, and often look for different ways by which they can propagate the plant too.

But, you need to understand that propagating the peony plant isn’t as simple as you might think.

How To Propagate Peonies (Via Seeds Or Division)

There are specific conditions that need to be met. Most people already know that because of its hybrid nature, the peony plant doesn’t breed true once the seeds are planted.

What this means is that the plant that grows from the seeds will not be similar to the parent plant.

However, this might actually work in your favor, because it can help produce some fantastic color variations and add new style to your garden. More importantly, you might end up discovering color variations in the peony that haven’t even been seen before!

However, this plant requires a considerable amount of patience: it can take up to five years for the plant to fully settle in its new environment and bloom.

Obviously, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience to see a plant grow from a small seed and eventually bloom. The plant grows best in zones 3 and 8 as designed by the Department of Agriculture, and it is known to have a little bit of success in zones 2 and 9 as well.

See my tips on Peony Care After Blooming to encourage more flowers.

Propagating via Seeds

One of the simplest ways to propagate the peony plant is to use the seed method. Seed pods are usually going to appear on the plant once it has matured and is doing well.

You need to make sure that you cut the seed pods from the peony plant when they have turned brown. The seed pods will also take on a leathery appearance.

By this point, the seed pods will also begin to break on their own, so it’s going to make it quite easy for you to gain access to the seeds inside.

Once you break open the seed pod, you need to put the seeds in a cup or glass of water. Then, pour water inside until the cup is at least halfway full.

You will notice certain seeds come up to the top and begin to float. These are the sterile seeds, and aren’t going to grow.

It’s an efficient method of figuring out the seeds that have the highest chance of growing, and getting rid of the ones that aren’t going to bring about any results. You need to skim off the seeds, and then get rid of them. The viable seeds can then be planted.

Now, you need to take a conventional zip lock bag, and fill it up halfway with vermiculite. If you don’t have that, you should consider using a soilless potting mixture instead.

Once you put that in, add a bit of water into the mix to moisten it properly. Be wary when adding the water; you don’t want to add so much that it begins to appear at the bottom of the bag.

Finally, add the peony seeds into the bag, and mix it properly. Seal the bag up, and leave it in a spot where it’s going to get average room temperature, usually between 65 and 80 degrees F. Also, avoid handling the bag and don’t disturb the plant.

You will have to observe the bag on a weekly basis to determine if it is growing any roots or not. It is going to take around a few months for the plant to start sprouting roots.

Once the seeds begin to sprout, you need to keep the bag in the vegetable drawer in your fridge. This chilling process is known as stratification, and it brings about the same effect that the seeds go through when they are planted out in nature.

Once the seeds have chilled for a certain period of time, you can then plant them in the garden and they are going to grow on their own.

By Division

White Peony Flowers

You can also propagate herbaceous peonies simply via the division method. To do this, you will first have to cut the foliage back from the plant, and then use a garden fork to lift it up.

You will have to get rid of as much of the garden soil as you can first, and then use a conventional pair of garden shears or a garden knife to remove sections from the crown.

Ideally, you should ensure that each of the sections that you cut have a healthy amount of roots, and there should be at least three or four buds. There’s no need to wait around; you should plant them in your garden right away.

The plant needs a suitable soil to grow in, so as long as you plant it in the same garden, the chances of success are quite high.

These are just a couple of ways by which you can propagate the peony plant. It is going to require a bit of patience on your part, but the results are definitely going to be beautiful.

The plant will look wonderful in any garden setting, and it has some of the best blooms and flowers that you are ever going to lay your eyes on!

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Thursday 21st of April 2022

Regarding propagating via seeds. You stated: Once the seeds have chilled for a certain period of time, you can then plant them in the garden and they are going to grow on their own. What is the "certain period of time" time period?


Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Hi Karla, Sorry for the delay in getting to your question! It's a good idea to chill the seeds for an entire season to mimic winter.

Happy Planting! Lisa