The tree peony (Paeonia x suffruticosa), or semi-bush peony, is a hybrid species belonging to the genus Peony of the peony family. There are scientists who are certain that they are not a species, but simply a group of different varieties and hybrid forms. To date, there are about 500 of them known. Most of them can be found in China. The tree peony was created by breeders in China.
But breeders in Japan have also been very enthusiastic about growing the plant since it first appeared on their islands during the Tang dynasty. In European countries, this plant appeared in the 18th century and was appreciated by professional and amateur florists alike.
Properties of tree peonies
The tree peony is a deciduous shrub that varies in height from 150 to 200 centimeters. The thick, erect shoots are colored pale brown. Unlike the herbaceous peony, the stems of such a plant do not wither in the fall, but grow more and more every year, and over time the bush becomes hemispherical in shape.
The ornamental, openwork leaves are twice pinnate. The flowers are placed at the ends of the stems and vary in diameter from 12 to 20 centimeters or more. These flowers come in swooping, semi-swooping and simple. They can be colored in white, purple, yellow, pink, crimson, and there are also bicolor ones. As they age, the blooms become more abundant.
The flowering of such a peony begins 2 weeks earlier than the herbaceous one, and its duration is 14-21 days. Such peonies are cold tolerant.
Tree peony.All the most important things about care and planting.
Tree peony species and varieties with photos
The various varieties of such plants are based on several species that are natural, namely yellow, Potanin, Lemoine and Delavey, which are directly related to the semi-shrub peony group.
Most of the registered varieties of such plants grow in the territory of China. These varieties are divided into 3 groups:
The flowers are very large and mahogany. They weigh quite a bit and are therefore drooping. The flowers can be colored in various shades from fuchsia to light pink.
The flowers are not very large and light.
They seem to float above the bush.
Created from the Delaway peony and the yellow peony, the yellow-colored varieties are the most popular.
The most popular varieties:
The rose-shaped inflorescences are colored in 2 colors, so, it has one half dark red and the other half creamy white. The floret reaches 16 centimeters in diameter.
The diameter of the light pink florets, having a dark crimson middle, is 18 centimeters.
About 50 flowers can open on a bush at the same time.
The crowned flowers are colored in 2 colors: white and salmon at the same time. They do not reach more than 20 centimeters in diameter.
The shape of the flowers is very spectacular and unique. It is a pale green bud.
Planting tree peonies
Planting tree peonies in the open ground is advised by experts from half of August until the last days of September. Before engaging directly in planting, it is necessary to choose the most suitable place. For this plant, you should choose a well-lit place, placed on a not very high elevation. There should not be any buildings or trees in the immediate vicinity, because they will block the sun. Tree peonies prefer loamy soil.
If it is sandy, you can correct it by adding humus, sod soil, clay, and peat. If the soil is clay, you need to make it organic fertilizer, as well as sand. The choice of location and soil is worth paying special attention to, because this type of peony can grow in the same place for several decades (about 100 years).
Tree peony white. Planting a tree peony in the fall.
When the ground water is low, the hole for the flower should be made in the shape of a cone. At the surface of the soil, the diameter of the hole should be 0.7 meters, its depth is also equal to 0.7 meters. Make a drainage layer with a thickness of 25-30 centimeters at the bottom of the hole, gravel, broken bricks or sand are excellent for this.
In sour soil should be poured lime or bone meal of 200 to 300 grams. After that, the soil is poured into a hole in the form of a cone and place the peony on it. Then in a hole poured a lot of water, in order to well unravel the peony roots. When the liquid is completely absorbed, it is necessary to pour such an amount of soil into the hole so that the root neck of the plant was placed at the same level with its surface. The distance between bushes should be about 150-200 centimeters.
Growing tree peonies from seed
If a tree peony is grown from seed, its flowers can be seen only in the 5th-6th year of life. Since these seeds have an underdeveloped germ, it is imperative that they be subjected to stratification. The seeds can not be stored for a long time, as they lose their germination. The stratification procedure has two stages. The first one is warm, and the second one is cold.
If you follow all the rules, it is still not possible for everyone to grow peonies from seed.
Care for tree peonies in the open ground
How to care
In case you do not know the care rules for this kind of peonies, it should be cared for the same way as for herbaceous. So, it should be watered in time and after this procedure it is obligatory to loosen the soil and remove weeds. Watering should be done once every 2 weeks, with 6 to 7 liters of water per bush. If the weather is hot and dry, increase the frequency of watering.
From August onwards, water each time less and less until it's stopped. When the plant is watered, the soil around the bush in a radius of 50 centimeters should be well loosened (the depth of loosening should not exceed 5 centimeters). Pull out all the weeds and cover the soil with mulch.
These plants just need a lot of nitrogen and potassium for good growth and development. When the period of intensive growth just begins, these plants need nitrogen fertilizers, and from the beginning of budding to the end of vegetation, tree peonies need large amounts of phosphorus and potassium fertilizers.
When the flowering period begins, the plant will need both phosphorus and potassium and nitrogen. But at the same time, do not forget that an excess of nitrogen in the soil can cause the development of gray rot. To avoid burning the root system with fertilizers, water the soil thoroughly before applying them.
Properties of pruning
Trimming must be done in the spring before the period of intensive growth begins. In doing so, the dried out stems must be cut back.
Old shoots should be cut back so that about 10 centimeters remain. Florists in China have learned how to rejuvenate the tree peony. To do this once every 20 years, they cut the shrub almost to the surface of the ground. This causes the adventitious buds at the very base of the stems to awaken. In order to make the flowering the following year more abundant, you need to prune the stems to the upper axillary bud.
How long your peony will live affects how well you prune it. These plants can live to a very respectable age, usually up to a hundred years or more. There are some in China that are over 500 years old and are protected by experts and by law.
Transplanting tree peonies
The peony is very negatively affected by transplanting. Thus, it happens that a very strong plant transplanted can be sick for several years because it is very difficult for it to recover.
During the transplanting procedure, you need to be very careful with the bush. So, it must be very carefully dug out together with a lump of earth, which is then gently washed off not very strong stream of water. Then you need to inspect the root system. If there are any rotten roots, they should be cut off, and the overly long ones should be shortened. It is necessary to treat the cut sites with a solution of manganese potassium (1%), and then sprinkle with crushed charcoal.
If necessary, you can divide the rhizome, thus multiplying the peony. To do this, stretch parts of the shrub by hand to the sides at the root neck. If there are cuts on the rhizome, they must be treated. Each of the seedlings should have roots and substitute buds (several of them). Before planting the pieces in the open ground, immerse them in a clay putty for 30 minutes.
Propagation of tree peonies
How to propagate by bush division
How to propagate a peony by bush division was explained above. Remember that only peonies that are over 5-6 years old can be divided, and this procedure must be done in August.
How to propagate by cuttings
Semi-woody shoots will be needed for cutting. They should be cut from the middle of June. There should be a bud itself, a leaflet and part of the stem wood on the cuttings.
The leaf plate should be shortened by ½ part. Prepare a container by filling it with peat mixed with sand. Then the cuttings are stuck into it to a depth of one and a half centimeters, and on top the container should be covered with transparent film or glass. The cuttings should be systematically watered, as well as moistened with a sprayer. In the last days of September, the cuttings should be transplanted into individual pots and placed in the greenhouse until spring arrives.
Once the plants begin to grow, they are ready for transplanting into open soil.
How to propagate by grafts
To propagate a tree peony by grafts takes a couple of years. In the days of May, before the bush begins to bloom, well-developed stems should be selected and an incision should be made on the side that faces the soil. Then it is treated with a product that stimulates root growth, and a peg is inserted into it. After that, the shoot should be bent to the surface of the ground and bury it to a depth of 8 to 10 centimeters.
While watering the bush itself, do not forget to moisten the soil over the shoot. In September the graft should already have small roots and can be carefully separated from the mother shrub and planted in open soil in a permanent position. To do this, make an incision on the stem and wrap it with moistened moss and film on top. It must be hermetically fixed. As a rule, stubs will grow by the end of the summer period.
This method of propagation, though very simple, is low in efficiency.
How to propagate by grafting
Propagating tree peonies by grafting
This method is the most highly effective and is widely used by experts. But the gardener can also propagate this plant by grafting. The root system of the herbaceous peony is used for grafting. To do this in the first days of August you need to cut cuttings from the tree peony with 2 buds.
At the bottom of the cuttings should be sharpened so that it becomes wedge-shaped. Then, according to the shape of this wedge, a groove is made in the rhizome of the herbaceous peony and the cuttings are inserted into it, which should enter very tightly. The graft should be wrapped tightly with foil. Then these rootstocks should be placed in a box, which should be filled with moistened sawdust. Put the box in the shade for storage.
After 4 weeks, the grafted rhizomes should be planted in a container so that the eye from below is at a depth of 5 to 7 centimeters. Then the container is transferred to the greenhouse. Grow such a peony from 1.5 to 2 years.
Pests and diseases of the tree peony
They are quite resistant to disease.
Peony bushes that are old or have recently been transplanted are the ones that get sick most often. Gray rot can kill a plant. To get rid of it, you need to treat the bush with a solution of manganese (1.5 g of agent per 5 liters of water). A solution of copper sulfate (6-7%) can also be used for this purpose.
However, before treatment begins, the affected shoots should be carefully cut off and destroyed.
Bushes can sometimes become infected with brown spot disease. Infected leaves should be cut off and destroyed to prevent further spread of the disease. The peony should then be treated with a 1% bordeaux solution.
Tree peonies after flowering
After flowering ends, cut back the flowering stems to the upper axillary buds so they do not take away from the bush.
In the fall before wintering, fertilization should be done. To do this, 200 grams of bone meal and 300 grams of wood ash should be added to the soil under each bush.
Preparing for wintering
Household Floriculture. Video. "Should Tree Peonies be Covered for Winter?"
As stated above, Tree Peonies are not afraid of frost, but they do need to be covered for winter.
The fact is that during thaws in the spring, the buds that are outdoors wake up and the peony begins to grow. However, frosts that follow the thaw can cause the death of this plant. In this regard, in October it is worth preparing the bush for wintering. To do this, you need to tie the stems and sprinkle the root circle with a layer of mulch (peat). After frosts begin, the bush should be covered, making over it a sort of shawl of dry leaves, lapnik and a fairly thick layer of fine bark.
Jute bags can be used for this purpose.