Peonies are perfect late spring or early summer flowers, inviting all sorts of pollinators and bringing an explosion of color to your garden.
You can multiply the herbaceous varieties by division, while layering works best for tree types.
But did you know that you can enjoy the entire process, from seed to flower, by growing these beauties from their seeds?
Harvest the peony seeds, save money, get numerous plants, and test your gardening skills to the max.
Here are some tips to help you out!
Collecting And Sowing Peony Seeds
If you want to harvest peony seeds, you shouldn’t deadhead the spent flowers. If you do, you’ll have no seed pods left to collect.
Rather, leave a couple of flowers on your peony plants and allow the pods to turn brown and the seeds inside them to ripen.
Afterwards, you can follow this step-by-step guide to harvesting and sowing peony seeds.
Step 1. Seed pods are ready for harvest when they turn dark brown, usually at the end of August or beginning of September. Cut them with a pair of sharp and clean gardening scissors, just above healthy leaves.
Step 2. Break the pods with your bare hands and collect the large seeds. Black ones are viable, while red ones are unfertilized – not able to grow into a plant.
Step 3. Fill the nursery pots with slightly moist loam and sand, place the seeds on top of it, and sprinkle some growing medium over them.
Step 4. Place them in a small greenhouse or cold frame and wait until they germinate. It can take more than a year, so be patient and don’t throw them away thinking the process was unsuccessful.
Step 5. Once the seedlings get too large for their current planters, move them to a larger container or in the ground. Make sure they’re well-watered (but not overwatered), sheltered from winds, and have plenty of sunlight.
Note: You can sow peony seeds directly outside in a nutrient-rich soil, but know that this process may take even longer than indoor propagation. Make sure the soil is well-drained and cover the seeds with glass jars to protect them from harsh outdoor conditions.
Storing Peony Seeds
If you don’t want to sow your peonies right away, you can store them in paper envelopes to keep them viable.
Label the envelope, include the date, and store the seeds in a cool and dry place. Peony seeds can last for many years when stored this way, but they germinate best when they are fresh.
Warning: Don’t place them in plastic bags because they’ll sweat and remain moist, which will destroy your chances of getting new peony plants.
When To Expect Flowers When Growing Peonies From Seed
Don’t expect to see flowers within the first year of planting peonies. It may take 3, 5, or even 10 years for seed-grown peonies to produce blossoms, but they’re worth the effort.
The flowers will be equally as gorgeous (or even more beautiful) as the parents’ ones!
One thing that can help you is understanding peony growth stages because you’ll know when and with what to fertilize these plants.
If you want to speed up the flowering process, you can feed them with a sulfate of potash once a month starting in mid-spring until fall. Just make sure to water the plants afterwards to release the nutrient faster.
And once your seed-grown peonies start to blossom, you’ll be able to enjoy their cut flowers in your home without expensive trips to the florist.