When do peonies start to show growth in zone 6?

Leacock-Leola-Barevi, PA(Zone 6b)

I am new at peonies. I bought and planted some peonies this past fall. Does anyone have any experience as to when peonies begin to show growth in the spring for zone 6 in PA? I am anxious as well as excited and hope my peonies survive the winter.

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

Zone 5 here so you would be earlier than me about 2 weeks. I usually see growth on my tree peonies end of March and from the herbaceous peonies by the first week of April, but my plants are established and used to the area. I would give your new plants until the end of April to be safe.

Leacock-Leola-Barevi, PA(Zone 6b)

Thank you for your response. I guess I have quite a bit of time before they come along yet.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

My timing is about the same as Cybrczch. My trees bloom about June 25

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

You are probably similar to me. You can often see buds in the axils of tree peonies in early March, depending on the winter we've had. The photo is the tree peony on March 20, 2012, and it had small growth buds for at least a month. It is a whole lot different for herbaceous peonies They all sprout at different times, and the double peonies are the last to sprout. They look like little red points and then little red trees. Some of the Japanese peonies can be a foot tall before the others have sprouted, and it may have to do with the amount of sun and warmth in that spot more than the variety of plant.

Those little red points are such harbingers of spring! I had a bad month where I was ill last March and took very few photos so the others are from earlier years.

Quite frankly, peonies love winter and most need several weeks of below 40 degrees in order to bloom, so I wouldn't worry about losing them. If this is a new plant with a small root and few eyes, don't expect much the first year. Or even the second. Peonies are working hard underground forming a root system that is woody and huge. I hope you planted herbaceous peonies no deeper than 1 inch below the soil where the eyes are.

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Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

With today's warmer weather, I took a walk around to the tree peonies, Sure enough they have already started growth: first week in February! Just little red buds, definitely showing life!

Considering that we are expecting snow this week, it is probably the last opportunity to do an inspection.

Leacock-Leola-Barevi, PA(Zone 6b)

Hi Cathy. Your information has been very helpful. Thank you! Do tree peonies grow a month before herbaceous peonies? I bought one that I planted after Christmas. Would that delay them from budding?

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

My tree peonies tend to bloom about a month before the others. If you look at my photo above, those are actual buds in the early stage. They are kind of fun to watch as they bud fairly early, but the buds don't open for quite a while. Tree peonies don't have buds that look like big marbles; instead they are pointed, more like a rosebud. I guess the reason they take so long to grow is that they tend to have large blooms. It may depend on the age as to when it will bud and bloom. Our trees were here when we moved in and are pretty hardy. However, lovely as they are, they do not produce a lot of blooms.

The only other thing I can guarantee is that it will undoubtedly rain when at least some are in bloom. You have never been entertained until you have seen a peony bloom with a plastic bag on its head!

Kansas City, MO

Like many things peonies will flower when they are ready. Each season for me is different. Some years I have tree peonies blooming after the regular ones and other years finished by the time the first early blooming herbaceous start.

The bloom buds actually start showing in June esp where the the new branch will becoming out from where the leaf hits the trunk. The terminal buds will form at the same time but they seem to encase themselves with protective material.

Thumbnail by ah3815 Thumbnail by ah3815 Thumbnail by ah3815
Leacock-Leola-Barevi, PA(Zone 6b)

ah3815, thanks for showing photos of your tree peony. The brown spots on the stems, is that normal for a tree peony? That looks like blackspot on my roses stems. Does blackspot affect tree peony?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I kind of wondered the same thing

Kansas City, MO

Normal coloration for mine. I think if you take a close look at yours you will see the same thing. This is Oukan and it has fuzz on some the leaves and stems where it has been washed off the stems show green bottoms darker.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

We have 4 tree peonies planted in the same location, so they bloom at approximately the same time. All four have woody stems that should never be clipped.

I was wondering if Oukan is actually an intersectional (Itoh). I purchased one last February at the flower show and planted it but have no experience with them. The tree ponies are in bloom usually a few weeks earlier than the herbaceous, I firmly believe that the actual blooming has more to do with the location for sunlight and climate than anything else.

Haha, we now have a foot or more of snow on the ground, so I guess they are finally getting watered. Good thing I checked on them last week and sorry now there was no camera handy. I find the best way to keep track is to take many photos with dates to refresh the memory. Herbaceous peonies are known around here as the Memorial Day flower, and that should give you a good hint.

Other than the tree peonies and double peonies that were here when we moved in, I purchased almost all the others at Costco as small roots, and they took about 3 years before blooms were plentiful. A few planted on the north side of the house grew but never bloomed, so 2 winters ago we dug them up and found they had a nice large, woody root system, much larger than ever expected. Their new home has a lot more sun, and they are happily blooming.

When you see herbaceous peonies poking through the soil, you can pretty much expect one bloom for each little red point you see. It is the main stalk from the eye. When you purchase peony roots, the price is generally dependent on the number of eyes, which is probably why we waited about 3 years for good blooms.

In looking at last year's post, after an easy winter, there was an early single peony:
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/fp.php?pid=9128457
These are all different varieties, but located in the same garden:
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/fp.php?pid=9139325

As ah3815 says, the flower when they are ready. Always be happy when you see ants on herbaceous peonies.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Here are a few progressive photos of my tree peony KamataNishiki take in 2010 starting around June 22. There is snow about 1.5" deep outside the burlap surrounding the woody stem.

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Kansas City, MO

Oukan is a tree peony not an intersectional. It does have an interesting fall foliage and I purchased two additional to see which is the more normal. Both of the plants in the foliage picture are Oukan's which bloom identical, similar rate of growth but totally different fall foliage. The bronze colored one develops thick leathery leaves where the green foliaged one retains regular tp foliage. It will start to turn bronze if the leaves are still on in early November but not before that.

If you have wondered why you sometimes purchase the same plant from different excellent suppliers but they turn out similar but not the same. If I was going to sell peonies I would select the bronze foliaged one to be proprogated and sold. But which is the norm? Attempts to contact the original hybridizer have been in vain. Someone could select the green foliaged. Then two different plants with the same name would be in commerce. Of course this is just a thought and may not have anything to do with reality.

Thumbnail by ah3815 Thumbnail by ah3815 Thumbnail by ah3815
Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Mary, I love your photos. It really helps to see the process.

AH, the bronze leaves are very pretty. I purchased a yellow tree peony last year and hope itis as nice when it finally is ready to bloom. Do you have an intersectionals? I cannot wait to see the result. I hope Old Rose Dandy looks like the photo:
http://peonysenvy.com/i_oldrosedandy.html

Kansas City, MO

For me there is not enough variation in plant foliage and bloom color to interest me in most intersectionals. I do have a few but were either orphans that were to be tossed or given to me.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Yes, I have Julia Rose, Cora Louise, ummm. Can't remember if I have any others. Alana, what is the yellow peony?

First two are Cora Louise, and last three are Julia Rose

Thumbnail by Oberon46 Thumbnail by Oberon46 Thumbnail by Oberon46 Thumbnail by Oberon46 Thumbnail by Oberon46
Kansas City, MO

It and the rest of the pictures are of Oukan. Both plants came to me directly from Japan.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

ah, did you order your plants directly from Japan, and have them shipped to you? If so were there any problems with getting an agricultural certificate to import them into the US? I've been looking at some of the Chinese tree peonies, and would love to order some directly from China, however I'm concerned that there may be an astronomical cost for doing so.

ah and Mary, the blooms you've both posted are gorgeous. On my Shima Nishiki, I can already see the buds coming in several places on a tree that's barely 1' tall. Pardon the blurry picture. I'll have to take a better one when I get home later on this week.

Annette

Thumbnail by Cem9165
Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Mary, are your intersectionals any hardier than the others?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Yes, I can see the buds. The tree and flowers should be gorgeous.

Hardier than other intersectionals? Is that what you mean. Not that I am aware of. I also have Border Charm and Garden Treasure, and both bloomed first year. This year will be their third year in the garden and they should really take off. Both also Itoh's (intersectionals). Hardier than herbaceous or tree? Don't think so. They are (the ones above) five and six years old respectively. Julia Rose has tons of pips and is a huge bush now. About 48" tall and at least that around. Cora Louise is right behind in size. I had to move some lilies that were behind CL because she was hiding them.

Leacock-Leola-Barevi, PA(Zone 6b)

Wow, all the blooms are gorgeous! Spring seems so long away. How do you all cope with this waiting? Is Cora Louise as pretty as she looks in the picture? Is it light lavender? KamataNishiki is such a luminous pink. Oukan is a lovely bush. They look awesome.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Cora Louise is indeed a lavender. I have attached the schedule I keep in excel (drawn from the access database I keep) of my peonies, date purchased, and when they bloom from year to year. Also lists the Week number per the PeonyParadise.com schedule.

the ones with N/A were bought either last year and were slowed up by moving or were simply late blooming and also the ones I planted last fall so no history in my garden.

This message was edited Feb 12, 2013 11:02 AM

Thumbnail by Oberon46
Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Mary, a couple of years ago I stopped at the local garden center after all of our peonies had bloomed. It was after a rainstorm, which is definitely a killer for peony blooms.

When I spoke to the staff, they told me intersectionals have stronger blooms. (They were in Moravia pots.) Not everyone at a garden center is knowledgeable, but I'm willing to try it out. Only not from that garden center. I am anxious, however, to see what happens this year. I had picked up Old Rose Dandy at the Flower Show, and it was already starting to grow (about 6-7inches high) when planted in April-May. By the time the garden filled in, it was a bit difficult to find. Sometimes it is just a treat to see what comes.

Happy gardening: spring is sure to come to you eventually.
Marcia

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Hmmmm. I never heard that. And I can't really say that I have noticed it either. The bushes themselves seem sturdier, although Red Charm has such huge flowers that they stems still bow under their weight, rain or no rain. I have umbrellas that I put over the larger blooms to keep them from collapsing. I also have a couple of super heavy duty stakes with rims that will hold up elephants and I use them on the larger bushes.

Kansas City, MO

I cheated, I had a friend that brings various plants into this county for study to order them for me. The friend has had problems importing directly from China, especially with the USDA inspectors and plants being shipped to airports without both customs and USDA inspection stations. There are several inspections the plants must undergo in the country of origin and here. Except for a few growers it is almost impossible to import directly from any of the EU group because the inspections cost so much, last I checked for one plant $175. Easier to purchase here if you can find what you want.

Leacock-Leola-Barevi, PA(Zone 6b)

Wow, that is a wonderful idea, Mary. I should put together a spreadsheet similar to yours to keep track of what I have purchased. I went a little crazy this past fall and bought 30 some known varieties of peonies and 20 peonies seedlings from a hybridizer. My logic was since it takes a couple years for the plants to bloom, I may as well get them and plant them now. If only my husband gets this logic.:)
Karen

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks for the info ah. I had that experience where it was really expensive buying begonia tubers directly from B & L from England, due to the cost of the required inspection. I guess I'll order from Cricket Hill. I've gave my DH the list of desired tree peonies, so hopefully he'll get the hint for Valentines Day, birthday, Mother's Day, and our anniversary, the latter 3 which all occur in the first 2 weeks of May. I believe in gifts that keep on giving. Annette

Leacock-Leola-Barevi, PA(Zone 6b)

I can't believe that it was only a little over a month ago that I started this thread. Today, some of the peonies I planted last fall are showing two inches of growth while some other peonies are just poking through the soil. They are so cute! Can't hardly wait to see some blooms soon. According to the peonies bloom date chart, my earliest named peony to bloom is Red Charm.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Checked out the tree peonies yesterday, and they are growing well. The gardens need a bit of cleanup to see if peonies are sprouting through the soil. Snow is almost all gone.

Leacock-Leola-Barevi, PA(Zone 6b)

Cathy,
I would really love to see photos of your tree peonies in bloom as well as their gorgeous flowers. Can I ask what tree peonies do you have and how many years have you had them?

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