Mislabeled Plants..

SeaTac, WA(Zone 8a)

How many of you have ever purchased mislabeled flowers? Last year one tree peony of mine bloomed for the first time.. and of the 3 I purchased (and they were not cheap!), it did not look like any of the labels..

One of the 3 died before it ever bloomed.. but the other two are just about to bloom this year.. I wonder if any of the blooms will be one of the labels..

Photo 2&3 are of my tree peony bloom last year, and photo 1,4,&5 are the labels of the 3 I purchased.. Not even close! But, I actually really like the flower that it turned out to be, hopefully my other one ends up being enjoyable too.. Although I was not planning on yellow in my design so I had to rethink a few things (since I did not want to move the established peony).

Has this ever happened to you? If so were you happy with your mislabel?

I am wondering how often this happens. I gather it is fairly common.. but when the plants are so expensive you think some accountability should be had with pricey specialty flowers..

Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos
Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Anyone who has never received a mislabelled plant has not been gardening for long! ;-)

Edit to add: It can happen in a variety of ways. One tends to expect a higher level of certainty from specialty growers than from, say, a big box store or even a nursery, where labels may be pulled out by shoppers and reinserted in the wrong pots, or an entire load of rooted cuttings may be potted up with the wrong labels. Generally speaking, the farther down the line from the specialty grower, the higher the chance, I would say, of plants ending up mislabelled. That said, I've received mislabelled plants from otherwise excellent specialty growers, and also seen many misidentified on websites. Well, no one can know everything.
And that's only for commercially-grown plants... When gardeners grow from seed, or exchange plants, one can only hope that the seeds were identified correctly, initially (not always easy to tell) or that the gardener actually knows enough about plants to really know what he/she is growing. Yes, it's a little bit of a crapshoot sometimes!
As long as you're getting a decent plant in the end, as in the case of your tree peonies, perhaps it eases some of the frustration of not getting the intended one?

This message was edited Apr 10, 2015 12:27 PM

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Ros- The first one you wanted is fabulous. I see it is an Intersectional hybrid-half tree/half herbaceous peony. Now I want it too... The one you got is lovely, looks like maybe Bartzella or Garden Treasure? Both are also Intersectionals, and quite $$$ too. If the one you got is a tree peony, it will grow like a shrub and have a permanent woody framework. Most years my 'Bart' dies back to the ground. I got two tree peonies and 'Bart' from A&D Nursery near here, it was a fun expedition to go and pick them out in spring, then they mailed them to me in fall at the proper time. I think you should complain, and maybe ask for a price reduction to get the one you want. They might also identify the bloom for you on the yellow one. You could transplant the yellow one, just take a big rootball. If you don't do it this year you might need a steam shovel!

Göppingen, Germany(Zone 7b)

I'd give that yellow one another year or two - one of my tree peony sources asks people not to post photos of their beauties for the first three or four years, as they may change a lot until they have the rootstock they need to feed their flowers properly. Giving that the quality you bought was a 1 year graft, it's quite likely it will increase in color intensity and number of petals and end up being the kinkaku you ordered.

that said, I'm waiting for my second year shima daijin - if the flowers really will increase over last year (see Photo) I think I will go blind from beauty ;)

As for mislabeled plants: I accidentally have a front garden full of Narcissus Pseudonarcissus basic yellow nearly wild form, which were said to be 5 (!) different cultivars on the packages. Oh well, they are vigorous as hell and I won't hesitate using them as cut flowers, as I would on the rarer versions, so I'm not too disappointed.

Thumbnail by pmmGarak
Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I have received mislabeled peonies from four companies. Sometimes I let them know of it years later. All of them were replaced. The same goes with peonies that do not appear.

Contact the companies and tell them that the plant you ordered is not the one you received. Enclosing a picture is optional. Because peonies take so long to establish, you can do this literally years later.

I just got three peonies replaced that I planted several years ago. The only downside is that you can end up with a lot of peonies, and you may not like them all. I have a spot in my back yard that has all of these mislabeled peonies. I enjoy them from my kitchen window. The correctly labeled peonies have more prominent locations.

La Crosse, WI

I became a new Dave's Garden subscriber because I wanted so much to reply to your post. :)

Glad to see you are Tree Peony fan. I would like you to explore that you may received High Noon for Kinkaku, not Bartzella ITOH. My High Noon does not rebloom as it states in many articles, Zone 4 growing season is not long enough, on very cold winters it will dye back to the ground and come back again.

I bought my first Japanese tree peony 13 years ago from an upscale local nursery. It was 18.95 and that was expensive back then for a 2 stick shrub. The next year, I could not believe the beauty of it with only 3 flowers. By year 3 in the ground (5 year plant) it was so full of flowers people would stop and get out of their cars to ask what it was.

Then I started seeking out other ways to get them, as that local nursery changed hands. Today this local nursery still gets them in on limited quantities and varieties, they are $24.95.

You can get them many different ways, directly from the grower in China, a 3rd party supplier in the United States, a catalog company like Van Borgendiens, or a local nursery. Be cautious, some of the pictures from China are colored enhanced. They are copied over and over again. The Kinkaku picture is a perfect example of this. I have this variety, the edges of the many petals have a thin red line that bleeds into the yellow. It only looks orange when it is just opening up, and the flowers are NOT erect, they sag because they are so heavy. So not only did you get a completely different plant, the 3rd party supplier has copied the wrong picture for your tag when they were making them. If you search web images of Kinkaku on Google, you will see where your 3rd party supplier copied this picture. It is not from the growers website. You should really call this out to who you bought them from. They may have sent out their whole shipment wrong.

I crave tree peonies so much, that I ordered some from China 2 times and tried selling them at my plant sales. And this is what I have learned from the experience over the past 13 years.
Know your types of tree peonies. I do not have experience with Rockii rock garden varieties. There are Chinese and Japanese Trees and different suppliers in China grow them different ways. Japanese have a grafted root to a regular herbaceous peony root. Sometimes you will get "suckers" of a herbaceous peony growing off your Japanese tree peony. Remove it promptly, it will suck the life out of your tree.

For many growers, the Chinese Tree Peony is grown on its own root, mostly through trenching a stem of a mature plant. Where ever leaves would normally sprout, roots grow instead and they prepare it for a single plant. Chinese tree peonies will take several more years to turn into a huge plant. Ho Hong that you have pictured is an example of a Chinese Tree Peony. I did not know this fact the first time around when I ordered from China and I got all Chinese Tree Peonies (over 100) in Reds, pinks or whites. Every one of them died during the overwinter process. I live in a zone 4. I kept them above ground in pots. (Bad Idea.. Lost over $1000.00 wholesale). Also China's growing season is about a month sooner than Wisconsin, so it was a trick to line that up.

The 2nd time around I ordered 50 Chinese and 50 Japanese and trenched them in the ground for winter. About 75% of them made it. That was about 6 years ago, I am still waiting for the Chinese peonies to "take off" . It can take 6 or 7 years for the Chinese tree peony to match and surpass the display of a 3rd year Japanese tree peony. But when it does, it will always surpass the Japanese after that. This is why local nurseries will carry Japanese before Chinese.

I hate to say this, but the ones I bought from the Nursery and the Spring Shipment from Van Borgendiens wholesale surpassed the ones order directly from 2 separate growers from China. Even the one from Farm and Fleet that just said "Purple" on the box has been a proven winner. In Wisconsin, I think Spring planting is crucial to the success of tree peonies.

The issue with 3rd party suppliers, just like you witnessed, they make their own tags up, China growers do not include tags with their shipment. It took 10 days to ship them to me even through EMS. They are exposed to the elements during shipping more so than nursery stock ones are. New regulations for shipping dormant plants from China now require them to trim the root to less than 4 or 6 inches. Before this rule, they would have 8" or more roots on them. When I ordered one time from a 3rd party supplier, the extra time it took for them to ship me my plants after they sorted out their order list was detrimental to the root. It ended up getting dehydrated, never did come back.

I was surprised to see Zone 5 on your tag. I have always known Tree Peonies to grow in Zone 4. Maybe that is why I have trouble with certain kinds dying back off an on.
I did have 4 Japanese trees sprout from seed. After 3 years, it was about 5 inches high. The 4th year I transplanted 2 out of the 4 that lived. They soon died after that. Now I know why they graph the root of the Japanese tree peony. They do not have a strong root system on their own. Sort of like a tea rose.
I hope this sheds some light on things.


This message was edited May 10, 2015 11:04 PM

This message was edited May 11, 2015 3:43 PM

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