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The tree peony (Paeonia x suffruticosa), or semi-shrub is a hybrid species belonging to the genus peony of the peony family. There are scientists who believe that they are not a species, but simply a group of different varieties and hybrid forms. To date, about 500 of them are known. Most of them can be found in China. The tree peony was created by breeders in China. But at the same time, breeders of Japan also began to grow this plant with great passion after it appeared on their islands during the Tang Dynasty. In European countries, this plant appeared in the 18th century, and it was appreciated by both professional flower growers and amateurs.
The tree peony is a deciduous shrub that ranges in height from 150 to 200 centimeters. Thick erect shoots are pale brown. Unlike a herbaceous peony, the stems of such a plant do not fade in autumn, but every year they grow more and more, and over time the bush acquires a hemispherical shape. Ornamental, openwork leaves are doubly feathery. The flowers are located at the ends of the stems, and their diameter ranges from 12 to 20 centimeters or more. Such flowers are double, semi-double and simple. They can be painted in white, purple, yellow, pink, crimson, as well as bicolored. With age, flowering becomes more and 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 resistant to cold.
Tree peony All the most important things about care and planting.
The various varieties of such plants are based on several species that are natural, namely: yellow, Potanin, Lemoine and Delaway, which are directly related to the group of semi-shrub peonies. Most of the registered varieties of these plants grow in China. These varieties are divided into 3 groups:
The flowers are very large and double. They weigh a lot and therefore are drooping. Flowers can be painted 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 Delaway peony and yellow peony - the most popular varieties with yellow flowers.
The most popular varieties:
The pink-shaped inflorescences are painted in 2 colors, so, one half of it is dark red, and the other is creamy white. The flower reaches 16 centimeters in diameter.
The diameter of light pink flowers with a dark crimson center is 18 centimeters. About 50 flowers can open on a bush at the same time.
Crown flowers are painted in 2 colors: white and salmon at the same time. They reach no more than 20 centimeters in diameter.
The shape of the flowers is very effective and unique. It is a pale green bud.
Experts advise planting a tree-like peony in open ground from mid-August to the last days of September. Before you start landing directly, you need to choose the most suitable place. For this plant, you should choose a well-lit place located on a not very high elevation. There should not be any buildings or trees in the immediate vicinity, as they will block the sun. Tree peonies prefer loamy soil. In the event that it is sandy, then this can be corrected by introducing humus, sod soil, clay, and also peat. If the soil is clay, then organic fertilizers, as well as sand, need to be added to it. It is worth paying special attention to the choice of place and soil, because this type of peony can grow in the same place for several decades (about 100 years).
Treelike white peony. Planting a tree peony in the fall.
In the case when the groundwater is low, the hole for the flower must be made in the form of a cone. At the same time, at the surface of the soil, the diameter of the hole should be 0.7 meters, its depth is also 0.7 meters. Make a drainage layer 25-30 centimeters thick at the bottom of the pit, gravel, broken brick or sand are perfect for this. Pour lime or bone meal from 200 to 300 grams into acidic soil. After that, soil is poured into a hole in the form of a cone and a peony is placed on it. Then a large amount of water is poured into the hole in order to properly straighten the peony roots. When the liquid is completely absorbed, such an amount of soil must be poured into the hole so that the root collar of the plant is located at the same level with its surface. The distance between the bushes should be about 150-200 centimeters.
If a tree peony is grown from a seed, then its flowers can be seen only for 5-6 years of life. Since these seeds have an underdeveloped embryo, they must certainly be subjected to a stratification procedure. Seeds cannot be stored for a long time, as they lose their germination capacity. The stratification procedure has 2 stages. The first is warm and the second is cold. Subject to all the rules, not everyone succeeds in growing a peony from a seed anyway.
In the event that you do not know the rules for caring for this type of peonies, then you should take care of it in the same way as for a herbaceous one. So, it must be watered in a timely manner and after this procedure it is imperative to loosen the soil and remove weeds. Watering should be done once every 2 weeks, while 1 bush should take from 6 to 7 liters of water. If the weather is hot and dry, then the frequency of watering should be increased. Since August, it is necessary to water less and less each time until it stops completely. When the plant is watered, the soil near the bush within a radius of 50 centimeters must be thoroughly loosened (the depth of loosening is not more than 5 centimeters). Pull up all the weeds and sprinkle the soil with mulch (humus).
These plants simply need a lot of nitrogen and potassium for normal growth and development. When the period of intensive growth is just beginning, such plants need nitrogenous fertilizers, and from the moment the budding begins and before the growing season ends, tree peonies need a large amount 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. In order not to burn the root system with fertilizers, before applying them to the soil, it must be well watered.
Pruning must be done in the spring before the start of the period of intensive growth. In this case, you need to cut off the dried stems. Old shoots must be cut so that about 10 centimeters remain. Florists in China have learned to rejuvenate the tree peony. To do this, once every 20 years, they cut a bush almost to the surface of the ground. As a result of this, the adventitious buds awaken at the very base of the stems. In order for the flowering to be more abundant next year, you need to trim the stems to the upper axillary bud. How long your peony will live is influenced by the correct pruning. These plants can live to a very respectable age, as a rule, up to a hundred years or even more. In China, there are copies that have already exceeded 500 years, while they are protected both by specialists and by law.
Such a peony has a very negative attitude towards the transplant. So, it happens that a very strong transplanted plant can get sick for several years, because it is very difficult for it to recover. During the transplant 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 with a not very strong jet of water. Then you need to inspect the root system. If there are rotten roots, then they should be cut off, and too long are shortened at the same time. It is necessary to process the cut sites with a solution of potassium manganese (1%), and then sprinkle with chopped charcoal. If necessary, you can divide the rhizome, thereby multiplying the peony. To do this, you need to stretch the parts of the bush with your hands to the sides at the root collar. In the event that there are cuts on the rhizome, then they must be processed. Each of the divisions should have roots and replacement kidneys (several pieces). Before the delenki are planted in open ground, they must be immersed in a clay mash for 30 minutes.
How to propagate a peony by dividing a bush is described above. It should be remembered that only the peony whose age is older than 5-6 years can be divided, and this procedure must be carried out in August.
For cuttings, semi-lignified shoots are required. They need to be cut from mid-June. In this case, the bud itself, a leaf and a part of the stem wood should be present on the handle. The sheet plate should be shortened by ½ part. Prepare the container by filling it with peat mixed with sand. Then a stalk is stuck into it one and a half centimeter deep, and on top of the container it is necessary to cover the container with a transparent film or glass. The cuttings must be systematically watered, as well as humidified from a sprayer. In the last days of September, the cuttings must be transplanted into individual pots and placed in a greenhouse before the onset of spring. After the plants start growing, they will be ready to be transplanted into open soil.
It will take a couple of years to propagate a tree peony by layering. On May days, before the bush begins to bloom, it is necessary to select well-developed stems and an incision should be made on the side that faces the soil. Then it is treated with a root-growth agent and a peg is inserted into it. After that, the shoot must be bent to the surface of the soil and dug in to a depth of 8 to 10 centimeters. When watering the bush itself, do not forget to moisten the soil above the layer. In the month of September, small roots should already grow on the layer, and it can be carefully separated from the mother bush and planted in open soil in a permanent place.
For reproduction, you can also use air layers. To do this, you need to make an incision on the stem and wrap it with moistened moss, and on top with a film. It must be tightly fixed. As a rule, the roots grow towards the end of the summer period. This breeding method, although very simple, is ineffective.
Reproduction of tree peonies by grafting
This method is the most highly effective, and it is widely used by specialists. But a gardener can also propagate this plant by grafting. For grafting, use the root system of a herbaceous peony. To do this, in the first days of August, you need to cut tree cuttings with 2 buds from a peony. From below, the stalk must be sharpened so that it takes on a wedge-shaped shape. Then, according to the shape of this wedge, a groove is made in the rhizome of the herbaceous peony and a stalk is inserted into it, which should fit very tightly. The vaccine must be wrapped tightly with foil. Then these rhizomes must be placed in a box, which must be filled with moistened sawdust. Place the box in the shade for storage. After 4 weeks, the grafted rhizomes must be planted in a container so that the peephole located below is at a depth of 5 to 7 centimeters. The container is then transferred to the greenhouse. Such a peony is grown from 1.5 to 2 years.
They are quite disease resistant. Most often, those peony bushes are sick that are old or have recently undergone a transplant. Gray mold can kill the plant. In order to get rid of it, you need to treat the bush with a solution of potassium permanganate (for 5 liters of water, 1.5 g of the substance). Also for this purpose, you can use a solution of copper sulfate (6-7%). However, before starting treatment, the affected shoots should be carefully cut and destroyed.
It happens that the bushes become infected with brown spot. Infected leaves should be torn off and destroyed in order to avoid further spread of the disease. Then the peony is treated with a solution of Bordeaux liquid (1%).
After the end of flowering, you need to cut off the faded stems to the upper axillary bud so that they do not take away the strength from the bush. In the autumn, before wintering, you need to feed. To do this, 200 grams of bone meal and 300 grams of wood ash must be added to the soil under each bush.
Home garden floriculture. "Should Tree Peonies Be Sheltered for Winter?"
As mentioned above, tree peonies are not afraid of frosts, but you still need to shelter them for the winter. The fact is that during the thaws in the spring, the buds that are in the open air wake up, and the peony begins to grow. However, frosts that follow a 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 circle with a layer of mulch (peat). After the frosts begin, the bush must be covered by making over it a kind of hut of dry leaves, spruce branches and a fairly thick layer of fine bark. You can use jute bags for this.
Not everyone knows that if the landing site is successful, the peony can grow without transplanting for a very long time, almost 100 years.
Its amazing vitality is probably due to its medicinal properties, which were known back in Ancient Greece. And even this flowering plant got its name from the name of the doctor of the Olympic gods - Pean.
Young peonies (1 or 2 years old) take root best. Prepare the site in advance and dig a landing hole 60 - 70 cm deep (in 2 - 3 weeks).
And one more point, in conclusion - reproduction. If you suddenly decide to breed this plant on your own, and not buy seedlings every time, you can try to propagate the peony yourself.
Peony propagates by seeds and root cuttings. Freshly harvested seeds, taken together with a capsule in August, are sown in loose soil.
They will rise next spring. However, the varietal qualities of the plant are rarely preserved in seeds.Therefore, this method is typical mainly for breeders. But, everyone is free to experiment, and suddenly you will grow some new variety.
The most popular and reliable way to propagate a peony is to propagate it by root cuttings. In fact, this is the very same transplant, which is carried out in August towards autumn. A section with a dormant bud is separated from the common rhizome and planted in the designated place. In September, the plant is already taking root, although flowering may not come immediately.
You can also propagate the peony with stem cuttings. The method is complex, but they resort to it to obtain seedlings with new roots. It is suitable mainly for tree-like ones. Until the flowers bloom, the shoots are cut and cut into small cuttings so that each has two internodes. If there are leaves, then they are cut off. Then the cuttings are soaked with a growth stimulant and planted in a greenhouse. They should be planted at a slight slope at a distance of 10 cm from each other.
Some varieties of peonies can propagate with vertical layers.
After the snow melts and the ground thaws, the bush is raked so that the underground buds are visible. Then a box without a bottom must be installed on the rhizome. The height of the box is 35-45 cm.
Then a loose mixture of soil, sand and peat is poured there in proportions, respectively, 3: 1: 1. The mixture is covered with a layer of 12-15 cm. After that, every week this mixture is added with the same layer until the box is full.
In the autumn. At the end of September, the box must be removed, the ground must be cleaned, and the shoots must be cut off. Then, from these shoots, those that have developed buds are selected. They will need to be dropped off separately.
Growing peonies in a garden is not such a difficult task. But when the flowering begins, even the simplest flowers, but even they will delight the eye with their splendor.