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By Seabird

East Sussex, United Kingdom Gb

Tree Paeony - impulse buy.
Hi everyone, I am the proud new owner of a tree paeony and now find that it needs to be protected from the wind. My garden must be a contender for the windiest being at the end of a wind tunnel! The only sunny sheltered spot is on the patio by the house. Can I plant it in a pot? If so, how big and what type? It's only a baby, 10" high.



~ yes~ this info is from Kelways who sell lovely ones!
Useful Information
Tree Peony Care

peony care~ Where to plant a tree peony?

Tree peonies are extremely hardy and will survive almost anywhere, in both sun or shade. They prefer an airy, reasonably open situation, because good air movement around the plant helps prevent fungal diseases like peony wilt. However, avoid a completely exposed situation where flower petals could blow away quickly and shorten the life of the flowers.

These plants begin to grow very early in the year and young developing buds can be damaged by frost if exposed to early morning sunshine. Ideally, plant your tree peony where this can't happen, i.e. a north, south or west facing aspect.


Generally speaking tree peonies prefer a fertile yet well drained soil which is neutral to slightly alkaline. Clay, chalk or sand is fine as long as they don't become too dry in the summer or very wet in the winter.

peony care~ Planting

Bare root tree peonies can be planted during winter and early spring, so long as the soil is not frozen. Containerized and pot grown plants can be planted all year round but if planted in late spring or summer, they will need to be watered regularly ( illustrated is a 3 yearold grafted plant).

Dig a large planting hole, incorporating some bone meal or a general fertilizer into the soil. Add a small amount of well rotted garden compost or manure if you wish.

Plant bare rooted tree peonies deeply, most are grafted, and so the graft union should be at least 8cm below the soil. This will encourage the tree peony (scion) to make its own roots and basal shoots.

Pot grown, rootballed or containerized specimens of all types should be planted slightly deeper than the soil level in the pot.

Water well after planting and during the following summer.

Subsequent Cultivation

Usually a tree peony will grow away producing large handsome leaves and often some new shoots from the base. However, the main stem may not produce a shoot from the tip. Depending on the size of the plant you buy, flowering can happen any time from the first year from planting.

Sometimes a newly planted tree peony will appear to make little growth, if any, in its first season but all its activity happens underground. Providing the foliage looks reasonably healthy, don't panic. This may just be a 'settling in' period. Occasionally the main stem may die back a little. Although this might be worrying, wait until the next spring when vigorous growth should resume from the lower part of the stem or even from below soil level.

If your plant is grafted (French, American and Japanese types), look out for suckers from the herbaceous rootstock and cut these off at ground level. The foliage is quite different from that of the grafted tree peony. Wait until you are sure these suckers are from the rootstock before removing them as your tree peony will also produce basal shoots which are desirable.

peony care ~ Feeding

Tree peonies are heavy feeders but dislike large doses of fast acting nitrogenous fertilizers. They respond well to a generous, early autumn top dressing of bone meal or other slow release organic fertilizers. The high potash content encourages flowers to develop. A light sprinkling of a general fertilizer such as Growmore can be applied in the spring if you wish.


Tree peonies respond well to pruning. You should aim for a broad, multistemmed shrub of up to 120-150cms in height which will not need staking. Chinese and American types have a naturally branching habit and will need less regular pruning than the Japanese and French types.

In February, just as the growth buds are swelling, trim off all the dead wood. You will often find that the new shoots are coming from lower down the stem, leaving a small dead spur. Whole branches will sometimes die. These should be pruned back to a live bud, or to just above ground level.

With a young plant, only remove dead wood during the first two years to help get the plant established. Don't be tempted to prune further. After this, if your plant forms a good shape, no regular pruning is needed. However, if your plant has few stems and is poorly shaped, then prune hard. You may see buds at the base of the stem or shoots coming from below the soil. Prune back to these or down to 15cms or less from the ground. Even if you can't see any basal buds, adventitious ones will form.

The best time to prune is early spring, although this may mean that you sacrifice some flowers in the coming year. You can prune directly after flowering but regrowth is slower.

If you have, or inherit, an older tree peony which has never been pruned, it can be transformed and rejuvenated by applying this technique. It is best to prune just one main stem each year, cutting it down to about 15cms. It takes courage to do this, but is almost always successful.

Moving a Tree Peony

There's no need to worry about moving even a large, mature tree peony. Just move it during early autumn as you would any other woody deciduous shrub.

Tree Peonies in Pots

Tree peonies can be grown successfully for several years in a large container (at least 30cms diameter) and make very fine pot plants. When planting, it is important to use a soil based compost such as John Innes No.3

Plants should be grown outdoors during the summer, autumn and winter. In the spring, when the flower buds swell, you could move it into a cool conservatory to enjoy the blooms but be sure to return the plant outside when the flowers fall. Tree peonies must be outside in winter as cold temperatures are needed to form the flower buds.

Peony Wilt

Tree peonies rarely suffer problems from pests and are unpalatable to rabbits and deer. The only disease you are likely to encounter is peony wilt. This may appear in early spring, usually before flowering. There are no longer any chemicals with label recommendations for the control of fungal diseases on tree peonies. Good hygiene and cultural practices is the key to preventing and dealing with fungal attack. Maintain a good air flow around the tree peonies by not overcrowding them with other plants, particularly at ground level.

The fungal spores of peony wilt can over winter on old foliage so it is important to pick up and burn old leaves in the autumn. With deep planting, good hygiene and regular observation, although peony wilt may appear occasionally, it rarely causes serious damage to a mature plant.
ONLY WORD OF CAUTION~choose a good make as one of the sacks of John Innes I used set like cement!~ needless to say the paeony died!
hope it helps!

9 Apr, 2010


Brilliant!! Thanks a lot Arlene. All my problems sorted in one go. Thats excellent.

9 Apr, 2010


Crikey....thats a lot of info.....thank you very much.....

9 Apr, 2010


Thank's from me too Arlene. I've just bought one and this info really helped!

9 Apr, 2010


~Kelways will be at the Cardiff show weekend after next~Will be checking out what they have for sale!~got 5 already!~~they go to most of the big flower shows and have a good website~

9 Apr, 2010


Gosh what useful info on Tree Peonies Arlene. I recently transplanted one from a long term pot, and it has leafed up well, and has about 15 buds. I gave it some bonemeal last autumn when we moved it. So glad I did it right. I only have room for one. Any I have seen in gardens have been quite large and the owners say they don't bloom for long. My one has yellow flowers like tissue name

20 Apr, 2010

How do I say thanks?

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