Planting Peony Seeds

Q: I have recently harvested a number of seed pods from a peony plant. Some pods were green, others blackish brown. I need advice on how and when to plant the seeds.

A: It’s better to harvest the pods from the plant when they have dried on their own to reveal the black seeds in fall. I’m not sure yours will be viable. You can try planting them anyway to see what happens. The easiest method is to find a spot in bright shade and shovel out a hole a couple of feet square and three inches deep. Save the soil and mix it 1:1 with potting soil. fill the depression half-way, scatter seeds on top, then fill it completely. Moisten lightly and mark the area so you don’t forget it. Check back next May to see if anything has sprouted. If not, you probably won’t get anything but peony seeds sometimes take two years to germinate. If you do get seedlings, transplant them to a holding bed for a couple of years to see if their blooms are interesting. If they are, name one after me!

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