Tree’d by a Peony

We always celebrate when the Chinese tree peony species, Paeonia ostii bursts into flower, which for us, is usually mid-March. This is always the first peony to flower for us. Our oldest specimen below is now 21 years old, and measures 4′ tall x 7′ wide, so the term “tree” peony probably should be replaced with shrub peony. This amazing peony is one of the few that we grow from seed, a process that takes us three years to achieve a flowering-size plant. Other than needing full sun, this has proven quite easy to grow in a wide range of conditions, other than constantly wet soils. We list this as having a hardiness Zone 4a-8b, but we’d be surprised if it doesn’t thrive in even warmer climates. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve grown this in Zones 9 or 10.

Paeonia ostii

4 thoughts on “Tree’d by a Peony”

  1. I volunteer at the William & Mary gardens in Williamsburg, now zone 8a. We have several tree peonies that are probably 15-20 years old. They are blooming now but look pretty straggly
    due I’d guess to the shade they have survived in. I would love to move them but feel the risk may be too great. Would you agree?
    Yours are beautiful and obviously thrive in your NC heat and sun.
    Enjoy your posts.

    1. I wouldn’t hesitate to move the old tree peonies, but I’d do so in August. As long as they are dug correctly, transplanted into good soil, and kept watered after transplanting, this shouldn’t pose any problems.

  2. Christine Morgan

    How do you keep the leaves from getting so unattractive in late summer and fall? I hesitate planting a tree peony given how poorly my regular ones look then, even in some afternoon shade.

    1. Most plants are like people, they have times when they are more attractive than others. I guess it doesn’t bother us that the plant starts to go dormant in summer. The key is to plant other plants around it or nearby that look great in summer, then you don’t notice as the foliage begins to go dormant.

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