How to Harvest Peony Seeds in Autumn to Reproduce the Plant?

by Kristiyana

When and how to harvest peony seeds to multiply your plant for free? Is it really possible? When is it best to do this? Our gardening experts provide you with all the information you need to succeed in this task like a pro. You just need to arm yourself with patience, as it is quite a slow process.

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Can Peony Seeds Be Harvested?

Many people ask this question, and with good reason. Yes, peonies produce seeds that you can easily harvest to reproduce the plant. Once harvested, the seeds should be sown as soon as possible. However, it is important to note that the plant could take several years to mature and flower.

Also, note that the peonies you grow from seed will likely not be the same as the parent plant. This is explained by its hybrid origin, the majority of cultivated peonies are.

When to Harvest Peony Seeds?

If you plan to propagate your peonies from seed, do not cut off the faded flowers of your plant. Why not? Because you will not be able to recover the peony seeds. Explanation: faded flowers will contribute to the production of swollen capsules at the end of the stem. As you probably guessed, this happens after the peonies bloom, which ends around September. In early fall, the bolls begin to split open to reveal the seeds inside.

Warning: Leaving faded peony flowers in place could contribute to the development of fungal diseases, except for being unsightly. We therefore recommend that you leave only one or two flowers and cut the others in order to reduce the risk of a disease of this kind.
Good to know: When you remove the seeds, sow them after harvest. Don’t dry them out, as this will further slow down the germination and growth process. As we hinted above, the development of the plant takes several years.

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How to Harvest Peony Seeds and How to Sow Them?

When it comes to harvesting peony seeds, nothing could be simpler. When the bolls are ready to harvest, take a sharp, sanitized pruner and prune just above a pair of healthy leaves. Put on gloves to protect your hands and open each capsule to squeeze out the seeds. Some pods would already be slightly open, but others should be broken. Viable seeds are black or brown. Red-coloured ones are not and should be discarded.

Once the seeds have been harvested, you have two options: either plant them in the ground or plant them in pots. Here’s how to do it, depending on which method you choose:

How to Harvest Peony Seeds: Sowing them in the ground

First, choose a sunny or semi-shaded location, sheltered from the winds. Peonies are a bit temperamental, and they prefer rich, deep, well-drained, moist soil. Be sure to weed the ground before sowing. Plant the seeds 2.5 cm deep, spacing them about 5 cm apart. Water generously and then keep the soil moist, but without standing water. Mulch with dead leaves to protect the seeds from cold and frost. Some seeds will germinate in the spring, but others may take two years to germinate. The main thing is to keep the soil evenly moist and to be patient.

How to sow peony seeds in pots?

Sow the freshly harvested seeds in pots, respecting the same parameters (depth and spacing) as those above. Moist the pot before planting and then wrap it in a transparent plastic bag to keep the seeds warm and thus speed up germination. Place the container in a warm place (27°C or more) or under a grow light. When the first leaves appear, remove the bag and put the pot in the sun. At the end of spring and especially when frost is no longer to be feared, transplant the young plant into the garden in full sun. Preferably in rich, well-drained soil.

In the case of lack of germination, do not be discouraged and wait until it occurs by always taking care of your plant. As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, it is too slow a process that can take years.

Also read: What Fall Flowers to Plant in Your Garden Now: Which Will Bloom Best in Early Autumn? Care Tips…


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