How to Graft Peonies
A peony is a flowering plant in the Paeonia genus and is noted for its abundant blooms in late summer. Peonies with a woody stem are known as tree peonies and may be propagated by grafting. This involves joining a scion from a tree peony to the rootstock of another peony.
- Moderately Challenging
Things You’ll Need
- Household bleach
- Rubbing alcohol
- Knife, very sharp
- Grafting band
- Plastic bag
- Paper towel
- Choose the scion for the peony graft. The scion should have at least two or three buds, preferably shoot buds. A scion with a bloom bud at the end will try to bloom in the spring after you graft it. This will weaken the young peony as it puts its energy into making a flower, rather than growing the plant.
- Select the rootstock. The rootstock should have the thickness of your finger and be no more than 8 inches in length. The rootstock for a tree peony is typically an herbaceous peony like Lactiflora, since they are much more common than woody peonies.
- Prepare the scion and rootstock for the graft in early August, as soon as you can see the buds for the next year. Prepare a solution of bleach and water that contains 5 to 10 percent bleach. Soak both parts in the bleach solution for about 1 hour and rinse them thoroughly. Sterilize your work surface, materials and tools with rubbing alcohol.
- Make a long cut on one side of the scion at a 30-degree angle with a very sharp knife. Make a similar cut on the opposite side of the scion to remove it from the plant. Cut off a thin section from the bottom and top of the rootstock. Cut a cleft in the top of the rootstock that matches the scion.
- Fit the scion into this cleft of the rootstock, wrap an elastic grafting band around the graft and wrap a layer of parafilm around the grafting band. Place a moist paper towel and the graft in a plastic bag. Keep the plastic bag in a warm location for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Plant the graft in late fall, positioning the graft joint 2 inches below the soil surface, and apply a thin layer of mulch. Remove the mulch in the following spring before the growing season.