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How to Graft Peonies


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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.

Difficulty:
Moderately Challenging

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Household bleach
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Knife, very sharp
  • Grafting band
  • Parafilm
  • Plastic bag
  • Paper towel
  • Mulch
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

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