The tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) is a flowering plant native to China. It grows up to 5 feet tall and produces spectacular blooms in the summer. They don’t generally grow true from seed so you’ll need to propagate a prized peony through some other means. The woody stem of the tree peony makes a suitable candidate for grafting.
Select the twig to graft onto the rootstock. Cut the scion as soon the next season’s buds appear, usually in early August. The scion should have at least two or three buds. Shoot buds are preferable to bloom buds because a bloom bud will attempt to produce a flower, which can weaken the young plant.
Choose the rootstock. The plant that you’ll graft the scion to should be a herbaceous peony such as Lactiflora rather than a tree peony. The rootstock should be at least the diameter of your finger and a maximum of 8 inches long. Keep track of which end of the root is the scion as it grows.
Prepare the scion and rootstock. Soak both parts in a solution of one part household bleach to ten parts water for an hour. Rinse the bleach solution from the scion and rootstock. Wipe down your tools, materials and work surfaces with rubbing alcohol to sterilize them before performing the graft.
Cut the scion and rootstock. Cut the scion from the plant by making two cuts on the scion at a 30 degree angle on opposite sides of the scion. Cut a thin sliver from the top and bottom of the rootstock to be used in the graft. Make a cleft in the rootstock to fit the scion into.
Perform the graft. Fit the cut surface of the scion into the cleft of the rootstock so the surfaces fit together as closely as possible. Wrap a grafting band around the joint and cover it with parafilm to make a waterproof seal. Place the graft in a plastic bag with a moist paper towel and keep it in a warm place for 1 month.
Plant the graft in the late fall with the joint below the the ground and cover it with a light layer of mulch. Remove the mulch in the spring before the graft starts to grow.