Posted by: HortAlaska | January 4, 2016

Alaska Peony Growers to Meet

The meeting of the Alaska Peony Growers Association will hold their annual conference in Homer, Jan 27- 29 at Land’s End. It will include keynote speaker, Don Hollingsworth from Hollingsworth Nursery, Gay Smith from Chrysal, as well as marketing sessions, reviews of UAF research, results of soil fertility research, and more.  Get more information at:    Winter conference


Posted by: HortAlaska | January 3, 2016

Peonies in the future

The attached link is a proposal to re-invent the peony, mostly as a year-round horticultural crop that relies heavily on container culture, forced chilling and growth regulators. Although there are several errors that show the author probably has never grown or sold peonies, it gives an interesting peek into what people are thinking about in terms of future peony production.

Peony futurePeony future

Posted by: HortAlaska | September 24, 2015

Petal It Forward Campaign

Join the Socity of American Florists And Other Growers To #PetalItForward And Spread Happiness With Flowers

Petal It Forward

Posted by: HortAlaska | September 15, 2015

World Floriculture Map/Rabobank

Here’s an interesting view of the world cut flower trade in a map.


Posted by: HortAlaska | September 14, 2015

Marketing flowers without contracts

Marketing in Kenya

Posted by: HortAlaska | September 11, 2015

Local peonies grace Obama hotel suite | Homer News

Though President Barack Obama’s three-day visit to Alaska this week didn’t bring him to the lower Kenai Peninsula, he got a scent of Homer when local flower grower Alaska Perfect Peony was picked to provide the official presidential bouquet at his Anchorage hotel, the Captain Cook. “It was pretty exciting,” Alaska Perfect Peony owner Rita Jo Shoultz said on Tuesday. “It was quite the honor.”

Source: Local peonies grace Obama hotel suite | Homer News

Posted by: HortAlaska | September 11, 2015

Alaskan Peonies Grace Obama Hotel Suite – PerishableNews

Source: Alaskan Peonies Grace Obama Hotel Suite – PerishableNews

Posted by: HortAlaska | September 11, 2015

British and French buy more flowers online – HortiBiz

Source: British and French buy more flowers online – HortiBiz

Posted by: HortAlaska | September 9, 2015

New facebook link for WSU researchers studying Botrytis

Peony Disease link

Check out this new facebook page by Andrea Garfinkel and Gary Chastagner, wo WSU researchers who have been doing cutting edge research on Botrytis and other interesting diseases of peonies.

Posted by: HortAlaska | August 27, 2015

Site Changes

I retired from my UAF job, so I just changed this blog to my business. Stay tuned, I’ll get back into the posting thing ASAP.

Posted by: HortAlaska | October 14, 2014

Another disease ID’d

I have attached a short article about a red spot disease identified for the first time on peonies in Chile. I checked with Andrea G, and she told me, yes, indeed, this disease occurs both in Alaska and Oregon. This past summer, we all noticed some distinct red lesions on the stems and dark red spots on leaves. Now we know what it is!

2014.Gilchrist et al

Posted by: HortAlaska | June 15, 2014


A grower near Delta brought in roots of peonies that were riddled with wireworms (larva of click beetles). It is the first time we have ever seen them inside the roots. We contacted growers and root sellers in New Zealand, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Maryland, Holland and all over Alaska. Not one person has seen wireworms in peonies before even for those growing peonies for 30 years and more. They are well known in Alaska where people grow potatoes and grasses. In the lower 48, they attack a lot of different kinds of root crops. The grower had tilled an old field that contained a lot of grasses, and we suspect the wireworms (that love grasses) were left over after the tilling. Once the grasses were gone, the wireworms lost their usual food source and chowed down on the peony roots. The lesson here is, if you are tilling in an old hay field or an area with a lot of natural grasses, leave the ground fallow for a year or two so the wireworms die off. Will provide updates as we get them.

Wireworms inside peony root

Wireworms inside peony root

Wireworms dug from inside a peony root

Wireworms dug from inside a peony root

Posted by: HortAlaska | June 15, 2014

Lygus bug

Lygus bug

Lots of Interior Growers are being inundated with Lygus bugs this summer. Several years ago USDA scientists identified two species on peonies and noted that they were most frequent on peonies near birch trees (Lygus borealis and L. punctulatus). But now they have been reported from North Pole, Chena Hot Springs, Fairbanks, and Nenana chewing on young buds. They come in a variety of colors and sizes but they all have that characteristic triangle on their backs. We have seen them at the GBG but not in great numbers, and we have yet to see any damage from them. Right now the buds here are oozing their sweet sappy nectar, and that might be an attractant. So far the CES folks have identified only one locally available spray- Orthene 97. Ron & Marge sprayed their fields, and it appears like it might be working. Too early to tell, though. Photo courtesy of

Posted by: HortAlaska | May 20, 2014

Fertilizer overload

I was in Anchorage over the weekend, and I stopped by the Alaska Garden and Pet (Mill and Feed). They had a snazzy poster advertising Arctic Grow Peony Blend with minors. I talked to the woman behind the counter, and she told me the recommend rate is 1/2 cup fertilizer per plant. That is so impressively huge, I would like to find out where that recommendation came from. I contacted the soils people here, and Bob VanVeldhuizen did a little math. He took some pictures of what that level of fertilizer would look like, and he also made a rough guesstimate of how many pounds per acre that amounts to. For most of our garden we use about 500 lb per acre 10-20-20 as a general application once a year. Bob’s illustration shows about half that- -a recommendation for grains. If you apply 1/2 cup per plant around about a 6 inch diameter hole for a peony root, he estimates that recommendation will amount to almost 18,000 lb per acre! Not only is that way too much fertilizer, those roots haven’t even established their fine feeder roots, so most of the solubles will be lost to leaching into the soil. I saw a whitish ring of fertilizer on top of the soils in some peony fields last summer and a lot of shoot death.

I have very fertile soils, and for the first five years, the peonies at the GBG got NO extra fertilizer except what was in the ground. I am certainly not advocating that route, but the 1/2 cup per plant can burn fine feeder roots, cause such high salt levels in the soils as to kill those big storage roots, waste money, and cause problems with groundwater. This fertilizer also has micronutrients, but I couldn’t figure out how much. Micronutrients at high levels can cause toxicities that can last for many, many years. I usually apply approx. one tablespoon of 10-20-20 per plant to mature plants. On new soils that would be higher, but 1/2 cup? Not!

Fertilizer rate photos

Posted by: HortAlaska | May 6, 2014

Phil Kaspari’s presentation

I am just cleaning up my desktop and found Phil’s experiment on herbicides from a few years ago. It’s only the powerpoint, but you can contact Phil if you have additional questions.Kaspari.weeds.2010

Posted by: HortAlaska | March 26, 2014

A look to the past

Here’s a link to a 1907 manual about growing peonies. Not all the information is accurate, but it is a fun read for people who like history.  It is available as a free download via

“Yes, when the love of the beautiful is dead in the souls of the people, when billions on billions have been raised to fill all the empires of the west and northwest. The love of the beautiful is growing, not dying, and when you get to raising the most charming, as well as the hardiest, flower on earth, you may be absolutely sure of success. If you want to be gone a week, your plants will not be like chickens, dying for lack of care. All the long, cold months of winter they are independent of you. There is no enterprise which will give you such congenial employment, which will so compound interest for you on such a bountiful scale and bring in such returns for the capital invested. Be sure and begin right. Get the best kinds [of peonies] and give them good care and your reward is certain.” C.S. Harrison

Posted by: HortAlaska | February 21, 2014

World flower production

Posted by: HortAlaska | February 19, 2014

World markets and American Flower Production


Posted by: HortAlaska | August 29, 2013

White Sarah

Lots of people have asked about a new peony called White Sarah. The attached catalog description claims this plant is not a color variant of ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, but an import from China??
White Sarah

Posted by: HortAlaska | August 29, 2013

Floriculture literature review

Check out this site for floriculture research in all its colors:

Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers

%d bloggers like this: