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    Morgan

    3 weeks, 6 days ago · updated 3 weeks, 5 days ago

    I am trying to grow P. brownii in my greenhouse and trying to understand how they will live is a big challenge. Have obtained soil from a Douglas fir and mixed with mineral soil and now I am in the second year. From what I understand, Swedish summers are not ideal due to rainy periods, so I am trying to use our cold greenhouse. All input is welcome!

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    • @morganholdar If you’re already in the second year you’re doing remarkably well. With this species I never got beyond a few months before they succumbed. So I’d better take advice from you instead. But for what it’s worth, here’s my opinion. They grow in a region with very little rainfall, especially in Summer. Your cold greenhouse is thus indeed a good choice as it will protect them from too much rainfall. I would expect them to die back quite early in Summer, earlier than other peonies (or species). And during that time I think it would be best not to give them additional water. Supposedly they will start growing very early in the season, perhaps during Winter, but then Sweden may be so cold that it may also be not the case, so I’m not sure. Next to that I think the substrate is the most important part of growing them succesfully. I’m trying to visualize what ‘soil from a Douglas Fir’ may look like, but I guess the decomposing needles make for very airy soil rich in humus and nutrients and somewhat acid. Not too sure whether the PH is right for them, I don’t recall them growing under coniferous trees. But they sure need soil which drains water really well. I’ve tried several substrates this year to see differences with seedlings. There are not many conclusions to be made as yet, I’ll probably see that when I dig the seedlings in Autumn. But with the (for me) most difficult species plants (some of the Mediterranean ones) I can already see some differences. There the more airy free draining soil is best. My best mix consists of this (in volume, not weight): 5,5 parts peat soil; 0,5 coarse sand; 5 perlite (3-5 mm sized particles); 1 grit (5-8 mm); 1 lava (coarse: 3-8 mm); 1 heated clay granules (5-15 mm); 1 dolomite chalk (0-5 mm); 0,3 magnesium chalk; 0,5 water with beneficial fungi (serenade (bacillus amyloliquefaciens), triaphos (trichoderma harzianum), rhizoforce (bacillus amyloliquefaciens, another strain)). So the proportion of true ‘soil’ (the peat) is only about 1/3 and the rest simply drains the water away. I suppose if you substitute the peat with your douglas fir soil, it will be even better still, as peat tends to hold water for a very long time and it tends to become more dense and less airy over time. Good luck with them!

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