Magazine of Horticulture 6(7): 242-244 (July 1840)

Art. II. On the multiplication of Tree Paeonies, (Paeonia Moutan,) by grafting.
Translated from the Le Bon Jardinier Almanach, for
1839, in the Gardener's Magazine.

In our second volume we have given a complete history of the Chinese tree paeony, its introduction into Great Britain and this country, its cultivation, propagation, &c.; and to those of our readers who wish for information upon this beautiful shrub, we refer them to that volume, where they will find, in addition, all the varieties, then known, described. We have also, on various occasions, noticed the tree paeony, and, in particular, the method of propagation below described, which we saw in successful practice, at the late celebrated nursery of Col. Carr, near Philadelphia, (See Vol. III. p. 210.) The invention of this method of propagation is attributed to M. Soulange Bodin, of Fromont, near Paris, but the plan was communicated in the Gardener's Magazine, some years ago, and from thence copied into our pages. It first appeared in the Bon Jardinier for 1839.

As this fine shrub is rare in collections, we have copied the following, accompanied with an engraving, representing the mode of the operation, with the hope that it may result in rendering the various varieties as common in our gardens as other shrubs, whose beauty is far less engaging, and whose cultivation is attended with more trouble. Perfectly hardy, of dwarf stature, and superbly splendid in its flowers, it merits a place in every garden claiming any pretensions for the choiceness of its plants.

"Plants of the Paeonia Moutan, raised by cuttings, remain weak for several years; but those grafted on the tubers of the herbaceous paeony grow with vigor, and, if permitted, will flower the following spring. The operation of grafting is performed between July 13, and August 13, and will readily be understood by fig. 25, in which a represents a triangular section made in the tube or stock; b, the scion, the lower end of which is pared off, so as to fit the triangular cavity in the stock; and c, the scion fitted to the stock. It is not necessary that there should be more than one bud on the scion, and, if a blossom bud should be chosen, it will flower vigorously the following spring. In two or three years the scion will throw out roots, and become independent of the stock. This mode of propagating was invented by M. Soulange Bodin, who, after grafting, places the plant in a pot, plunges it in heat, and covers it with a bell-glass. By September the scion has united itself to the stock; and in October the stock throws out roots, and the plant may be removed to a green-house or frame. Mr. Masters, of Canterbury, has adopted this mode of propagating, with this difference, that, after grafting, the graft being tied with bast, and covered with grafting wax, the whole is inserted into a bed of tan, leaving only about half an inch of the point of the scion above the surface. The grafted plants are inserted in the angular interstices between the pots, with which the pit is usually occupied; two, three, or four are placed together, according to the size of the triangular space; and a larger or smaller bell-glass is placed over them, as may be requisite. The tubers throw out roots by the end of September, or the beginning of October, and are then taken up and potted, and placed in a cold frame, where they remain through the winter.

The grafting wax used for covering this graft is composed as follows:—Burgundy pitch, one pound; black pitch, four ounces; rosin, two ounces; yellow wax, two ounces; tallow, or suet, an ounce and a half. The whole melted together, and, after being stirred, and allowed to cool, it is used when rather less than milk-warm.

The tree paeony may also be grafted with perfect success, by using the shoots of the current year, in the month of April, as scions, and grafting them on the tubers of the herbaceous paeony of the last year."