Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener
Gerald L. Klingaman
Herbaceous peonies are an all-time garden favorite. These large, bushy perennials originate from eastern Asia and have been bred for thousands of years. There are literally hundreds of wonderful cultivars available, and plants are commonly sold in catalogs because their fleshy rooted crowns are easy to store and ship. They are also virtually impossible to grow from seed and can take years before they first flower post germination.
They are primarily grown for their large, showy flowers that may be single, semi-double or double and come in an array of fancy forms. These may be milky white, rose-red, pale pink, burgundy or butter yellow. Bloom time is cultivar dependent, though the temporal range is from spring to early summer, so they may be early, mid- or late-season bloomers. Their large, dark green leaves have a bold texture and are often tinted with red or bronze early in the season.
Peony flowers are very fragrant and make outstanding cut flowers. In fact, their sweetness tends to attract ants, which can be found climbing the stems to gather nectar from the round, bulbous, unopened peony buds.
Peonies grow best in full to partial sun and well-drained, fertile soil. Double-flowered varieties tend to have very heavy flowers and may require staking. These old-fashioned perennials are very long-lived and have been known to survive in gardens for over 100-years. Plant them in foundation plantings or any floral border.
8 - 1
3 - 9
A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20
Full Sun, Partial Sun
2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m
Late Spring, Early Summer
White, Red, Light Yellow, Pink, Rose, Burgundy, Ivory
Red, Dark Green, Bronze
Green, Dark Green
Green, Dark Green, Bronze
Single, Double, Semi-Double
Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border
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