Peonies are herbaceous perennial plants (come back year-year) with large, layered blossoms and deeply lobed leaves. Peonies are among the most popular garden plants in temperate regions, ranging in colour from purple, red, pink, white or yellow. The luscious flower heads of Peonies are perfect for adding a dramatic splash of colour to your garden. Peonies typically bloom from late spring to early summer and are native to Asia, parts of Europe and western North America.
Peonies thrive in full sun locations and mature plants can take up quite a lot of room, growing as tall as 1 meter high. Peony cages are often used by gardeners to help hold up the flower bushes together and prevent the stems from being weighed down to the ground.
Once the flower heads have bloomed they can be pruned off, leaving the remaining green foliage until fall. When cutting the blossoms for a floral arrangement, the stems should be cut on a 45 degree angle to increase the surface area and allow for better water uptake. In late October, once foliage has died off, the peony plant can be cut down to the ground in preparation for winter.
Popular varieties of peonies that you will find at your local garden center or nursery include:
- ‘Bowl of beauty’: a semi-double pink flower
- ‘Doreen’: Pink and purple flower
- ‘Duchesse de Nemours’: Double white flower
- ‘Festiva Maxima’: White and red flower
- ‘Karl Rosenfield’: Red flower
- ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’: Double pink flower
- ‘Pink Cameo’: Pink flower
- ‘Raspberry Sundae’: Deep pink and white flower
- ‘Sarah Bernhardt‘: Double pink flower
- ‘Shirley Temple’: Double white flower