Family: Paeoniaceae

Common Name: ABC's of Peony's


A hardy medium sized perennial that blooms end of May through June depending on the variety Peony has been used in the America's since the days of Thomas Jefferson and has regained popularity in the last 50 years.

Plant TypePerennials Hardy
Hardiness Zone(3)4-7(8)
SunlightNeeds full sun for best flower production. Will tolerate some shade but the amount of flowers may diminish.
Soil & Siteaverage, fertilize in early spring and fall
TemperaturePeonies grow best in the cool temperate climates.
FlowersClassified as singles, doubles, semi-doubles and Japanese and come in many different colors. Starts blooming end of May into June and by end of June most are done. Large 2"-8" flowers.
LeavesForms a small herbaceous bush with green foliage. Some varieties have excellent fall foliage color.
DimensionsDepending on the type the will reach approximately 3’ in height by 3' in spread and space 3' on center.
MaintenanceAlthough with a lot of TLC, I have moved Peonies in full bloom, the best time for transplanting is when they are dormant in the fall. Care should be taken to plant the crowns no deeper than 2". Most Peony need some support such as grow through supports or Peony rings to prevent them from lodging during flowering. Nothing is sadder than to see beautiful plants in full bloom, sprawling on the ground after a rain. Peony should be deadheaded after blooming. Usually but not always if you have Peony's you have ants.
PropagationThe easiest why to increase this plant is too divide in the early fall when the plant is dormant. The divisions should each have 3 or more eyes. It takes many years to get a Peony to bloom from seed and if the parent was a hybrid the offspring’s will be different. At my nursery we used to pot up dormant divisions at the end of September early October for next years sales.
Misc FactsThe history of the Peony dates back to 77 AD when it was used for medicinal purposes. Domesticated in the seventh century in China and became established as a border plant in England by 1375. Peony was named after Paeon, a Greek physician of antiquity.
Author's NotesOn a landscape job we were building a rather large landscape timber retaining wall. At one end was a large Peony that needed to be moved. When I found out that the grandma we were doing this project for got the plant from her mother. It was over 50 years old. Hence we reconfigured the wall around the plant. No guts at that point of my landscaping career. I grew up seeing Peonies around the neighborhood. They always added nice garden color in June.
Notes & Reference#67-Peony Outdoors and Indoors, #160-Peonies (Allan Rodgers)
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