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Peonies – a Floral Favorite & Garden Classic

peonies

Peonies are among our most beloved perennial flowers, and have been for quite some time. In fact, Peonies can live for a hundred years or more if undisturbed, and are often passed down through generations. With longevity like that, it really is no surprise that Peonies have such a rich and interesting history.

Did you know? Peonies got their name from Greek Mythology.

The origins of the name Peonia can be traced back to Greek mythology. Named after Paeon, a student of Asclepius who was the Greek god of healing and medicine. After Asclepius became dangerously jealous of his pupil’s healing skills, Zeus changed Paeon into a Peony plant to save his life.

A plant with medicinal properties.

Long ago, Peonies were well known and used for their medicinal properties in Asia. However, today we love Peonies for their exquisite beauty. Often symbolizing romance, a happy marriage, prosperity, good fortune, honor, and compassion, these timeless beauties have a place in every garden.

There is such a vast number of Peony cultivars, however the most common can be broken down into 3 categories. 

HERBACEOUS PEONY
Blooms lasting from 7-10 days.
Prefer full sun, 6 hours of sun per day.

This is the most common type of Peony. These early to mid-spring bloomers are also one of the easiest perennials to grow. While some might require staking to accommodate their showy blooms, these flowers are a much anticipated event for every Peony gardener. The best part is, while they look incredible in the garden, you can also bring the blooms inside for a fresh cut bouquet!

TREE PEONY
Blooms lasting up to 14 days.
Prefer part sun to light shade during the hottest part of the day.

Early bloomers, Tree Peonies are woody, deciduous, shrub versions of the Herbaceous Peony. While a Herbaceous peony stays compact and low to the ground, a Tree Peony can grow up to 4-7’ tall and 4-5’ wide. They feature large, prolific blooms that can grow up to 10” across!

ITOH PEONY
Blooms last for 3-4 weeks.
Prefer full sun, 6 hours of sun per day.

If you are looking for a Peony with the prolific blooms and up-right habit of a Tree Peony but would prefer something more like a Herbaceous Peony, you are in luck! Itoh Peony is a hybrid of the two and doesn’t require any staking. Itoh has dense, lobe-shaped foliage on sturdy stalks that lasts until fall, with a bounty of spectacular, large blooms. Some varieties even offer a second blooming!

Peonies come in many different flower forms and in every color except for blue.

PEONY FLOWER FORMS

  • Single 
  • Japanese 
  • Anemone
  • Semi-Double
  • Double
  • Bomb

With so many flower forms and growth habits, there really is a Peony for everyone!

Did you know? You can easily preserve your Peony blooms into summer.

Not ready to let your beautiful blooms go? Preserving Peony flowers is super easy, allowing you to enjoy your spring flowers well into summer! You’ll just need to create some extra room in your fridge.

  1. Choose and cut your Peony stems. Choose buds that are soft, like a fluffy marshmallow. Cut them just above a set of leaves. It’s best to give yourself a little extra length to arrange your flowers, and to re-trim the stems later when freshening your vase water and giving them a fresh dose of cut flower fertilizer.
  2. Place your Peony buds in a large, plastic, resealable bag. Make sure to press the extra air out of the bag and properly seal it to preserve the flower bud.
  3. When you are ready to arrange your bouquet, give the stems a fresh cut with your pruners on an angle. Arrange them in a vase filled with room temperature water and a healthy dose of cut flower fertilizer.

It’s as easy as that! Now you can enjoy your Peony blooms in the garden and in your home long into summer!

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