Peony Flower: How to Identify, Care, and Grow Peony Bush Types, Full Blooms

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | April 2, 2024

Woman in a grassy field wonders if there is a peony flower guide that shows red, purple, pink, white peonies and more, and thinks about how to grow peony bush for full blooms, care tips and peony identification charts that might help.

The Peony Flower is in full bloom from early April to June and has an outward appearance similar to some types of roses with satiny petals in red, light pink to deep rose, white, and pastel yellows.

Over the last few decades, the Peony Flower has become a gardening favorite that’s simple to grow and easy to appreciate in any floral setting.

Some of them are stunning, and others are so voluminous that they seem to be bursting with petals awash with incredibly heady fragrances, while others are subtly scented.

There are between 25 to 40 different varieties, hundreds of cultivars, but 6 main types, each as amazing as the last. Those are the Anemone, Japanese, Single, Semi-double, Double, and the Bomb which is an eruption of petals all at the same time crammed into one small flower head.

In this article, you’ll be able to read and choose which ones are your new favorites as well as learn some planting and care tips that will ensure that your flowers bloom beautifully.



Peony Flower in oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Paeoniaceae
  • Leaf: Compound
  • Seed: Jet black, tan-colored, small, and oval
  • Blossoms: In late spring. Colors from white to purple
  • Native Habitat: Asia, North America, Europe
  • Height: 1 to 11 feet tall
  • Canopy: 2 to 3 feet spread
  • Type: Herbaceous perennials
  • Native Growing Zone: USDA hardiness zone 8 to 9. Full sun, moist and fertile soil.

The Peony Plant: What Is a Peony Flower?

Peonies have been a staple in gardens across the United States and across the world for at least the last four thousand years, making them one of the first cultivated flowers known to man.

Some of the main reasons these plants have stayed relevant for such a long time are their lovely scents, amazing colors, the ease of maintaining them, and even the impressive size of the blossoms.

But they weren’t always so well known in America.

Over the course of four millennia, the Peony Flower has been cultivated and hybridized to be even more diverse.

But, what is a Peony Flower?

Graphic showing Peony Flower identification and best growing zones with Peony Flower seeds, Peony Flower seed pods, Peony Flower, and Peony Flower leaf images in circle frames.

The heads of the flowers that typically only had five or 10 petals encircling the center have been freshly created so they grow double the amount of petals so that they appear even more voluminous.

The variety cultivated by plant breeders has elevated this already showy flower to another level.

Unfortunately, the short bloom time of just 2-3 weeks hasn’t been extended and still remains a drawback of Peony Flowers.

The only solution for this incredibly short flowering period was for horticulturists to manipulate the genes of the plants so that they would flower at varying times throughout the growing season.1

When these types of flowers are strategically selected, a garden planted with these variations will be filled with their colorful blossoms all through spring and into early summer.

What Does a Peony Flower Look Like? How To Identify Peony Flowers (Peony Flower Leaves)

Peonies can either be herbaceous perennials or tiny shrubs that grow up to 3 feet in height.

The Peony Flower leaves are opposite one another, and one technique to tell peony varieties apart is by counting their lobes along the stem as some of them have deeply split lobes.

They can be waxy and smooth or soft and flexible.

Now you may ask, what does a Peony Flower look like or how to identify Peony Flowers?

The large flowers can measure up to an impressive 10 inches wide and typically contain five to ten petals. Cultivated versions bred to be better can often have many more and just appear to be bursting with life.

Closeup shot of pink Peony plant showing a bee on a peony flower with pink petals.

(Image: blende2219)

You can find red, purple, white, yellow, and pink flowers, as well as a few standout colors that when combined make excellent bouquets.

Peonies are easily recognizable by the large number of golden stamens bunched together at the flower’s core, and each flower is monoecious, meaning that it has the ability to self-reproduce.

Each bloom has both male and female organs, but still relies on pollinators to a certain degree to connect the dots as they flit or buz around the flower. Despite this dependency, at least it doesn’t have to rely on another plant to transfer the pollen to the ovules as it is all done in-house.

Once contact is made, the female eggs develop into edible arils that also attract different types of butterflies, birds, insects, and small animals foraging for food.2

Growing Zones for Peony Flower: Where To Grow and When To Plant Peonies for Full Blooms

Timing and location are crucial components to getting bigger and more vibrant peonies, so they look their blooming best.

The good news is that peonies are low-maintenance, easy-to-grow plants that don’t need professionally trained green thumbs to make them thrive and survive.

Consider the following advice before and after planting.

  • The growing zones for Peony Flower (where to grow) are between USDA hardiness zones 3 and 8, and, believe it or not, colder climates are ideal for their development and their ability to bloom fully. Always bear this in mind if you are attempting to grow them in hardiness zones 9 and up, as they will simply not do well and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle or a losing one.
  • Loose, fertile, and well-drained soil is the ideal medium for peonies. Even so, at planting time, amend your soil with compost and an all-purpose fertilizer to greatly increase its quality, create aeration, and prevent the soil from becoming too wet or too compacted over time.
  • As the plants are hardy enough to withstand frost, when to plant peonies is 3 weeks before the average last frost in your area has melted away. Planting time for peonies in containers allows a greater degree of flexibility throughout the growth season.
  • Expose them to at least 6 hours of sunshine per day. Plant your peonies in a spot that gets as much direct sunlight as possible for optimal flowering, or if in a container, place it where it can achieve its full amount of sunbathing hours.
  • Apply a good amount of water, more in the hot summer months, but be wary of overwatering if the soil is slow at draining.

How To Grow Peonies: Growing a Peony Flower From a Seed

Peonies come in three different forms:

  • Herbaceous: Compact plants placed in beds and borders
  • Intersectional: Short trees or shrubs that grow to a maximum height of 3-4 feet and can survive the winter
  • Tree: A hybrid of the tree and the herbaceous plants that are slightly longer-lasting with blooms of even more color intensities.3

Harvesting viable seeds in August will be the optimal time for implantation, but bear in mind that peonies grown from seed may look very similar to the parent plant, but they won’t be genetically identical.

This variation is not visibly noticeable so is no cause for concern unless you are either a perfectionist or, a perfectionist.

Over fifty seeds can be produced from a single pod and any damaged ones should be carefully separated and discarded as they will not sprout.

Peony seeds have a twofold dormancy; an embryo surrounded by a hard outer shell. In order for a seed to germinate, air and water must be able to reach the embryo beneath the seed coat.

Starting peony seeds can be done in a variety of ways.

If you opt for planting and growing a peony flower from a seed in spring, don’t expect them to sprout and grow into anything until the following year. If you want to see results in that first spring, plant tan-colored seeds.

The dormancy level is set by the seed itself, but growers are able to manipulate this stage and shorten the dormancy period considerably by a process called scarification.

This is a technique used for removing the protective seed covering by gently dragging a file across the surface just enough to score it. This will allow oxygen and moisture to reach the latent embryo and kickstart the germination process to grow them into trees or shrubs.4

Preparing Peony Flower Seeds

Here are the steps to follow when preparing Peony Flower seeds:

  • After a week of letting seed pods cure in a brown paper bag in a cool and dry location, crack open the seed pods with care.
  • Remove the seeds and place them in a plastic bag containing moistened vermiculite or fine sand.
  • For just a few hours, store the bag where the temperature is as high as 80°F.
  • For the next 4-12 weeks, the bag will need to be kept inside a refrigerator where the temperature is about 40°F so the seeds can undergo cold stratification after being scored with a file.
  • Whichever seed starts to show mini roots first can be removed and the others left in place for up to 3 months or until they start to show.

The germinated Peony Flower seeds can then be transplanted into containers and grown either indoors with artificial lighting or outdoors after being gradually exposed to sunshine. When it comes to how to grow peonies when young, care must be taken when planting because the exposed rootlet is easily damaged.

How Long It Takes To Grow Peony Flowers Into Seedlings

When you’re ready to sow the seeds, use a recommended starting soil for containers and amend the garden if sowing directly outside with a bit of sand, perlite, or aged bark for improving drainage.

You can either use a seed bed or pots of 10-12 inches in diameter with adequate drainage holes and preferably made of clay to start your plants.

  • Plant seeds 2 inches deep with the shoots pointing downward, and 2 inches apart.
  • Pick a spot outside that gets some shade and some sun, or place the pot on a shelf where it can get both.
  • Water thoroughly.
  • Mulch the seeds to a depth of 3 to 5 inches outside to keep squirrels from eating them and maintain this during the winter.

Now that the seeds are planted it is worth knowing how long it takes to grow Peony Flower.

It might take up to 4 years before you see a flower from your plant but hopefully sooner due to the accelerated stratification process is used.5 It is possible to witness a little green branch peek from the soil in the spring if the conditions are favorable, or 2 growing seasons if it’s not quite warm enough.

And then, young plants can be transplanted to a more permanent place in the fall.

Growing a Peony Flower From a Seedling

The Peony Flower does not generally grow to its best self in containers so should be transplanted into a more suitable location outside when it’s ready to escape the confines of a pot.

The depth at which you plant your peonies is critical for future growth.

Locating two buds on the rootball which resemble eyes will tell you how deep you should plant the tree.

They have to be left below the level of the topsoil to enable them to flower the following year. So, whatever you do, don’t bury them too deeply.

  • Pick a spot that gets a minimum of 5 to 6 hours of sunlight a day but preferably more.
  • Dig several holes about 18 inches deep and if planting more than one seedling, space them at least 3 to 5 feet apart.
  • Bury the rootball up to its eyes with a maximum of 2 inches above them.
  • Backfill the hole and gently tamp down the amended soil to remove any air pockets.
  • Apply a fair amount of water but don’t overdo it. Wet but don’t drown.
  • Spread a layer of mulch around taking care so it’s not touching the base.
  • During the growing season, you should water your young plants every other month and feed them a moderate liquid fertilizer.

Tree peony seedlings reach a height of over 6 inches and develop genuine leaves in their second year. In the third or fourth year after planting, the seedlings usually begin flowering.

If growing from seeds is too slow or you prefer a different method than growing a peony flower from a seedling, you can always learn how to do it from a cutting.

Growing a Peony Flower From a Cutting

By growing a peony flower from a cutting to reproduce a peony plant, you can ensure that its unique qualities will be maintained and perfectly replicated, and the drawn-out process of stratification can be avoided.

Propagating new plants from a cutting will often result in earlier maturity than starting a plant from seed.6

Although cuttings can be taken from just about anywhere on the plant, it’s more common to utilize a stem.

  • Use a clean pair of shears to cut a 2 to 6-inch long stem cutting at an angle just below a node that has at least three whole leaf pairs.
  • Remove the lowest leaves and/or buds by slicing them off at the node.
  • Start at the base of the cutting and remove half to two-thirds of the leaves.
  • Dip the cut end into a rooting hormone.
  • Create a hole in a container filled with moist rooting mix, and push the cutting inside.
  • Put the plant in a plastic bag to retain moisture, but don’t let the bag touch the foliage.
  • Keep the container out of direct sunlight but in a warm, bright area where it will get a fair amount of shade during the day.
  • Check the moisture level of the rooting mix every few days and add water if necessary.
  • Water that accumulates at the bottom of the bag should be discarded.
  • After a few weeks, carefully raise the cutting with your hand and observe if any roots have grown.
  • Recoat the cutting back into the mix, rebag it, and check for roots again in a week or two if none have formed.
  • Once roots have grown, untie the plastic bag and gradually open it each day to reduce the humidity.
  • Plant in high-quality potting soil and transfer to its permanent home after it begins to thrive outside of a plastic bag.
  • Keep the cutting well-watered and in a warm, bright spot that is protected from direct sunshine.

You will know when new roots have formed as you will encounter a slight resistance when you tug on the cutting. At this stage, you can either transplant the peony plant outside or into a larger pot.

Of course, you may find it more convenient and faster to purchase a mature peony plant from a nursery that is already housed in a container and that is at least five years old so that it will begin flowering in its first year.

But where’s the satisfaction in that?

When Do Peonies Bloom (Peony Season)?

If you’re wondering, “When do Peonies bloom?” the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere cause Peony Flowers to bloom in the months of November through to January, whereas, in the Northern Hemisphere, the Peony season period typically starts in late April or early May and continues through to June.

Types of Peony Flowers (Peony Bush Specimens)

There are hundreds of peonies and hundreds more cultivars of each type.

Botanists have created purple flowers that are lightly colored or so deep as to be almost black, blue flowers that are more lilac, and types of white flowers that have myriad shades of white. All of these cultivated plants are able to grow in different planting zones around the world.7

Here are just 20 of them that bloom in all those amazing colors and are simply stunning.

Pink Peony Flowers

These flowers are tinged with various shades of pink that are delicate, almost blushing as they crowd around the often colorful central stamen. Some of the pink Peony Flowers are big and bold, without being overpowering but all of them are subtle and captivating.

Graphic showing different pink Peony Flowers like Do Tell, Bowl of Beauty, Sarah Bernhardt, Shirley Temple, and Karl Rosenfield.

Common NameScientific NameTypeHeightUSDA Hardiness Zone
#1 Do TellPaeonia lactiflora ‘Do Tell’Herbaceous Perennial2 to 3 feet tall3 to 8
#2 Bowl of BeautyPaeonia lactiflora ‘Bowl of Beauty’Herbaceous Perennial2 to 3 feet tall3 to 8
#3 Sarah BernhardtPaeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’Herbaceous Perennial2 to 3 feet tall3 to 8
#4 Shirley TemplePaeonia lactiflora ‘Shirley Temple’Herbaceous Perennial2 to 3 feet tall3 to 8
#5 Karl RosenfieldPaeonia lactiflora ‘Karl Rosenfield’Herbaceous Perennial2 to 3 feet tall3 to 8

White Peony Flowers (White Peony)

Pure white Peony flowers or ivory-white flowers with a sprinkling of color daubed in the center or along the overlapping petals are grown for their beauty in the garden and to elevate the appearance of displays in a vase, or bouquets for a special occasion.

Graphic showing different white Peony Flowers like Festiva Maxima Peony, Class Act Peony, Honey Gold, Charles White, and Krinkled White.

Common NameScientific NameTypeHeightUSDA Hardiness Zone
#6 Festiva Maxima PeonyPaeonia lactiflora ‘Festiva Maxima’8Herbaceous Perennial2-3 feet tall3 to 8
#7 Class Act PeonyPaeonia lactiflora ‘Class Act’Herbaceous Perennial2-3 feet tall3 to 8
#8 Honey GoldPaeonia lactiflora ‘Honey Gold’Herbaceous Perennial2 to 3 feet tall3 to 8
#9 Charles WhitePaeonia lactiflora ‘Charles White’Herbaceous Perennial2 to 3 feet tall2 to 9
#10 Krinkled WhitePaeonia lactiflora ‘Krinkled White’Herbaceous Perennial2 to 3 feet tall3 to 8

Peony Purple Flowers

For some gardeners, including purple Peony Flowers in their landscape is a foreign idea, reds, whites, or pinks are the norm. Which is a shame. These dark blossoms add a degree of contrast and depth that is nothing short of spectacular.

Graphic showing different purple Peony Flowers like Cardinal Vaughan, Morning Lilac, Pastel Splendor, Visions of Sugar Plums, and Nightlife.

Common NameScientific NameTypeHeightUSDA Hardiness Zone
#11 Cardinal VaughanPaeonia lactiflora ‘Cardinal Vaughan’Deciduous tree5 to 7 feet tall5 to 8
#12 Morning LilacPaeonia x ‘Morning Lilac’Herbaceous perennial92 to 3 feet tall3 to 8
#13 Pastel SplendorPaeonia x ‘Pastel Splendor’Hybrid Perennial2 to 3 feet tall3 to 8
#14 Visions of Sugar PlumsPaeonia Itoh ‘Visions of Sugar Plums’Hybrid Deciduous Perennial2 to 3 feet tall4 to 7
#15 NightlifePaeonia lactiflora ’Black Beauty’Hybrid Perennial3 to 4 feet tall3 to 8

Peony Yellow Flowers

Similar to white flowers, yellow blooms brighten a garden or the interior of a household immediately as the early morning sun breaks the horizon, and are always the first choice for special occasions.

Graphic showing different yellow Peony FLowers like Going Bananas, Lollipop Itoh, High Noon, Yellow Crown, and Misaka.

Common NameScientific NameTypeHeightUSDA Hardiness Zone
#16 Going BananasPaeonia ‘Going Bananas’Perennial2 to 3 feet tall3 to 9
#17 Lollipop ItohPaeonia ‘Lollipop’Perennial2 to 3 feet tall3 to 8
#18 High NoonPaeonia suffruticosa ‘High Noon’Perennial4 to 5 feet tall4 to 9
#19 Yellow CrownPaeoniaPerennial2 to 3 feet tall5
#20 MisakaPaeonia ‘Smith Opus 1’Herbaceous Perennial3 to 4 feet tall4 to 8

The list of cultivars and hybris of the Peony Flower is extensive.

There is no reason why you should stick to the traditional ones when planning a new landscape conversion.

Why not experiment? Not just with the colors, but with sizes, and shapes, mixing different shades of the same color, and here are just a few notables that are worth mentioning.

  • Paeonia ‘Coral Charm’
  • Paeonia ‘Bartzella’
  • Peony Joker
  • Paeonia anomala
  • Peony ‘Kansas’
  • Peony Chocolate Soldier
  • Paeonia Fern Leaf
  • Paeonia Green Halo
  • Paeonia Miss America
  • Paeonia Old Faithful
  • Paeonia White Cap
  • Paeonia Red Charm

Peony Flower Growth Rate for Tree Peonies

The tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) is an alternative to their herbaceous counterparts because the Peony Flower growth rate is faster and its structure remains intact year after year, but to call them trees is not entirely accurate.10

Graphic representation of Peony Flower growth chart showing a Peony Flower on a line graph with Peony Flower year on x-axis and height on y-axis, as well as different growth stages of Peony Flower from emerginf growth, leaf growth, foliage growth, up to flowering stage.

They are essentially large shrubs that grow up to about 5 feet tall and differ from the herbaceous types in 4 ways:

  1. The branches and twigs survive above ground year-round.
  2. The flowers bloom about 2 weeks earlier.
  3. Instead of just blooming approximately 40 flowers, tree peonies can grow over 100 per season.
  4. The heads of the flowers are generally bigger, 25 cm in diameter compared to 15 cm on the peony shrub.

Here are just a few of them that can be planted to reinvigorate your landscape for months on end.

Peony ‘Duchess of Kent’

Double blooms, red stems, red leaf stalks, and a refreshing color that is a mix of red and pink to brighten any size or garden design.

Grows to a height of 4 feet.

Peony ‘Reine Elizabeth’

Enchanting double rows of pink petals that are quite large, and when in the middle of the season the tree just seems full of life, attracting pollinators and the appreciation of human onlookers.

Grows to a height of 4 feet.

Peony ‘Shimane Sedai’

A bright yellow stamen is surrounded by layer after layer of bright pink petals classed as semi-double. As the flower matures throughout the season, its density increases just as the number of petals increases to fill it out even more impressively.

Grows to a height of 4 feet.

Peony ‘Kronos’

So red that it is described as being crimson, Kronos thrives in zones 4 to 8 and attracts butterflies and curious human onlookers like bees to nectar.

Grows to a height of up to 5 feet.

Peony ‘Shimanishiki’

The petals of this flower appear to be a mix of red, pink, and white as they curl inwards to cover the bright yellow stamen. Very elegant, fragrant, and eye-catching.

Grows to a height of 4 feet.

Peony ‘Showanohokori’

The bright yellow centers of these exquisite peonies are set off by tiny black marks at the base of the wide petals that have a colorful mix of purple and pink.

Grows to a height of 4 feet.

Peony Care (Watering Needs for Peony Flower Plants)

Peony bushes, unlike rose bushes that they bear a striking resemblance to, do not need to be pruned to within an inch of their lives. Damage or illness, however, can create a haphazard growth pattern that may need pruning.11

Herbaceous peonies should be pruned down to the last 4 to 6 inches of the stem at the conclusion of the growth season before they go dormant for the winter.

The development of a young peony is slow, and it takes them a few years to get started, bloom, and expand to their full potential with large bobbing flower heads.

A compost fertilizer should be used in the early part of the summer after the peonies have flowered and you’ve deadheaded the blooms if your soil is poor. Fertilize every several years after that, but any more often than this will not be necessary.

Peonies don’t do well if fussed over, preferring just a casual level of care and maintenance.

Probably the one flaw that peonies have is that their stems aren’t always sturdy enough to hold up their massive flowers, so staking may be required as a support structure to prevent the plant from damaging itself.

Closeup of a Peony flower plant showing a top shot of a yellow peony on a flower stalk and green leaves in the background.

(Image: Mohan Nannapaneni20)

If they haven’t been cut away to be placed in a vase indoors and they start to lose their luster, the Peony Flowers can be deadheaded as they begin to fade in the fall and remove all the leaves to prevent illnesses from overwintering.

Also, resist the urge to pile a mountain of mulch around your peonies in an effort to protect them as it’s not needed. For the first winter after planting, pine needles or shredded bark can be spread very lightly if you live in an area that experiences extremely cold winters.

At the first signs of spring, all the mulch can be removed.

And then, after five years of continuous regrowth, prune out suckers from the shrub’s core to flatten growth and improve air circulation.

The watering needs for Peony Flower plants are sparing; they don’t need a lot of water. In fact, getting too much water might kill the plant.

During dormancy, Peony care will require no watering at all, but if spring rolls around without rain for two weeks, start watering your peony shrub with a sense of urgency.

Then, throughout the dry summer months, water thoroughly once each week to ensure your plants are healthy and hydrated for the next year, and keep watering them even after they’ve finished flowering.

Winter mulching with organic materials like pine needles or shredded bark may help them survive in extremely cold areas, but remove mulch from around the trunk and prune the leaves of the plant in early spring to make way for new growth.

If you’re cultivating Peony Flowers in Zone 4 and the colder areas of Zone 5, consider protecting them with burlap.

Looking after your peony plants in the winter or during hot summers will virtually guarantee that your precious peonies will continue blooming for the next 100 years. Baring insect infestations and diseases, that is.

Common Pests of the Peony Flower (Natural Pest Control for Peony Flower)

Some pests problematic to Peony Flowers are nematodes, scales, and thrips. These common pests of the Peony Flower injure the plant to different degrees, attacking from the core of the roots to the tips of the flowers.


These microorganisms, known as Foliar Nematodes, consume plant tissue from the inside out and are hard to spot.

A particularly nasty one is the Aphelenchoides fragariae which can only move about on the exterior of plants if there is a thin coating of water for them to walk on, but this doesn’t slow them down in the least.

Microscopical view of Nematodes on a Peony Leaf.

(Image: Matthew Borden, DPM, Bartlett Tree Experts22)

Just a small sheen of moisture enables them to feast further afield, moving from bud to bud until they can attack the leaves as well. These 0.5 mm pests cause stunting, curling, and spots of discoloration in their wake.

Even when the surface of the buds seems to be undamaged, slicing into them will reveal the ugly truth of the rot inside the tissue.

The only method of controlling them is by snipping away any infected parts and disposing of them, but if you fear that there may be root nematodes as well, uprooting and destroying the entire plant is the best option.12

Then, before planting anything else in that spot, turn over the soil repeatedly to expose it to sunlight and then add organic compost to dissuade the return of the nematodes.


Unfortunately, the Peony Flower is only one of several garden plants that this pest seems so delighted to devour every spring as they put on new growth.

Even though these insects are hard to spot individually and cause minimal harm, en masse they cause the leaves to seem dull or silvery as they bite into them and drain the fluids out of them, spreading infectious viruses at the same time.

As a result, the flowering buds become misshapen and fail to open, and the petals take on a discolored, deformed appearance that is far from attractive.

They can be easy to spot, as can the damage they cause, and can be permanently removed by the use of insecticidal soap, which is a natural repellant, or the use of parasitic wasps to hunt them down, an even more natural pest control for Peony Flower.

Scales and Mealybugs

These two tiny insects, 2-6 mm long, are separate entities, one scaled and the other shaped more like a gnat. They are both attracted by the fluids in the leaves which fall off once they have been drained dry.

An effective method to eliminate either of them is a dose of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil or the use of a cloth dampened with a touch of alcohol.

How To Stop Peony Flower Disease (Peony Flower Disease Prevention)

When a plant is considered to be ‘easy to grow’ the immediate thought is that it will be easy to care for, maintenance-free. That is not always the case.

Even the best and most hardy plants can be prone to being infected by diseases that they didn’t see coming.13

But what can be done to prevent the infections in the first place and how to stop Peony Flower disease?

Here are some of the most common diseases of Peony Flower:

  • Powdery Mildew
  • Phytophthora Blight
  • Southern Blight
  • Botrytis Blight
  • Bacterial Blight
  • White Mold
  • Verticillium Wilt14

Some diseases can simply be cosmetically damaging while others can be harmful and deadly.

To minimize the chances of viral or fungal infections, here are some Peony Flower disease prevention tips:

  • Ensure that the plants are exposed to the required 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day, and provide adequate shelter from heavy winds and torrential rains so that the flowers do not become besieged by nature.
  • Good soil drainage and air movement between the plants are essential to enable the leaves and flowers to dry out, and the roots not to become bogged down in pools of water.
  • Avoid overhead watering that wets the leaves and flowers.
  • When watering, do so in the early hours so the peonies are completely dry by nightfall to avoid accidentally creating a breeding ground for pathogenic fungi.
  • Maintain an ideal humidity level in the soil while protecting the plant from excess moisture by spreading mulch around the base.
  • Integrate organic matter into the soil, and clear away any debris, dead leaves, twigs, or weeds.
  • If fungi are detected, excising and throwing away any contaminated part is recommended to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Regular inspections should be conducted, along with the periodic usage of organic fungicides made from neem oil and water, or the spreading of sulfur powder on the soil.

Companion Plants For Growing Peony Flower

Caring for and growing your peony plants can and should go hand in hand starting from inception, from the first moment you decided that your garden just couldn’t go another season without them.

This process can encompass selecting the right and precise colors to liven up your landscape, or the options of which to choose could be dependent on when the Peony bulbs will blossom.

Graphics of companion plants for growing Peony Flowers showing Hydrangea, Alliums, Lavender, Lupins, and Creeping Jenny.

No matter which type of peony you intend to plant, mixing and matching them with other plants can contribute towards how successfully they grow and how much time you have to dedicate to keeping them healthy, and pest-free.

Integrating the best companion plants for growing peony flowers from the start or even later on is a smart method of interplanting different types of plants that get along with and will even help out their peony neighbors.

Always choose them based on their ability to do well in the same living conditions as the peonies so they will not require any extra special treatment such as watering and sun exposure.

If they are hardy and require less of everything and do well in all types of soils, even better, less work for you.

Something to bear in mind is to implant other species that will maintain their blooms longer than peonies and this will help your garden look more well-rounded. One species that is ideal for this are daylilies and roses.15

Long after the peonies have lost their colorful blooms, a daylily or a rose will continue the colorful display for just a while longer.

But companion plants are not solely used for this purpose.

Beneficial insects may be attracted, pests can be repelled, water can be conserved, and soil structure can be improved with the help of companion plants. Incorporate a few from the list below and your peonies will forever be in your debt.

Creeping Jenny

As a creeping groundcover, it helps to keep the soil moist and reduce the number of weeds around your peonies, when you use an app that will help you identify weeds by photo that will clearly show which types will compete aggressively for the slightest trace of water.


Hydrangeas are an excellent addition as they not only provide colorful flowers once the blooms of your peony have faded to nothing, but they all act as a lure for wasps and ladybugs who will hunt and eradicate invasive pests that are intending to do harm to your peonies.


Incorporating these round, colorful flowers in and around your peonies will not only add a new dimension. Also known as ornamental onions, they don’t require much space and are adept at attracting pollinators and insects that gleefully hunt down harmful pests.


With a color range from purple to cream, lupins grow taller than peonies and are ideally placed as a framing backdrop to complete the picturesque ambiance of the garden. They also imbue the soil with nitrogen that they draw from the air which will benefit all the plants in the vicinity.


The presence of these flowering herbs attracts colorful butterflies and lively pollinators. How they repel harmful insect invaders is by their smell alone. They have a scent that pests find repulsive and planting them around your Peony Flowers adds contrasting or complimentary colors depending on your tastes.

Interplanting them will save you time from regularly having to install pest control measures.

Mint, marigolds, and onions are just a few more auto-repelling plants that nature has provided that are worth considering to have a pest-free, and hassle-free zone in your landscape.16

Just remember, that In order to promote healthy air circulation, a peony plant needs at least a foot of space around it, ideally 3 to 4.

Peony Flower Facts

One of the best ways to describe Peony Flowers is to say that they are bursting with life, and are a stylish addition to wedding bouquets and floral arrangements.

Some of the peonies, especially the purple flowers, are so rich in their intensity, while others are subtle and muted.

There is something for everyone and a flower for every occasion, yet there is still so much more to learn about the show-stopping Peony Flower.

Closeup of a Peony Flower showing petals with tinge of pink in the center and pure white petals around it.

(Image: Denise Davis23)

Here are some Peony Flower facts:

  • Peonies have been traced back 4,000 years to the Tang Dynasty of China but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that their popularity skyrocketed in the United States.
  • So big was the impact in Indiana, that the state adopted the peony as the official flower in 1957.
  • Peonies can survive only up to 7 days in a vase.
  • The bulbs can be refrigerated for 3 months to enable them to be grown out of season.
  • Parts of the plant can be used to treat inflammation, and traditional Chinese medicinal practitioners have utilized aspects of the roots and seeds as remedies for asthma, headaches, and convulsions.
  • Over 40% of the cut flowers in the world are supplied from the Netherlands.
  • In the United States, Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas are some of the states that grow the most peonies.
  • In China, there is a city called Luoyan that is known as the peony city because of the peony garden there and the yearly festival it holds.
  • There are 2 peonies, the Coral Sunset and the Command Performance Peony, that start the season as one color and end it as another.

Peony Bulbs, Peony Garden Centers, and Planting Tips for Peony Flower Businesses

Flowers are big business.

By 2027, the projection from recent trends is that the value of the floriculture industry is going to rise from $36.4 billion a year to $45.5 billion.

Cut flowers, where the flowers are cut and formed into bouquets and floral decorations, account for a significant portion of that valuation.

Countries such as the Netherlands, the U.S., and Japan are global leaders in the commercialization of flowers, with Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia increasing productivity to meet global demand.

And peonies have been carried along on this tidal wave of a floral revolution.

Where once they were only available for a few months of the year, they are now a year-round regular that captivates flower lovers from all over the world.

Their transition from making a short yearly seasonal springtime appearance to a global icon has catapulted the species to become one of the most popular and sold flowers in the world.

But what, over the last 30 years, had sparked worldwide interest in the Peony Flower that had already been around for thousands of years?

The answer lies in Israel and a process called vernalization.17

It was 35 years ago that an Israeli gardener struck upon the innovative idea to plant peony bulbs in containers and then freeze them.

A bunch of pink Peony bulbs that underwent vernalization to keep peonies fresh for longer periods of time.

(Image: Couleur21)

This simple yet pioneering idea transformed the peony business, ensuring that they could be grown outside the standard spring period, could be transported, and stay fresher for longer.

Peonies are a perishable commodity, and the fresher they arrive at their destination, the higher the price tag they will command.

Insatiable consumers were more than keen to pay the extra price associated with this new technique for preserving the Peony Flower, especially as it made peonies accessible for purchase throughout the year.

Special occasions demand special flowers that are at their freshest, and anything less will have dissatisfied customers and reduced profit margins.

Commercial growers, even in countries where the weather is favorable for plant growth, are adopting the use of greenhouses to have greater control over the environment and thwart weather unpredictability that can affect production and cost them money.

Any breakdown in the supply chain, whether from the grower, wholesalers, transport companies, or importation is unacceptable to a nursery or garden center who then have to sell to their consumers which means that the two planting tips for Peony Flower business mentioned above are important.

Knowing how to choose and grow the bushes and plants will ensure that your Peony flower garden blooms will be healthy and beautiful during the summer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Peony Flower

What Is the Best Season When To Plant Peony Flower for the Best Yield?

Knowing when to plant Peony Flower for the best yield is important when you want your plant to have lots of flowers. Planting them towards the end of spring or in the fall is the best time to get the most desired results.

Are Peonies Perennials?

If you’re wondering, “Are Peonies perennials?” Yes, they are perennials.

How Big Do Peonies Get?

To answer the question, how big do Peonies get? Peonies grow between 2 to 4 feet tall.

Do Peonies Need Full Sun? How Much Sunlight Does Peony Flower Need Each Day?

To answer the question, how much sunlight does Peony Flower need each day, Peonies require about 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. So, do Peonies need full sun, “Definitely!”

What Is the Best Distance on How Far Apart To Plant Peony Flowers?

Whenever planting peonies, the best distance on how far apart to plant Peony Flower is about 3-4 feet.

What Are the Best Growing Conditions for Peony Flowers? What Is the Peony Flower Growing Zone?

Fertile, well-draining soil with full sun creates the best-growing conditions for Peony flowers.18 Additionally, the best Peony Flower growing zones are from zones 3 to 8.

What Is the Peony Flower Symbolism?

The most common Peony Flower symbolisms are good fortune, love, and happiness.


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20Photo by Mohan Nannapaneni. Pexels. Retrieved from <>

21Photo by Couleur. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

22Foliar nematode (Aphelenchoides fragariae) on Paeonia suffruticosa Photo by Matthew Borden, DPM, Bartlett Tree Experts / Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

23Photo by Denise Davis

24Species Information Image: Pink flower in tilt shift lens Photo by Mr. Great Heart. (2020, June 6) / Unsplash License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Unsplash. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from <>