12 Lovely Types of Peonies

12 Lovely Types of Peonies

Peony flowers are captivating. All peony species consist of five or more outer petals and a center of stamens, but their flower forms differ in beautiful ways.

You will find peony species with characteristic single or double blooms and many more flower types. This variety, among other things, sets them apart from other flowers like daisies, irises, and poppies.

With so many peony variations, you may be confused about which one to pick as a gift or to decorate your home. To help you out, we’ll discuss some lovely types of peonies in this guide.

But first, let’s get to know this flower better.

Basic Information about Peonies

Peonies are known for their huge, showy flowers, and they belong to the genus Paeonia. This genus is made up of 30 species of blooming plants classified under the family Paeoniaceae.

Except for two species, all peonies came from Asia and Europe. The flower dates back to 1000 BC, growing out of a garden in China.

Since then, it has become very popular as ornamental and cut flowers and is now commercially available worldwide.

Most peonies give a majestic flower show from late spring to early summer. Not all of them, though, have the same flowering duration, size, and kind.

And so they are grouped into three categories, namely, tree, Itoh, and herbaceous. Let’s now take a closer look at each of them:

The Different Types of Peonies

1) Tree Peonies

Tree peonies grow enormous blossoms of 7 to 10 inches wide and healthy, lively foliage. These plants are native to China and have a woody or branched structure.

Its mature size is 4 to 7 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet across. Each year, it can grow at a rate of about 6 inches.

Plant Needs
Growing zone4 - 9
SunlightFull or partial sun (up to six hours daily)
Blooming timeEarly spring (April to May)
Root depth4 to 6 inches underground

2) Herbaceous Peonies

Herbaceous peonies are very common species making up 30+ peony varieties in the genus. This eye-catching flower stands on long, green stalks from the ground.

A key trait of herbaceous peonies is they die in winter and come back in spring. And impressively, they can flower at the same spot they’re planted on for 50 years or more.

They can also grow in cooler climates as opposed to tree peonies. And they require full sun exposure of 5 to 6 hours every day.

Plant Needs
Growing zone2 - 8
SunlightFull sun (5 to 6 hours daily)
Blooming timeLate spring to early summer (May to June)
Root depth0.5 inches in warmer zones, 2 inches in cooler regions underground

3) Itoh Peonies

Itoh or intersectional peonies are a hybrid of tree and herbaceous peonies.

It blends the elements of a perennial plant, which dies in winter and reemerges in spring, and the large flowers, color spectrum, and hardiness of herbaceous peonies.

Itoh peonies are known for their wonderful foliage from summer to fall. But as they grow shorter, they’re usually fit to be planted in the front of a garden border.

Plant Needs
Growing zone4 - 9
SunlightFull sun (5 to 6 hours daily)
Blooming timeLate spring to early fall (June)
Root depth0.5 inches in warmer zones, 1.5 inches in cooler regions underground

Peony Flower Structures

Apart from their general variety and growing habits, peonies also differ in flower structures:

  • Single – A single peony flower has 5 or more petals and is typically shaped like a saucer. The petals surround the stamens and carpels (ovule-bearing part) in the middle of the flower.
  • Japanese – Originally from Japan, Japanese peonies have staminodes instead of carpels and stamens, which make them bear less or no pollen. They have a single or double row of wide petals.
  • Anemone – This peony flower somewhat resembles the Japanese Anemone. They have sea-anemone-like stamens that produce less or no pollen and have visible carpels in the center.
  • Semi-Double – This flower form is possessed by some of the most elegant peony flowers. As their name suggests, they’re denser than single types but have a lesser number of petals than full-double types.
  • Bomb – Fragrant bomb peonies are shaped like a ball, which gives them their name. Their many inner and outer petals have merged to share the same vibrant color. Also, bomb cultivars can differ in height and spread from 60 to 90 cm.
  • Full-Double – This can be described as the full expression of the peony. A full-double peony has the greatest number of petals, which also give it a pom-pom shape.

Furthermore, the stamens and carpels may not be seen or only slightly visible, as the lush, wonderful petals cover them.

12 Lovely Types of Peonies

Now that you’re familiar with the different peony flower forms, you’re ready to see our list. So here are the 12 lovely types of peonies you can get!

1) Wondrous Delight Peony

Wondrous Delight is a hybrid perennial peony. Its stunning vanilla full-double blooms are its most distinct feature that can impress the beholder. 

It’s relatively easier to care for than other peony species. It thrives in full sunlight and is cold-hardy in USDA hardiness zones of 4 to 7.

However, the flower is quite short and capable of only reaching 2.5 feet at maturity. Nevertheless, it can make your garden border stand out or act as a statement vase piece.

2) Walter Mains Peony

With romantic, cup-shaped, flame-red petals and striking, fluffy red and yellow stamens, Walter Mains is another awesome peony.

It’s a Japanese peony, identifiable for its sterile staminodes that produce no pollen. 

It blooms in the middle of spring and can grow up to 30 to 34 inches tall and wide. Good thing they absolutely don’t require stake support when planted in your garden.

As for its environment, it prefers US growing zones of 3 to 7.

3) Etched Salmon Peony

Etched Salmon Peony

Etched Salmon is another hybrid peony with fabulously wrinkled, double-bloomed, salmon pink petals resembling those of a garden rose.

Upon holding the flower, you can find that its fragrance is light and pleasant. The flower blooms in the middle of the spring and can grow to be 24 to 30 inches in height.

Its dark lovely foliage contrasts well with the pink ball or cup-shaped flower form.

4) Candy Stripe Peony

Candy Stripe peonies come in cream and white with streaks of fuchsia from the sides. The flower structure of this peony is double and also somewhat resembles a rose.

It’s a cultivar created notably created by Anderson and Atkinson in 1992.

The ideal spot to grow a Candy Stripe peony is one that gets shaded or full sun every day. It emits a mild and delicious aroma.

Also, the flower can grow to be between 30 and 36 inches. With regard to hardiness zones, it grows well in USDA zones 4 to 7.

5) Bartzella Peony

Bartzella Peony

Bartzella Peony is an elegant and vigorous Itoh perennial with double petal rows encircling golden brown stamens.

One of the flower’s prominent features is its hardy glossy green leaves. They attract pollinators like butterflies and are resistant to being eaten by deers and rabbits.

Another is their long life span, which can be up to half a century. And they’re simple to care for and need full or partial sun and moderately moist and well-drained soil.

6) Shirley Temple Peony

Shirley Temple Peony

Shirley Temple Peony is named after the lovable actress who acted in the golden period of Hollywood.

It’s a herbaceous type with large-blooming pink flowers standing above a bushy mound of glossy foliage. And matching its beauty is its delightful fragrance.

Concerning its flowering period, Shirley Temple Peonies show off their impressive double flowers in late spring to early summer. 

However, while its flowers start as pink, as time goes on, they turn into cream ivory. This is one thing making this flower unique among other varieties.

7) Lemon Chiffon Peony

The Lemon Chiffon Peony is coveted by many flower growers and gardeners. 

The reason is that it’s a remarkable flower with refreshing yellow tones. It has graceful, ruffled petals, yellow stamens, and orange anthers.

They’re best put in a spot receiving full sun, but they can tolerate light afternoon shaded sun too. One can grow them nicely as a garden bed, border, or hedge flowers.

Lemon chiffon peony’s flowering season is from late spring to early summer. And it can be planted in chalky, sandy, or loamy well-draining soil. 

8) Red Charm Peony

Red Charm Peony

For a romantic peony variety, the Red Charm Peony is one extraordinary example. It comes in a cherry red color in a rich bomb peony formation.

Also, this spring and summer hybrid is one of the peonies that has been awarded the American Peony Society Gold Medal.

Before it reveals the gem of stunning ruffled petals within, the outer petals slowly and beautifully relax and part.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that it attracts butterflies in the garden. 

As for its care requirements, it enjoys full or shaded sun every day and needs to be watered every 10 to 14 days.

9) Claire de Lune Peony

Claire de Lune Peony

Claire de Lune translates from French as “moonlight.” This peony is so named for its seemingly round yellow form in the middle that looks like a full moon.

It’s yet another hybrid bloom with a single dish of slightly wrinkled petals. In the center are jubilant canary yellow stamens and carpels.

This stately peony is one of the earliest spring bloomers just like the Coral Sunset and Fairy Princess Peony.

It’s at home in a sheltered area where it receives full or partial sun. Plus, it needs deep and humus-rich soil to grow and blossom at its best.

10) Coral Sunset Peony

Coral Sunset Peony

Like a chalice, Coral Sunset Peony sports cup-shaped semi-double blossoms. They’re also one of the first flowers to emerge during spring.

At first, they flower with a magnificent coral pink color that comes with lovely sunsets. After a couple of weeks, the bright pink will shift to a darker tone of maroon or salmon pink to ivory.

Its incredible color and vigorous stems have won it a gold medal award from the American Peony Society.

The flower itself contains chemicals that resist harmful bugs. Yet peony wilt and honey fungus can attack it if the flower hasn’t been maintained properly.

11) Fairy Princess Peony

Fairy Princess Peony

Fairy Princess Peonies  is a herbaceous variety that was bred by Glasscock in 1961. 

It has a single row of petals that line small, bright stamens and carpels. The name is very fitting due to the flower’s diminutive height and pretty and demure appearance.

Interestingly, it doesn’t have any fragrance at all. But what this flower lacks in scent, it makes up for in beauty.

This lovely fuchsia or reddish bloom floats on top of emerald green stalks that make it perfect for rock gardens and border plants. 

Fairy Princess Peonies grow from early spring.

12) Chocolate Soldier Peony

Chocolate Soldier Peony

One of the darker-colored peony varieties, the Chocolate Soldier Peony boasts a ball-shaped captivating burgundy bloom.

This flower is also very unique in that it can develop into fabulous full double or Japanese peonies. So, with this flower, the staminodes may be visible or hidden, depending on which type it is.

Its blooming time is a little later in the spring and extends to the summer heat. It can live with partial or full sun and can withstand temperatures in hardiness zones 3 to 8.

It must be put in a sheltered location. Also, you may need to stake it, as the large flowers tend to dangle to the ground under their weight or because of strong rain.

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