“Classic garden plants that add a bit of nostalgia and charm to the garden.”
For Ginger’s upcoming class Peonies 101 this Saturday, we compiled a stunning list of intersectional, herbaceous and tree peonies. It’s the spring blooming season, so be on the lookout for these budding beauties. There’s also a surprise peony at the end that should not be missed!
Itoh Peonies: Paeonia intersectional
Toihi Itoh first hybridized Itoh peonies in 1948, as a cross between tree and herbaceous peonies. They have huge, colorful blooms that are supported by strong stems, which makes them ideal as cut flowers for any arrangement.
This Itoh peony has dark green foliage to promote its single, lavender-pink flowers with golden stamens. This deciduous perennial’s blooming period is in late spring. As a fast grower, it reaches a mature height and width of 3 feet. Be sure to place in well-draining soil in full to partial sun.
Herbaceous Peony: Paeonia lactiflora
Herbaceous peonies are hardy perennials that have an extensive blooming period throughout spring and summer. Certain varieties also have an aromatic fragrance.
This herbaceous peony has large, fragrant and bright pink flowers that bloom in early spring. ‘Paula Fay’ is also an American Peony Society Gold Medal winner. A fast grower, it can reach a mature height and width 3 feet. Be sure to place in well-draining soil in full to partial sun.
Tree Peony: Paeonia suffruticosa
Contrary to its name, a tree peony is actually a deciduous shrub with woody stems. Their flowers are 3 to 4 times larger than any other peony and can reach 10” in diameter, as a long-lasting showstopper. Tree peonies need to be planted in partial sun, as full sun will fade its flowers and full shade will cause slow, weak growth. Tree peonies require a few years after transplanting to produce blooms, but they’re well worth the wait!
This tree peony has exceptional semi-double, golden-yellow blooms with red accents in the center and a lemony-scented fragrance. Yellow tree peonies are quite rare with blooms reaching 7.5” in diameter with handsome, green foliage. It may re-bloom in late summer. Be sure to plant in partial sun with well-draining soil.
A Surprise Rarity:
Discovered by Polish botanist Ludwik Mlokosiewicz in 1897, Paeonia mlokosewitchii is native to the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia and grows on rocky slopes within the forests. It does not fit the classification of intersectional, herbaceous and tree peony, which makes it a rare cultivar for peony collectors. It is often humorously named “Mollie the Witch” due to its difficult pronunciation.
Paeonia Mlokosewitchii has lush, soft green foliage and single, golden-yellow flowers that reach peak bloom in May. In autumn, a true wonder occurs. Its seed pods open to reveal glossy blue and reddish-pink seeds.