Peonies are hardy plants which are perfect for the border, flowering reliably every year. Positioned in sun or partial shade, peonies produce large, impressive flowers, that can be enjoyed in the garden, or used as cut flowers.
Peonies come in various forms:
Herbaceous peonies form a compact, bushy habit and produce large blooms during June. They are usually used in herbaceous borders, growing to a height of around 70-90cm. Herbaceous peonies die down at the end of the season, then regrow the following spring.
Tree peonies bloom from early April to late May, extending the peony flowering season when combined with herbaceous or intersectional peonies. They typically reach a size of around 1.2m over time. Tree peonies are shrubby and don’t die down at the end of the season.
Intersectional peonies are a cross between tree and herbaceous peonies. The flowers of intersectional peonies are very intense in colour and are very long lasting.
Take a look at our choice of 10 beautiful peonies to grow – spotted at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015.
Peony ‘Coral Charm’
Peony ‘Coral Charm’ flowers in June, changing colour as it opens. It starts salmon pink, then gradually opens to orange, then finally yellow. Growing to 90cm tall with strong stems, it’s a good size for a border.
Salmon-pink peony ‘Coral Charm’
Peony ‘Duchess of Kent’
Peony ‘Duchess of Kent’ is a vigorous Japanese tree peony, eventually reaching a size of up to 1.2m. Ruby tulip-shaped buds emerge in early May, and open throughout May to reveal large, ruffled blooms with a slight violet hue.
Deep-pink, ruffled blooms of peony ‘Duchess of Kent’
Peony ‘Duchess of Marlborough’
Flowering mid-season, this famous Japanese tree peony variety produces very large, pale pink blooms. Peony ‘Duchess of Marlborough’ grows to around 1.2m over time, flowering profusely each year
Large, pale-pink blooms of peony ‘Duchess of Marlborough’
This unique variety produces large, apricot and magenta two-tone blooms with a rich, spicy fragrance. ‘Hillary’ is an intersectional peony with a ‘bush’ habit, growing to approximately 75cm.
Magenta and apricot blooms of peony ‘Hillary’
Peony ‘Laura Dessert’
Fragrant French cultivar, ‘Laura Dessert’, has pale creamy-yellow blooms with ruffled, pompom-like centre. Flowering mid-season they bring a fresh scent to the border. Its eventual height is around 90cm.
Pale cream-yellow peony ‘Laura Dessert’
Peony ‘Lollipop’ is an intersection peony with unusual pink-speckled apricot blooms. The foliage is delicate and the stems hold the flowers well. This variety is mid-season flowering and grows in a ‘bush’ form, around 80cm high.
Pink-speckled apricot flowers of peony ‘Lollipop’
Peony ‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’
Peony ‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’ flowers early on in the season, around late May, so is often used to extend the peony season in a garden. It’s vigorous and easy to grow, producing large coral-pink blooms. It grows to around 90cm in height.
Pink blooms of peony ‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’
Peony ‘Prairie Moon’
‘Prairie Moon’ is a herbaceous peony, growing to around 75cm in height. The white single blooms have a bright yellow centre. It’s an early-flowering variety, bringing interest to the border during June.
A peony ‘Prairie Moon’ flower, with white petals around a golden centre
This eye-catching red and white striped variety produces lots of blooms, each of them are unique. ‘Shimanishiki’ is a sought after Japanese tree peony, forming a neat ‘shrub’ habit, around 1m in height.
Striking pink and white streaked blooms of Japanese peony ‘Shimanishiki
Peony ‘Souvenir de Maxime Cornu’
This French tree peony has vary large, double ruffled peach-coloured blooms. The flowers hang downwards with their own weight and, as they mature, they become stronger in colour. Peony ‘Souvenir de Maxime Cornu’ has an eventual height of around 1.2m.
Doubled-ruffled, pink-edged, peach bloom of peony ‘Souvenir de Maxime Cornu’
Thank you to Kelways for help with making this feature.