Flower Garden: Little Known Facts About Peonies

How much do you know about peonies? Learn some little-known facts behind these beautiful, fragrant, old-fashioned plants and why they are perfect for your flower garden.

Deep Pink Peonies

Do you like peonies?  Maybe you have peonies growing in your garden.  If so, consider yourself lucky to be able to grow these beautiful and fragrant flowering perennials.

Peony Photography

I recently returned from a trip through the upper Midwest where peonies in every color, shape and size were in full bloom and on display.  I took a lot of photos of the beautiful flowers.

Whether you have peonies growing your garden or not, how much do you know about peonies?  Most gardeners know that they are easy to grow and that they produce beautiful flowers in late spring / early summer and then die back to the ground in winter.  But, there are a few facts about peonies that you may not know.

Large Pink Peony

– Peonies are available in every color but blue.

– The flowers can reach up to 10 inches in size depending on the variety.

– Pink flowers are more fragrant then maroon flowers.

– Native to Europe and Asia, peonies were brought over to England by the Romans in the year 1200.

Peony

– In ancient times, peonies were used for medicinal purposes including curing headaches, relieving pain during childbirth and the treatment of asthma.

– Long ago, people believed that peonies protected them from demons.

– During the Victorian era, peonies were very popular and could be seen growing in gardens throughout England.

– The early explorer Marco Polo is said to have called peonies “roses as big as cabbages”.

– Today, peonies can still be found growing in the wild in certain areas of Europe.

Peony Bouquet

– Peonies are a very popular choice for bridal bouquets.  To create your own bouquet, cut peony flowers in the early morning and put in a vase of cold water where they will last up to 5 days.

– They are the floral symbol of China. Paintings of peonies are often seen hung on the wall in order to bring good luck.

– The state flower of Indiana is the peony.

– Peonies are traditionally used for celebrating the 12th wedding anniversary.

pink peonies

– Peonies like cold winters and do best in zones 3 – 8.  Herbaceous peonies need at least 400 hours of temperatures below 40 degrees while tree peonies need 100 – 300 hours in order to flower in late spring / early summer.  In warm climates, peonies often fail to bloom.

– Ants play an important role in the blooming of peony flowers.  The flower buds produce a nectar that attracts ants, which climb up and help to open the buds in order to get to the nectar contained within.  Although peonies will bloom without ants, the ants do help with the process.  Another benefit that ants offer peonies is that they help to keep damaging insects away.

– Peonies are easy to grow, making them the perfect plant for your flower garden whether you are a beginner gardener or an experienced one.

Do you grow peonies?  What color is your favorite?

For more information on peonies including how to grow them, we have some great information in the article “Growing Tips for Peonies”.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.