Grow a Sarah Bernhardt Peony for Garden Star Power

Updated: Mar. 29, 2023

The Sarah Bernhardt peony is legendary for its beautiful, fragrant pink flowers. Find out how to grow these perennials in your garden.

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Sarah Bernhardt Peony Care

WgpaeoniasarahbernhardtWalters Gardens, Inc.
This popular peony has a Hollywood connection

Introduced in 1906, the Sarah Bernhardt peony takes its name from an iconic silent film era actress. This stunning, hardy perennial plant is beloved by gardeners for good reason. Get care and growing tips, plus learn what the flowers and foliage look like.

Enjoy pretty pictures of peonies in full bloom.

  • Scientific name: Paeonia lactiflora 
  • Zones: 3 to 8
  • Size: 3 feet high by 2 1/2 feet wide
  • Light Needs: Full Sun
  • Soil: Average, well-draining

Like other peonies, Sarah Bernhardt prefers rich, well-drained soil and full sun. Plant peonies in fall for the best results. They need a period of cold weather (but not ants) in order to bloom.

Water deeply and regularly in the first growing season to develop a substantial root system. Once your new plant is established, you can water less frequently. Trim off spent blooms after the glorious late spring flower show and cut the foliage back in fall.

Herbaceous peonies such as Sarah Bernhardt are reliable, low maintenance perennials that can live for decades in your garden (up to 100 years!), so you’ll enjoy their beauty and elegance for many, many growing seasons to come. Unlike other perennials, such as hostas, peonies do not need regular dividing.

You may need garden stakes to support the large double flowers.

Get more tips on how to grow and care for peony flowers.

Fragrant Pink Flowers

pink peonyVia Breck's
The large pink flowers will perfume your garden.

You’ll definitely want to add Sarah Bernhardt peonies to your cutting garden. The long lasting blooms are a fantastic choice for bouquets or arrangements in vases. The fragrant 7-t0 8-inch flowers are rose-pink in color and pale blush near the edges. A few petals may be flecked with crimson.

Bees love peonies, but deer and rabbits typically leave the emerald green foliage alone.

Grow a fernleaf peony for fancy flowers and foliage.

Where to Buy a Sarah Bernhardt Peony

red sarah bernhardt peonyVia Breck's
Red Sarah Bernhardt peony

Check your local garden center or plant nursery. This popular pink peony is also available from several online growers, including Breck’s and Burpee. For bold fuchsia colored flowers, try Red Sarah Bernhardt.

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Next, discover 10 little-known peony plant facts.