Grow a Sarah Bernhardt Peony for Garden Star Power

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

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

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.

Shop Now

Next, discover 10 little-known peony plant facts.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.