31 Types of Peonies (All Colors, Bloom Types and Varieties)

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Spectacular pink peonies garden

Peonies are a very flower for the garden but like most flowers, there are several types of peonies you can choose from.  Also like many flowers, peonies bloom in many colors (as you’ll see below).

Below we break down your peonies options and then set out which ones grow best where. It’s an extensive peonies guide.

Types of Peonies

Peonies are popular because they are easy to grow, low maintenance, and, of course, attractive. They also come in many different varieties and types, including the following:

 

Herbaceous peonies

Herbaceous peonies

Also known as bush peonies, this variety dies to the ground in winter then re-emerges once the snow melts, usually around March. Herbaceous peonies require very little care and are sturdy and long-lasting. Many people also find that they are deer-resistant while others do not notice this quality. The peony known as Red Charm is an example of an herbaceous peony. They come in two main types:

  •       The lactiflora cultivars, which is the most common form of peonies and is commonly found in nurseries. This type of peony is native to China and produces side buds for a unique look.
  •             The hybrids, which are simply crosses between two or more species. These tend to have various types of foliage and color and they bloom a little earlier in the year than other types of peonies. They also contain only one bloom per stem instead of many blooms.

Itoh peonies

Itoh peonies

Also known as intersectional peonies, these are a cross between the herbaceous peony and the tree peony. Since they are hybrids, they come in a wide variety of beautiful and eye-catching colors. These peonies, similarly to the herbaceous ones, die in the winter and their bush form is nice and round, though shorter than many of the other bush peonies. Itoh peonies are fairly new but are very strong and durable, making them an extremely popular choice for flower lovers who are specifically looking for peonies. Since they are so popular and are a recent development, they are sometimes a little more expensive than other types of peonies. One example of an Itoh peony is the Bartzella.

Tree peonies

Tree peonies

These peonies get their name because of their woody stems and they defoliate every fall. The stems, however, stay above the ground and intact and when they do bloom, they tend to do so earlier than the bush peony. They are slow to increase but have larger flowers than other types of peonies. Tree peonies can be as short as twenty inches or as tall as eight feet or more and they are frequently sold by what color they are. They are perennial in nature and resume growth in the spring, having stopped their growth the previous fall. The Boreas peony is an example of a tree peony. In addition, because they can get nipped by the spring frost, these peonies can sometimes be a little more difficult to take care of, requiring more overall care than other types of peonies.

Bloom Types for Peonies

Like most flowers, peonies have petals, the large ones being called guard petals, that usually surround a center made of stamens. The shape of the flower is determined by the pattern that the petals are in compared to its center, which varies depending on the type of peony it is. Just as there are different varieties of peonies, there are also five distinct types of blooms, which include the following:

Single peonies

Single peonies

These consist of a single row of a few broad petals. The row usually surrounds a mass of stamens and carpels so there is a wide center and large, beautiful petals surrounding it. The rows of large petals surrounding the almost perfectly round stamens give the flower a unique look and since they come in various colors and shades, you can always find single peonies you love. Samples include Sea Shell, Scarlett O’Hara, Athena, Dad, Imperial Red, and Krinkled White.

Semi-double peonies

Semi-double peonies

These peonies have filaments that have irregular shape and design and the stamens are mixed throughout the petals. There are usually several rows of petals surrounding the center, giving the flower a layered look that is quite attractive. When the flower is in bloom, its pollen-bearing anthers can be seen and its stamen can be a prominent feature of this type of flower. Semi-double peonies have guard petals which may or may not be different than the other petals and varieties include the Buckeye Belle, Paula Fay, Miss America, and Coral Charm.

Japanese peonies

Japanese peonies

With these types of peonies, the petals start to double and the stamens’ filaments are quite broad. The anthers are extremely large; therefore, the flower tends to stand out among the various peony types. These peonies are not named because they come from Japan; in fact, they do not. However, the Japanese have long admired these flowers, which is why they are called what they are called. They can have a layered look as well and their center can be very large, making the petals look a little smaller than other types of peonies. The anemone type of Japanese peony has petals that are small and somewhat curved towards the center, and in some one- to two-year plants, there appears to be side blooms and flowers because of the distinct shape. Varieties include the Madame Butterfly, Gertrude Allen, and the Nippon Beauty.

Full-double peonies

Full-double peony

These are the results of the doubling process becoming complete. If you look at some of these full-double peonies, you notice several layers of petals without a center but that is because the other parts of the flower develop into the petals. The carpels’ and stamens’ development into petals make them look just the same as the guard petals and in some varieties, the petals are a little shorter and smaller. In other words, it looks as if full-double peonies have petals only and no stamen or stigma. Their varieties include the Tourangelle, Ann Cousins, Paul M. Wild, Gardenia, and Kansas.

The bomb peony

Bomb peony

This type has no crown but has petals that are the result of both carpels and stamens and the petals are quite broad. The bomb peony looks a little like the full-double peonies and are very globular in shape. Once again, all you see with the bomb peony are the petals, which give the flower a very round look that is really quite attractive. The flower resembles a neatly sculptured, ball-shaped flower, especially in the center. In addition, although large, the bomb peony’s petals are still somewhat different than the guard petals. Varieties include the Red Charm, Monsieur Jules Elie, and Raspberry Sundae.

23 Peonies Varieties

The United States is divided into thirteen zones for planting and growing. Wherever you live, it is easy to find the information you need regardless of which plant you’re hoping to grow. The varieties listed below are good for zones 3 to 7 and some are also good if you live in Zone 8. These are just some of the recommendations for growing peonies, sorted in alphabetical order:

        America

Its bright-red color is eye-catching and it is a vigorous plant with strong stems.

America peonies

        Bartzella

This is a fairly new flower developed in the 1980s. They are golden-yellow in color and absolutely striking.

Bartzella peony

        Better Times

Developed in the 1940s, this flower has a strong stem, displays bright pink petals, and is a good cut-flower choice.

Better times peony

        Big Ben

Advantages include a great aroma and the ability to perform well year after year.

Big ben peony

        Blaze

This is great for zones 3-8 and has a bright red, eye-catching color.

Blaze peony

        Bowl of Beauty

This is a very “springy” flower that offer luscious colors.

Bowl of beauty peony

        Burning Bright

This is bright pinkish-red in color and really stands out among the other flowers.

Burning bright peony

        Coral Charm

This peony has a unique salmon color and quickly stands out among other flowers.

Coral charm peony

        Coral Supreme

This has strong stems that can withstand the elements and its color is very unique.

Coral supreme peony

        Do Tell

Light pink in color, they are great at highlighting other flowers in the garden and have a great aroma as well.

Do tell peony

        Fern Leaf Peony

This has a delicate foliage that will even look amazing when it isn’t in bloom.

Fern leaf peony

        Festiva Maxima

This offers pure white blooms that makes a good cut-flower type.

Festiva maxima peony

        Gay Paree

Developed back in the 1930s, this variety has bright blooms that stand out and hold up well because of its strong stems.

Gay paree peony

        Green Halo

No, it isn’t green but it has white petals that are surrounded by the color green.

Green halo peony

        Karl Rosenfield

This has double red blooms and was developed in the early 1900s; these peonies look great, smell great, and are easy to cut.

Karl Rosenfield peony

        Krinkled White

This is good for zones 3-8. Since this flower needs a little less cold weather than other varieties, it is a popular choice in the South.

Krinkled white peonies

        Paula Fay

This is very vigorous with reddish-pink blooms that are brilliant in color.

Paula Fay peony

        Pillow Talk

This peony has very large pink blooms, is slightly bi-colored, and has a great aroma.

Pillow talk peony

        Prairie Moon

This has soft ivory-yellow blooms and very aromatic.

Prairie moon peony

        Raspberry Sundae

Its rounded cluster of creamy-pink petals makes it truly unique.

Raspberry sundae peony

        Sarah Bernhardt

One of the largest peony types, it is light pink in color and smells fantastic.

Sarah Bernhardt peony

        Spider Green

This has a yellow center and “spider-like” white leaves that are tinted with green.

Spider green peony

        Sweet Marjorie

      This type of peony is often dark pink in color and offers a very dramatic look.

Sweet marjorie peony

Peonies come in different sizes so they can be tall or short and they come in a wide variety of colors. Most of them need soil that is well-drained and a lot of watering in between. If you’re interested in learning whether they bloom in mid- or late-season, a little research on the Internet should help. Most are not native to North America but they still do exceptionally well here. Peonies truly offer something for everyone because regardless of the type of flowers you prefer, it is good to know that they come in a wide variety of colors and styles, making them one flower that everyone will love.

Health Benefits Associated with Peonies

Although many people may not realize it, peonies also have amazing health benefits due to the many ingredients that are naturally found in the flower. In most cases, drinking it as a tea can relieve a lot of ailments, including the ones you can be found below:

        Hay fever

Peony can reduce symptoms such as sneezing and others if you use the Japanese herbal type.

        Dilates blood vessels

Peony has been shown to relax the aorta, which in turn relaxes the blood vessels.

        Hepatitis

Red peony can reduce liver enzymes, symptoms, or both in some people.

        Diabetes and weight loss

When given peony root, mice have shown a decrease in food intake and increased tolerance to glucose, thereby helping them lose weight and avoid diabetes.

        Liver protection

Because of its antioxidant capabilities, peony protects the liver by lowering inflammatory chemical levels there.

        Blood-thinning capabilities

Peony prevents platelet aggregation and slows down coagulation of the blood, which allows blood to flow more freely throughout the body.

        Great for the heart

Red peony and moutan bark can lower cholesterol and therefore help boost overall heart health.

        Has antioxidant capabilities

Peony protects against free radicals in the environment.

        Great for a host of female problems

Peony helps improve fertility in women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome, and, when used with herbs such as dong quai, can help reduce premenstrual symptoms and cramps.

        Helps with dementia

Peony has been shown to greatly increase mental function in mice, although human studies have yet to be conducted.

As with any medicinal flowers and herbs, it is always best to check with your doctor before using any type of remedy involving peonies. Certain people may have to avoid using these remedies, including women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Regardless of the condition you’re trying to ease, your doctor will look at all other conditions you have and all the medications you’re currently taking, and then make the decision that is best for you and your needs.

 





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