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Peonies have been a garden favorite for centuries. This can be both a blessing and a curse... With such an amazing selection of peonies available, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you and your garden?
Choosing the right Peony is important, because these resilient perennial plants can live for generations. Peonies are easy to care for, deer-resistant, and are generally free from disease.
There are several factors to consider when choosnig which type of peony is best for your property:
By the time you've read this article, you'll be able to confidently shop for your next peony purchase.
Garden Peonies need at least six hours of good, full sunlight to thrive. Once established, after about 2-3 years, they become incredibly easy to care for. Oftentimes, these soft-stemmed plants need to be staked or caged to keep them upright to support their heavy blossoms.
Itoh Peonies are the creation of Japanese plant hybridizer Toichi Itoh. His heart was set on seeing the large flowers of the upright Tree Peony (pictured above), growing atop the lush green foliage of a Garden Peony. Mr. Itoh worked tirelessly, and dedicated himself to over 2,000 attempts before his first successful cross. Sadly, it was a victory he never saw come into bloom - he passed away before those specimens flowered seven years later! Though he did not live to see the Itoh Peony's rise to success, we're luck to have many Itoh varieties to choose from today.
Now that you know the differences between the two main Peonies, let’s approach your decision from a facts-only point of view.
Location and Climate: If you live in the deep south or the far north, temperatures and humidity may rule your Peony selection.
If you live in a northern location with a shorter, cooler garden season, you’ll do better with Garden Peonies. Garden Peonies are most popular in Zones 3 - 8, and may need a bit of extra care within the extreme edges of their range.
If you live in Zones 5 - 8, you can get great results from any Peony.
Available Sunlight: While Garden Peonies need full sunlight, Itohs prefer dappled sunlight and can even tolerate part-sun. As a general rule of thumb, the farther south you live, the more your garden is exposed to sun and humidity. In hotter, sunnier locations, you’ll need to give your peonies more space for increased air circulation and maybe a bit less sun than usual.
Bloom Types: You could certainly choose your Peonies by blooms alone!
Color: if you have your heart set on a certain color, you may find that you’ll have more options when shopping one type over another.
Bloom Time: Different types of Peonies flower at different times, and you may have an opinion about that! Some folks have a particular time of year or annual event in mind that they’d like their Peonies to bloom for. Depending upon your garden zone (and season fluctuations), you can usually nail down when certain Peonies will flower.
As you begin shopping for Peonies, you’re sure to notice that prices can be significantly different.
It’s always nice to know why the pricing is so very different – and in this case, it’s all about propagation techniques.
Itoh Peonies are propagated (reproduced) in two different ways: either naturally, using bare root cuttings from an existing plant, or, in a labortaory, using tissue-culture techniques.
American Meadows sources only bare root cuttings to ensure the highest quality mature peonies. Bare roots are a great choice as they generally grow more vigorously than pre-started peonies.
Learn tips & technqiues for planting peonies, how to grow peonies throughout the season, and how to care for peonies at the end of the season.
With their gorgeous lush petals and sweet fragrance, it's hard not to fall in love! Read more about the history and varieties of Peonies.
Curious about this special hybrid peony? Read our article to learn more.
Hopefully, you've learned a lot about how to find the best peony for your garden! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our team of Garden Experts in our Customer Service department!
‘Festiva Maxima’ has been a garden favorite for more than 150 years! Large white flowers, handsome foliage, and enchanting fragrance are the hallmarks of this beloved early-seaso...
Cotton Candy Peony Mix is the perfect choice for peony lovers that just can’t decide! This selection of classic colors includes one each of: 'Sarah Bernhardt' (pink), 'Karl Rosen...
This Peony is famous for its huge, hot pink outer petals and contrasting frilly yellow centers. One of the most strikingly beautiful peonies. (Paeonia lactiflora)...
Peony Moon River is a favorite for bouquets with 8' fragrant flowers that impress in soft cream and pink. Moon River is a compact peony that supports its blooms without extra help. ...
'Julia Rose' Itoh Peony shines like a garden jewel, with large, spice-scented double blossoms. Peachy-apricot petals are edged with scarlet and mellow into a soft golden-pink as the ...
'First Arrival' Itoh Peony is early to bloom, showering the garden with large, 8 inch, rose-scented flowers in mid spring. Pink-lavender semidouble blossoms are stained a cranberry p...
Canary Brilliants Itoh Peony has creamy yellow double blooms with delicate rose centers. Lightly fragrant, this Itoh peony can have 30-50 blooms per season once established. Perfect ...
'Cora Louise' is a striking Itoh Peony, with semidouble white blooms that feature a dramatic burst of cranberry-pink at center and surround vibrant, golden frills. Producing up to 50...