Order these fall-planted bulbs NOW for delivery in OCTOBER.

WHY GROW PEONIES? They're old-fashioned, easy to grow, offer armloads of flowers, and can live a century or more.

PEONY HISTORY — As Alice Coats wrote, “The long roots of the peony strike deep into the past.” Learn more.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS — Give them full sun and a little patience as they settle in and peonies will reward you for decades. Learn more.

PEONY PARADISE        Web-Only & Sampler

For a lifetime of luxurious beauty, plant our easy heirloom peonies this fall. We’ll send you 3 of our favorite old-fashioned doubles – 1 pink, 1 white, and 1 rose-red, all labeled and superb. Give them a sunny spot and they’ll reward you with abundant blooms for a century or more – and they make great cut flowers! For zones 3a-7b(8bWC) only, please. Peony care.

For 2, 3, or more of each variety, order additional samplers.

COF-90
1/$50
2/$96
3/$137
4/$176
5/$215
AUTEN’S PRIDE, 1933        New
With its old-rose fragrance and lavender undertones, this ethereal peony is a special treat in bouquets. Maturing from softest pink to white, it was bred by Edward Auten Jr. of Illinois who – of the more than 300 peonies he introduced – rated it one of his top five. Large flowers, stiff stems, 32-34”, late-blooming, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. For an alert the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for our email newsletter.
BRAND’S MAGNIFICENT, 1918        New
Magnificent, indeed! In the early 1900s when the Brands were creating the world’s finest red peonies, they described this dark jewel as one of their “very best,” with flowers “like a rose,” “wonderfully profuse,” and “the nearest blue of any red peony.” A century later, its robust growth and rosy-purple undertones make it still a very special peony. 34-38”, late, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. For an alert the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for our email newsletter.
EDULIS SUPERBA, 1824        It’s Back!
This richly fragrant, deep pink relic is one of the oldest peonies of all, and yet, writes expert Martin Page, it’s “still one of the best.” Introduced in France soon after the first lactiflora peonies arrived from China, it has been cherished ever since (even in the South) for its “good form, strong color, and delightful fragrance” (Boyd, 1928). 36-38”, early-mid, zones 3a-8a(9aWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. For an alert the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for our email newsletter.
P. tenuifolia ‘Rubra Plena’, FERN-LEAF PEONY, 1765        Rarest & It’s Back!
This exquisite jewel, brought into gardens from the wilds of Ukraine, holds its small, bright red flowers above mounds of finely cut foliage. Less than two feet tall and blooming weeks before most peonies, it was listed by Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon in 1806, carried west by the pioneers, and blooms today in abandoned cemeteries throughout the Great Plains. Requires well-drained soil and full sun, 14-22”, zones 3a-7a(8aWC), 3-5 eyes, from Manitoba. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. For an alert the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for our email newsletter.
FESTIVA MAXIMA, 1851        
The most famous peony of all, ‘Festiva Maxima’ has been a standard of excellence since Hovey’s of Boston first offered it in America in 1852. Its big, sparkling white flowers are highlighted by a few dribbles of crimson, its stems are strong, and it blooms reliably even in the South. 3-5 eye roots, 34-36”, zones 3a-8a(8bWC), from Iowa. Chart and care.
PE-01
1/$17
2/$32.50
3/$46.50
5/$73
10/$136
25/$306
MISS AMERICA, 1936        New
So good that it’s won the APS Gold Medal twice, ‘Miss America’ is the standard by which all other semi-double peonies are judged. It’s bee-friendly and highly fragrant, with loads of flowers and plenty of side buds that will extend the radiant display – even in the South. 36”, early mid-season, zones 3a-8a(9aWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. For an alert the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for our email newsletter.
PRAIRIE AFIRE, 1932        New
This strikingly different, anemone-flowered peony opens its broad outer petals to reveal a mass of narrow, flickering, flame-like petals in deep rose, pink, and yellow. Graceful enough to be embroidered on an Arts-and-Crafts table-runner, it’s another enduring classic from the Brands of Minnesota. 32-36”, late mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. For an alert the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for our email newsletter.

PEONY HISTORY – “The long roots of the peony strike deep into the past,” Alice Coats writes in Flowers and Their Histories. The Roman Pliny called them the oldest of plants, and they’ve been grown in Asian gardens for thousands of years.

The first peonies brought to America by the colonists were forms of Paeonia officinalis, a European peony with herbal uses that’s often called the “Memorial Day piney.” Chinese forms of P. lactiflora arrived in the early 1800s, causing a hubbub, and before long many new varieties were being introduced by French and then British breeders. Enthusiasm peaked in the early 20th-century when peonies were enormously popular for both garden and cut-flower use. American breeders came to the fore then, and millions of blossoms cut in the “soft marshmallow” stage were shipped to florists across the country.

PEONY ARCHIVES — For customer tips and raves, the stories behind the flowers, links and books, history, news, and more, see our Peony Newsletter Archives.

PEONIES AS CUT FLOWERS — For tips for enjoying longer lasting bouquets without damaging your plants, see our Bulbs as Cut Flowers page.

PEONY PLANTING AND CARE — Peonies are tough, undemanding perennials that can bloom happily for a century or more with little care.

Plant in early fall. Do not delay! Since peonies are planted only 1-2 inches deep, the soil around them will freeze much earlier than it will for bulbs planted 6 inches deep. If they don’t have enough time to establish new feeder roots before the ground freezes, they will struggle and could fail altogether.

Choose a sunny to lightly shaded spot with good air circulation and plenty of room for them to grow. Because they like ample water, they do best in somewhat heavier (clay) soils and away from the roots of trees and shrubs.

Peony roots and eyes (buds) are brittle, so plant carefully. Dig a generous hole and position the rootstock so the eyes face up and are no more than 1-2 inches below the surface of the soil once it’s been filled in and firmed. Shallow is best; deep planting leads to poor or no bloom. Mark the spot with a stake or peony ring to protect it. Water deeply, and maintain even soil moisture until the ground freezes to help the plant develop as many feeder roots as possible its first fall.

To protect these delicate new roots the first winter, apply a winter mulch. After the ground freezes, mound the newly planted area with 2-4 inches of soil or 5-8 inches of a fluffy, non-matting mulch such as straw, cornstalks, peat moss, or evergreen boughs — but not leaves.

In spring, be sure to remove the mulch before top-growth begins, and be careful not to injure new sprouts. Different varieties will emerge at different times, so patience is advised. Scratch a couple of tablespoons of balanced fertilizer (10-10-10 is ideal) into the soil around the plant, outside the ring of stems, as its leaves begin to unfurl. Water throughout spring and till after bloom-time, especially the first year.

Bloom will be meager the first year as the plant pours most of its energy into establishing a strong root system. More blooms will follow the second year, and even more the third. As you cut blooms, leave as much foliage as possible to continue feeding the plant.

Staking – Even the strongest peony stems will bow when their gloriously double flowers are drenched by rain. Most of the time, though, they’ll stand back up if you gently shake the water out immediately afterwards, so most gardeners grow their peonies au naturel. We like to give them more support, though. See our Supporting Peonies page for two options: cheap and easy and the Hildene star.

In the fall when the leaves begin to turn brown, cut the stems to the ground, collect all the foliage, and throw it away instead of composting it. Though peonies are generally healthy and tough, this will help prevent diseases such as botrytis blight and leaf blotch from getting a toehold or carrying over to the next season.

After the first spring, fertilize only sparingly. Peonies generally need little fertilizer and plants that are over-fertilized will not bloom well. If you do fertilize, keep it away from the crown of the plant where there are no feeder roots. Spread it instead 6-18 inches from the crown, work it into the soil, and water well.

Return to beginning of Peonies.

Page 1 of Peonies
  1
Loading