These majestic, long-lived perennials work equally well in classic cottage gardens or contemporary borders. Full of fat round flower buds and large showy flowers, peonies are a stunning sight in late spring/early summer.
Long cultivated in China, for both medicinal and ornamental purposes. In Chinese, the word ‘peony’ actually means ‘most beautiful’. Popular in England after forms of Paeonia lactiflora were introduced to Europe in the 19th century, they’ve been considered symbols of health, wealth and beauty as well as bashfulness and happy marriage. An inspiration to gardeners, artists and flower-arrangers alike, it seems that people can’t get enough of peonies!
Peonies are fully hardy and although slow-growing, they eventually form large clumps of attractive divided leaves which often have good autumn colour. The bowl-shaped flowers are often scented and may be single or double, depending on variety.
Best planted in a sunny site with fertile, well-drained soil, peonies dislike shade and poor or waterlogged soil. Their deep roots resent disturbance so make sure you choose a site carefully and give them plenty of space to grow (about a square metre per plant) in order to flower well. (Peonies are not suitable for growing in pots). If you find that your established peonies begin to flower less they probably need lifting and dividing. Do this in autumn and replant the smaller clumps – in two years time all your new young plants should be flowering!
We currently have a selection of container-grown herbaceous peonies available, prices from £6.99 to £21.40. Varieties include: ‘Bowl of Beauty’, ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, ‘Lord Kitchener’, ‘Karl Rosenfield’, ‘Madame Calot’…