Common Peony (Paeonia officinalis)

Peonies (PEE-oh-nees) have been garden mainstays for generations. Perennials that endure for years, even decades in the yard and garden, they are valued for their sturdy constitutions and their huge, showy spring flowers. Common Peony (Paeonia officinalis) and Chinese Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) are the most familiar of the many species of this popular plant. Here we discuss the Common Peony.

Size: Peonies will grow to 3 or 4 feet high at maturity. Typically they are about as wide as they are tall.

Foliage: The deeply divided leaves are a lovely green all season long, about 6 to 8 inches long. They die back to the soil in the fall.

Flowers: The magnificent peony flowers, up to 8 inches across, bloom in the late spring to early summer, depending on the variety. Each kind--early, mid, late season--blooms for only a week or so. The fragrant blossoms can be rose, light pink, deep red, white or even creamy yellow.

Flowers come in 5 types: single, with prominent clusters of stamens in the center; Japanese and Anemone, carnation-like with a collar of flat petals; semi-double, with stamens visible; and double, with no stamens showing, the most familiar of all.

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