Peony Varieties: 41 Different Types of Peony Cultivars

Thinking of planting some peonies, but aren't sure which ones to plant? There are many different types of peonies, that have different colors and growing conditions. In this article, certified master gardener Laura Elsner walks through her favorite peony varieties to add to your garden this season.

peony varieties

Peonies are that classic garden flower that brings a garden to life when they’re in bloom. Their gigantic blossoms on a nice vase shaped bushy plant are what every gardener anxiously awaits every season. These long lived perennial flowers (some live for over 100 years) add elegance and softness to gardens.

I am always adding peonies to client gardens. They are timeless, beautiful, and they come in so many different varieties there is a peony for everyone’s taste and style. When I plant peonies in people’s gardens I consider my client’s style and the overall garden appearance before deciding on the perfect peony for their garden.

There are many, many varieties of peonies. Some have large fluffy double blossoms, others have smaller single flowers. They come in almost all colors, reds, pinks, whites, and even yellow! Most peonies grow up to 3 feet high and 2-3 feet in width. They also provide interest to a garden after they bloom with their nice bushy leaves and then they end the season with a beautiful reddish orange fall color. Continue reading to learn more about Peonies, and some of my favorite peony cultivars!

A Quick Note About Peonies

There are numerous ways to categorize peonies. The obvious is by color. But they can also be grouped by flower, which can be a single, semi-double, or double. Or they can be categorized by their structure, herbaceous, tree, or a hybrid of those two known as an Itoh peony.

While double flowered peonies are generally the most sought after and popular, some of the semi double flowers have the most striking inner petals that contrast against the outer petals in the most perfect way. Single flowers bloom in a profusion on a single plant and are easier because they often don’t require the staking that heavy double flowers do. These are all things to consider when looking for the perfect peony for your garden.

 I thought about ways to group this list, and I decided to go completely random, so you can browse and discover a peony you may not have considered. Let me guide you through my favorite peony varieties to help you decide on the perfect peony for your garden.

Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt is famous for its unpretentious care and incredibly beautiful delicate flowers of different shades.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

I am starting off the list with a very popular variety. This might be my favorite. The large double blossoms are huge and fluffy and the most delicate light pink. This is a classic peony. Great for cutting and making bouquets with. The flowerheads on these are very heavy and delicate.

The peony will need caged or staked, and try to plant in a sheltered location out of the wind. The blossoms are heavy and delicate. This peony is very formal. I like it planted in front of soft pink roses. The peonies will bloom first and then form a nice mound of foliage while the roses go into full bloom. It’s a beautiful soft pink combination.

Festiva Maxima

Festiva Maxima
Festiva Maxima begins abundant flowering in the third year of life.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Festiva Maxima’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Another very popular variety. Festiva Maxima is a fluffy double white peony with flecks of red in the center. I like the added interest of the red bits in the center, it really shows the ruffles in the petals. Planted alongside other red flowers (red geraniums for instance) would really make the flecks of red in Festiva Maxima pop. This peony is large and heavy and will need to be staked and planted in a protected area if possible. These make wonderful cut flowers.

Coral Sunset

Coral Sunset
Coral Sunset is a tall, leafy shrub with large buds and strong stems.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral Sunset’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

I love this color. In 2019 Living Coral was Pantone’s color of the year and I couldn’t seem to plant these in people’s gardens fast enough. The vibrant coral color on this peony is unexpected and beautiful. It is a semi double flower that has coral petals and a fluffy yellow interior. These peonies are sturdy and do not require staking and are one of the first peonies to bloom in the garden. It’s a cheery spring color.

Kansas

Kansas
Droughts and frosts are not terrible for Kansas peonies.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Kansas’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

The dark fuschia double blossoms on this bushy peony are gorgeous. It’s another classic variety that is found in many gardens. It is reliable and a prolific bloomer. They make excellent cut flowers. They have sturdy stems and may not require staking. This variety can also last through periods of heat. If you love this variety but can’t find it, try Karl Rosenfeid as they are fairly interchangeable.

Bowl of Beauty

Bowl of Beauty
Bowl of Beauty is a moisture-loving plant, that grows well in open sunny areas, but can also tolerate a rarefied shade.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Bowl of Beauty’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Japan
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

This is the peony that comes to my mind when speaking broadly about peonies. It features a bright pink outer ring of single flowers and then it opens up to a bowl of soft yellow ruffles that eventually fully open and turn a pale creamy pink. This peony can definity be used as a feature as it will draw awe and attention. The fragrant blossoms are 10-12″ wide! These ones may require staking since the blossoms are so large and heavy.

Chocolate Soldier

Chocolate Soldier
Chocolate Soldier – a flower with a diameter of 16 cm, in dissolution has dark cherry color with a chocolate tint, almost black-red.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Chocolate Soldier’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Japan
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

When I first came across this peony it was a wonderful surprise. In my mind, a peony is pink or white. But when this one bloomed in a new client’s garden it surprised me with its single row of dark chocolate wine colored petals and the pop of yellow. Its dark petals make a statement in an early summer garden. These single flowered peonies usually do not require staking, making it a great low maintenance option.

Bartzella

Bartzella
Bartzella prefers abundant, but not too frequent watering.
Scientific Name: Paeonia ‘Bartzella’
  • Plant Type: Intersectional Hybrid
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Oh this peony is one of my favorites. It is an itoh peony which is a hybrid of a tree and a herbaceous peony. Itoh peonies bloom later in the season after the herbaceous ones have finished. Bartzella blooms these huge yellow blossoms that blush red on the inside. This peony has sturdy stems and does not require staking.

I live in garden zone 3 and this peony is only borderline hardy here. If you are in a lower zone and considering this peony plant it in a protected area and cover it in mulch or leaf litter in the fall for added protection.

Fern Leaf

Fern Leaf
Fern Leaf is a robust plant with unique, fine-grained, fern-like foliage.
Scientific Name: Paeonia tenuifolia ‘Fern leaf’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 1-2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Fern Leaf peonies are like no other. It is a very early spring blooming peony. It has small pinkish red flowers all over it. But what is really special about this peony is the soft ferny foliage that is up out of the ground early in the spring. This peony blooms so early that its foliage starts to look sad and yellow in the late summer.

Plant it in and amongst other later blooming perennials so you can cut it down when it starts looking bad. This variety can get big and floppy and might require staking. I love how this variety adds some early spring structure to a garden, when a lot of plants are still sleeping it is sprouting out of the ground.

Bowl of Cream

Bowl of Cream
One of the main distinguishing features of Bowl of Cream is its high resistance to cold.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Bowl of Cream’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Bowl of cream has to be my favorite of the pure white peonies. It features large fluffy double blossoms of a creamy white color. The blooms can be 12″ wide and really create a statement. This plant will need to be staked because the flowers are so heavy. Also, provide as much protection for this peony as possible. I find white peonies can fade really fast in wind and storms. These make excellent cut flowers.

Green Halo

Green Halo
Green Halo requires an abundance of sunlight.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Green Halo’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Green halo is a very unique variety. It is a semi double blossom. The outer guard petals are big and thick and have a greenish hue, with a fluffy white inner flower. This is a very modern funky peony that would look great in bouquets. This variety is muted and doesn’t draw a lot of attention, so try planting it closer so people can really take a look at its greenish hue.

Francoise Ortegat

Francoise Ortegat
Francoise Ortegat is a beautiful fragrant herbaceous plant that belongs to the Peony family.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Francoise Ortegat’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Francoise Ortegat is a deep velvety red variety that is over 150 years old. This peony isn’t as popular anymore but I think it is time to bring it back. It is a beautiful dark magenta color and very fragrant. The blossoms are deeply ruffled and very intricate. This variety makes excellent cut flowers. This variety will require staking as it has very big heavy blooms.

Miss America

Miss America
Miss America is a light-loving plant, which is characterized by lush and long flowering.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Miss America’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

There she is, Miss America! This beautiful semi double flower starts off as a blushing pink bud. It then opens to a beautiful papery white with a fluffy lemony yellow center. The flowers are large and spectacular like gigantic daisies. This variety makes great cut flowers. The heavy blooms will need staking.

Wild Lactiflora

Wild Lactiflora
Wild Lactiflora is a beautiful plant that blooms mainly in spring.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Wild’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

This is a classic variety of peony found in many gardens. It’s a simple peony but it is bold and beautiful. It has a single row of fuchsia petals that open wide to reveal a bright yellow center. Since the flowers on this one are just single flowers it is not as heavy and usually does not require staking. I think in the pursuit of unique and crazy varieties we sometimes forget about the beauty of simplicity. The flowers are simple and long lasting. I love pops of this variety throughout a bright flowery cottage garden.

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple
Very hardy and extremely long-lived, Shirley Temple Peony shrubs grow up to 70-90 cm.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Shirley Temple’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

These are beautiful ruffled double flowers that resemble the cute dresses of Shirley Temple. The buds start off solid pink and then they open to a beautiful soft pale pink. Then as the blooms continue to open they fade to a creamy white. Shirley Temple is a fragrant variety. It should be planted in a sheltered location so the hard rains and wind don’t destroy the delicate blooms. They will also need to be staked as the blossoms are large and heavy.

Old Faithful

Old Faithful
Old Faithful is a surprisingly beautiful dark red, velvety, and fragrant flower with a diameter of 20 cm.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Old Faithful’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Old Faithful is a red crimson variety. It is a very dark blood red and then it opens to a vibrant crimson. It is a double flowering variety with very large blossoms. Once it is fully open you will notice a slight yellow eye in the center. It is fragrant, huge, and striking. These flowers are very heavy and will require staking. They will have a profusion of blooms on a single plant.

Honey Gold

Honey Gold
An adult Honey Gold plant can reach 1 m in height. The stems (peduncles) are thin, strong, and surrounded by large, deeply dissected dark green leaves.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Honey Gold’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Japan
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Honey Gold is a striking and fragrant variety that has a single row of creamy ivory flowers and a gigantic fluffy yellow center. It is like a beautiful floral fried egg. It makes an interesting cut flower in a bouquet. This peony is large and may require staking to prop up the big fried egg flowers.

Prairie Charm

Prairie Charm
Medium-large inflorescences of Prairie Charm have a pale yellow color with a greenish tinge.
Scientific Name: Paeonia ‘Prairie Charm’
  • Plant Type: Itoh Hybrid
  • Geographic Origin: Japan
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

As a prairie girl myself, I do love this peony (even though itoh peonies are only borderline hardy in zone 3 where I live). It is an Itoh peony so it is large and herbaceous. Then it is a semi double yellow flower with a flame of red in the center. It produces a lot of blossoms on one plant. They are large sturdy plants that do not require staking. If you are a lower zone gardener plant them in a protected area of the garden and cover them with mulch or leaf litter in the fall for added protection.

Karl Rosenfield

Karl Rosenfield
Karl Rosenfield is photophilous, therefore, for the future place of residence of the flower, you need to choose a place that receives a lot of sunlight during the day.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Karl Rosenfield’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

 This is another very popular and classic variety. I see this peony everywhere and yet it never ceases to amaze me. They are double flowering bright magenta red. They make beautiful cut flowers. These big heavy blossoms will require staking. This and Sarah Bernhardt are probably the two most requested peonies that I plant in gardens.

Old Rose Dandy

Old Rose Dandy
Old Rose Dandy has a star-shaped flower, 10 cm in diameter, at the beginning of flowering yellowish-beige with a purple tint, later a delightful red-brown color.
Scientific Name: Paeonia ‘Old Rose Dandy’
  • Plant Type: Itoh Hybrid
  • Geographic Origin: Japan
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

This is another Itoh peony. So it has a large bushy plant with lots of large single blossomed flowers. They are soft dusty pink with a touch of red in the center of the petals. Then they finish off with some yellow stamens in the center.

Itoh peonies generally do not need staking because they are a hybrid of a tree peony and a regular herbaceous peony which makes them have sturdier stalks.  Again, this one is only borderline hardy in lower zones, so plant in a protected area and cover it with mulch or leaf litter after cutting it down in the fall.

Coral Charm

Coral Charm
The main attraction of Coral Charm is its coral-cream color and the shape of the inflorescences.
Scientific Name: Paeonia ‘Coral Charm’
  • Plant Type: Itoh Hybrid
  • Geographic Origin: Japan
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Coral Charm is a beautiful semi double variety that blooms in beautiful shades of coral salmon. It opens up to reveal a yellow center. This color is so old fashioned and beautiful it immediately makes me want to have a big fancy garden tea party. I love the whimsy that this coral color adds to gardens. These big full cup-like blossoms are heavy and may require staking.

Joker

Joker
Joker is a bright double flower of rich pink color.
Scientific Name: Paeonia Lactiflora ‘Joker’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Joker is a very unique and beautiful peony. They have large fluffy double blossoms that will open and be a bright pink and then the center will fade to white and leave a pink trim around the edges of the flower. This is a soft blend of colors, some blooms will be more pink, others softer white.

I see some pictures of this peony showing a very bold pink edge. You might get one or two blossoms like this, but it will mostly be a soft beautiful blend of white and pink. These big double blossoms will probably need to be staked.

Buckeye Belle

Buckeye Belle
Buckeye Belle is a semi-double peony with exceptional dark red flowers.
Scientific Name: Paeonia ‘Buckeye Belle’
  • Plant Type: Intersectional Hybrid
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

This is another one of the very popular varieties of peonies that are widely available. Buckeye Belle has a semi double deep velvet wine-colored flowers. Then it opens to show a touch of yellow in the center of the bowl. It is a medium height and sturdy peony that does not require staking. A great low maintenance option.

White Cap

White Cap
White Cap likes moderate solar activity, and prefers moderate watering.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘White Cap’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Japan
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

White cap peony is an underrated peony in my opinion. The buds on it are small and non descript. But then it opens and there is a single row of magenta petals. Inside the petals is a plume of fluffy ivory petals. It is very fragrant and makes a beautiful cut flower. It is also sturdy and does not need any staking.

Solange

Solange
Solange is world famous variety, characterized by unique decorative qualities.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Solange’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Solange is a beautiful big fluffy double peony. It is a white peony with just the slightest blush of light pink. It is very ruffled and beautiful. Its large flowers will require staking. It makes a beautiful cut flower, it would be stunning in a wedding bouquet.

Diana Parks

Diana Parks
Diana Parks is a double peony with large flowers of incredibly bright scarlet color with a slightly orange tinge.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Diana Parks’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Diana Parks is a bright ruby red flower. It is considered a double peony. It has a row of single large petals at the base and then is filled with a ruffly, shaggy center of pure crimson.  ‘Diana Parks’ is a fragrant variety and would make a great cut flower. This one will need to be staked because of its large flowers.

Black Beauty

Black Beauty
Black Beauty is popular among flower growers because of its unusual dark color, frost resistance, and abundant flowering.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Black Beauty’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Black Beauty is one of the darkest colored peonies. It is a lovely deep merlot color. It has double flowers that swirl inwards into a small yellow eye. ‘Black beauty’ is a fragrant variety and looks great in a bouquet. These big blossoms will most likely need to be staked.

Krinkled White

Krinkled White
Krinkled white peony is an elegant flower that looks like a large white butterfly with shiny wings.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Krinkled White’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

This variety is so sweet. Krinkled white peonies are a very simple variety. It is a single flower and it has lovely large white petals with a large yellow center. Like a fried egg flower. It is so bright and cheerful. This variety makes lots of buds and is covered in flowers. It also has sturdy stalks and usually does not require staking.

Red Charm

Red Charm
Red Charm is suitable for cutting and for decorating flower beds, and also has a delicate aroma.
Scientific Name: Paeonia ‘Red Charm’
  • Plant Type: Intersectional Hybrid
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Red Charm is the classic red peony. It is a double flower featuring a single outer layer of larger petals and a fluffy ruffled inner flower. This one is very similar to Diana Parks, they are fairly interchangeable depending on what is available to you. The flowers are long lasting and heat tolerant. They are on sturdy stalks, so they may not even require staking.

Pink Hawaiian Coral

Pink Hawaiian Coral
Pink Hawaiian Coral is a perennial plant that tolerates low temperatures.
Scientific Name: Paeonia ‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

I love coral peonies! Pink Hawaiian Coral brings a tropical vibe to the garden. It  is a lovely semi-double flower that is a light coral color that gradually fades to a soft creamy peach color. It is an early blooming peony and has a wonderful fragrance. Many flowers bloom on their stalks. They have big blossoms that may require staking.

Bridal Shower

Bridal Shower
Bridal Shower is a graceful double bomb-shaped ivory flower with a diameter of 18 cm.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Bridal Shower’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Bridal Shower is a lovely pure white peony. It is a double peony that features an outer row of large white guard petals and a fluffy frilly inner flower. Give this variety ample protection from hard rain and wind to keep the delicate flowers white and intact. They will most likely require staking.

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk
Pillow Talk – pale pink flowers with a pearly sheen, slightly twisted petals of blossoming terry buds exuding a delicate aroma.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Pillow Talk’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Pillow Talk is a gorgeous soft pink double flowering variety that fades to a creamy white color in the center. It is similar to the very popular Sarah Bernhardt peony if you cannot find Pillow Talk. It is a profusion of pink double blossoms that are great for cutting. This variety’s large double flowers will probably need staking.

Scarlett O’Hara

Scarlett O'Hara
The flower of Scarlett O’Hara is simple, scarlet, brilliant with a contrasting mass of golden stamens.
Scientific Name: Paeonia ‘Scarlett O’Hara’
  • Plant Type: Intersectional Hybrid
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Scarlett O’Hara is as timeless and classy as the character herself. A beautiful scarlet red single flower with a bright sunny yellow middle. This is an old fashioned and very delicate variety that I love. Since its flowers are smaller and on sturdy stems it often does not require staking.

Felix Crousse

Felix Crousse
Felix Crousse has dark red flowers with a blue tint, with a silky sheen.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Felix Crousse’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Felix Crousse is a fabulous magenta double flowering variety. It is showy with lots of layers of ruffled petals, and it is also a beautifully fragrant variety. This variety is heavy and will probably meet staked. These make incredible cut flowers.

Red Sarah Bernhardt

Red Sarah Bernhardt
Red Sarah Bernhardt inflorescences are purple-red in color. Its aroma is moderate, filled with sweet notes.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora “Red Sarah Bernhardt’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Sarah Bernhardt is one of the most popular varieties of peonies with her large pink double flowers. So it should come as no surprise that the red variety is just as beautiful. It is a deep red variety, which is unusual in itself. Most red peonies are bright red or a darker burgundy red. But this one is a deep crimson, it is very striking. It has the same perfect double flower as the pink variety. Apparently, it blooms slightly earlier than the pink Sarah Bernhardt so it would be lovely to plant the two together for a flush of red followed by the beautiful light pink variety.

Edulis Superba

Edulis Superba
Edulis Superba is a perennial shrub with rich pink-lilac flowers.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Edulis Superba’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia, Europe
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Edulis Superba is a great extra early blooming variety. It is a very old heirloom variety that is very fragrant. It has medium sized bright pink double flowers. They make wonderful, early, cut flowers. The double flowers in this peony may require staking.

Raspberry Sundae

Raspberry Sundae
The Raspberry Sundae flower is quite large, up to 18 cm in diameter, dense-double with wavy petals.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Raspberry Sundae’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Raspberry Sundae is a work of art. It is a beautiful large double peony that has blushing pink large outer petals, then a layer of fluffy light buttery ice-cream yellow petals finished off with a fluffy layer of the same blushing pink colored petals as the outside. These make very unique cut flowers and have a beautiful fragrance. They will probably require staking because of their large flowers.

Lillian Wild

Lillian Wild
Lillian Wild is a fragrant creamy pink flower, that may have red rims in the center.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Lillian Wild’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

The American Peony Society describes this flower as flesh colored that fades to white (I couldn’t come up with a more appropriate, but odd, description!) These are one of the largest double blooming flowers that get larger with every season.

It is a later blooming peony that will bloom after the early blooming ones have faded. These gigantic blossoms should be planted in an area that is protected by the wind and rain to ensure beautifully white and intact blossoms. Staking will also probably be required.

Avalanche

Avalanche
Avalanche belongs to white varieties with very fragrant flowers.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Avalanche’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Avalanche peonies are large double peony flowers. The outer petals are big and white and then it fades to the slightest pink blush. It finishes with a few red margins on the very inner petals. It is delicate and beautiful and makes for great cut flowers. The heavy blossoms will probably require staking. Try and give this variety as much protection from heavy rain and winds as possible.

Cardinal Vaughan

Cardinal Vaughan
Cardinal Vaughan has semi-double flowers that vary in shades between ruby and purple.
Scientific Name: Paeonia x suffruticosa ‘Cardinal Vaughan’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: United Kingdom
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

This peony is the only one on the list that is a tree peony. This means that it is a deciduous shrub rather than a herbaceous perennial that is cut down every season. This variety is only cold hardy to zone 5. It is a semi double flower with fuschia pink outer petals and a yellow center. It’s a unique variety to add to your peony collection.

Goldilocks

Goldilocks
Goldilocks is a beautiful bomb-shaped flower with soft yellow, intertwined petals.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Goldilocks’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Goldilocks is a beautiful double peony. It has large outer petals and then a bomb of fluffy inner petals. The whole flower is a beautiful pale butter yellow color. I love this pure yellow color, they would make excellent cut flowers. I think the soft yellow color is an unexpected surprise in a peony. The large double flowers will most likely require staking.

Class Act

Class Act
Class Act prefers a sunny location and nutritious loose soils without stagnant water.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Class Act’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: America
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Class Act is a beautiful double flowering peony. Its buds are a blushing pink that open up white with the most pale pink hue. It is fragrant and produces many blooms. The large flowers will most likely need to be staked. Plant in a protected location to keep the beautiful white flowers looking great.

Do Tell

Do Tell
Do Tell is a large Japanese-type inflorescence that combines a gradient of pale pink on the outer petals and pinnate staminodes that are pale pink to almost red.
Scientific Name: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Do Tell’
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: China
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Do tell is a is a gorgeous peony, very unique! It has very large guard petals that are a blushing and marbled pink color. Then it’s a small inner flower explosion of a darker pink stamen mixed in with small fluffy white petals. This one definitely makes a statement. This variety has sturdy stems that usually do not require staking.

Final Thoughts

I hope you’ve gone through this list and found a few fast favorites. Keep in mind that if you have your heart set on a particular variety it may not be at your nearest garden center. Instead of thinking of an exact variety perhaps think about the feature of the particular variety that you really love. Is it the soft pink color? Could it be the large double blooms? Is it because it is low maintenance and doesn’t require staking?  Think of the feature that you like and then when out at the garden center focus on those attributes rather than the specific variety.

Also, remember a peony takes time to establish itself and bloom. It could take a couple of seasons in order to start reliably producing the profusion of blooms you see on the tag.

Peonies are such a versatile garden mainstay. They can be mass planted as a single variety for a uniform mass of flowers. It can be planted as a feature plant that provides a huge pop of flowers and draws everyone’s attention. Or it can be planted alongside a bunch of varieties of peonies, some blooming earlier, some later, some overlapping in bloom times, for a symphony of peony flowers.

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