Best Peony Varieties – Choosing The Right Bloom For Your Garden

A stunning bouquet of peonies surrounded by greenery in nature.Are you dreaming of a garden alive with the enchanting blooms of peonies, but unsure which variety to select? With over 194 distinctive peony varieties in existence, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by choice.

Our guide simplifies the task by detailing different types, shapes and crucial factors for picking your perfect peony. You’ll soon be on your way to creating the floral haven you’ve always imagined!

Key Takeaways

  • There are three main types of peonies for your garden: herbaceous, woody, and Itoh/Intersectional peonies.
  • Factors to consider when choosing peony varieties include bloom size and color, plant size and growth habit, fragrance, disease resistance, bloom time, and reblooming varieties.
  • Popular peony varieties include Sarah Bernhardt, Festiva Maxima, Coral Charm, Bowl of Beauty, Bartzella, and Duchesse de Nemours.

Types of Peonies for Your Garden

Vibrant garden with blooming peonies in different varieties.There are three main types of peonies that you can choose for your garden: herbaceous, woody, and Itoh/Intersectional peonies.

Herbaceous Peonies

Herbaceous peonies are an exemplary choice for a perennial garden. They’re robust, long-lived plants that provide intense color and fragrance to your outdoor space. Known as one of the most easily grown hardy perennials, they thrive in many climates and can even live for over a hundred years! This variety of peony has a stunning display period from late spring to early summer, making them stand out in your garden during this time frame.

Florally extravagant with immense blooms, these large and imposing plants bring drama to any garden setting. Their sturdy growth habit ensures resilience against diseases and enhances their popularity among gardening enthusiasts.

Woody Peonies

Woody peonies, also known as tree peonies, are an exquisite variety that brings beauty and sophistication to any garden. Unlike herbaceous peonies that die back each fall, these varieties develop a woody trunk over time which remains year-round.

They boast large lush blooms in an array of vibrant colors ranging from white and pink to lavender and red. Due to the plant’s hardy nature, they can withstand harsh winters with ease.

A unique attribute of woody peonies is their exceptional longevity – some old-tree specimens have been recorded living for well over a century! With this type of durability coupled with stunning visual appeal, it’s no wonder they’re often heralded as one of the best peony varieties for home gardens.

Woody peonies not only offer visual interest throughout all seasons but also have strong disease resistance making them perfect for low-maintenance gardening enthusiasts.

Itoh/Intersectional Peonies

Itoh peonies, also known as intersectional peonies, are stunning hybrids resulting from combining herbaceous and tree peonies. These plants are celebrated for their incredible beauty and versatility that allows them to thrive in a wide range of climates.

The Itoh variety has an impressive array of vibrant hues making it one of the best peony varieties to choose from. One popular choice is ‘Bartzella,’ well-loved for not just its allure but also its robust performance in gardens.

Itoh’s bloom typically brightens up gardens in late spring or early summer, adding charm with their giant flowers and alluring foliage. Though they may seem extravagant at purchase due to their spectacular features, these perennials more than makeup by being splendid centerpiece plants suitable for both small spaces and expansive gardens alike.

Their rich history only adds to the intrigue, making Itoh Peonies increasingly sought after among gardening enthusiasts worldwide.

Guide to Peony Flower Shapes

Close-up of peony flowers arranged in a floral composition.

  • Peonies come in a wide variety of floral shapes including single, anemone, semi – double, double, and bomb.
  • Single peony flowers have one or more rows of large outer petals surrounding a center of golden stamens.
  • Anemone – shaped peonies have a similar structure to single peonies but with a tufted center of narrow petaloids instead of stamens.
  • Semi – double peonies have a row or two of large petals surrounding a center that is composed of both stamens and petaloids.
  • Double peonies have multiple layers of large, overlapping petals resulting in a very full and rounded bloom.
  • Bomb – shaped peonies have tightly packed petals that surround a dense cluster of petaloids at the center, giving the appearance of an explosion.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Peony Varieties

Consider factors such as bloom size and color, plant size and growth habit, fragrance, disease resistance, bloom time, and reblooming varieties when choosing the perfect peony for your garden.

Want to learn more? Keep reading!

Bloom size and color

Peonies come in a wide range of bloom sizes and colors, making them a versatile choice for any garden. From delicate single blooms to full, fluffy doubles, there is something to suit every preference.

The bloom size can vary from about 2 inches in diameter up to an impressive 10 inches or more. As for color, while shades of pink are the most common, peonies also come in white, red, coral, yellow, and even purple hues.

With such variety available, you can easily find peony varieties that will complement your existing garden color scheme or create a stunning focal point with their vibrant blooms.

Plant size and growth habit

Consider the size and growth habit of peony varieties when choosing the right bloom for your garden. Peonies come in a range of sizes, from compact plants that reach about 2 feet tall to taller varieties that can grow up to 5 feet or more.

It’s important to choose a variety that fits well with the overall layout and scale of your garden. Additionally, some peonies have an upright growth habit, while others have a spreading or cascading habit.

Take into account how each variety will fit within your garden’s design and consider whether you prefer a more formal or informal look.


Fragrance plays a crucial role in choosing the right peony variety for your garden. The scent of peonies can range from sweet and rosy to citrusy and spicy, adding an extra sensory dimension to your outdoor space.

Some peonies are strongly scented, allowing their fragrance to be enjoyed even from a distance. It’s important to consider the dispersal of fragrance by a breeze when selecting a peony type, as certain varieties may release their scent more easily than others.

Whether you prefer a delicate or bold aroma, there are numerous options available to enhance your garden with the intoxicating perfume of peonies.

Disease resistance

Peonies, known for their beautiful blooms, can sometimes be susceptible to diseases like Botrytis blight. However, different peony varieties have varying levels of resistance to these diseases.

When choosing peonies for your garden, it’s important to consider their disease resistance. Some varieties show a higher level of resistance to diseases compared to others, which means they are less likely to be affected and require less maintenance.

This can help ensure that your peonies stay healthy and vibrant throughout the growing season with minimal effort on your part.

Bloom time

Peony bloom time can vary depending on the type of peony and where you live. Garden peonies typically bloom in late spring to early summer, while Itoh peonies can have a longer blooming period from late spring to late summer.

There are also early, midseason, and late blooming varieties available, allowing you to extend the flower blooming period in your garden. It’s important to note that not all varieties will bloom at the same time or for the same duration, with peony flowers generally lasting for about 7-10 days.

So when choosing peony varieties for your garden, consider the different bloom times they offer for continuous floral displays throughout the season.

Reblooming varieties

Peony lovers will be delighted to know that there are reblooming varieties of these beautiful flowers. Reblooming peonies offer the opportunity to enjoy their stunning blooms not just once, but multiple times throughout the growing season.

These varieties have been bred to produce a second flush of flowers after the initial bloom period, extending the enjoyment and beauty of peonies in your garden. With reblooming peonies, you can relish in their big, fluffy petals and delightful fragrance for an even longer time.

Popular Peony Varieties for Your Garden

It’s important to select the right peony variety that suits your taste and garden aesthetics. Here are some of the popular peony varieties that may inspire you:

Peony VarietyDescription
Sarah BernhardtNamed after the famous actress, Sarah Bernhardt is an herbaceous peony with large, fragrant, pink double blossoms.
Festiva MaximaThis is a heritage peony variety. Festiva Maxima is known for its large, frilly white blooms with crimson flecks at the center.
Coral CharmThe Coral Charm is an early blooming, semi-double peony, known for its striking coral color that fades to peach as it matures.
Bowl of BeautyAn exotic herbaceous peony, Bowl of Beauty, stands out with its pink outer petals and creamy white center.
BartzellaBartzella is an Itoh peony. It boasts large yellow double flowers and is a vigorous grower.
Duchesse de NemoursThis variety is an old-fashioned type, Duchesse de Nemours, known for its double white flowers with a strong, sweet fragrance.

Each of these peonies can bring a unique charm to your garden. Whether you choose a traditional beauty like Duchesse de Nemours or a modern marvel like Bartzella, your garden is sure to shine with these gorgeous blooms.


In conclusion, choosing the best peony variety for your garden is all about personal preference and considering factors such as bloom size, color, plant size, fragrance, disease resistance, and bloom time.

With so many beautiful options available in different types of peonies, you’re sure to find the perfect bloom to enhance your garden. Happy gardening!


1. What are the factors to consider when choosing a peony variety for my garden?

When choosing a peony variety for your garden, you should consider factors such as the bloom color and shape, plant height and size, blooming season, fragrance, and disease resistance.

2. Which peony varieties are best suited for beginners in gardening?

For beginners in gardening, it is recommended to choose easy-to-grow peony varieties such as Sarah Bernhardt, Karl Rosenfield, or Festiva Maxima. These varieties are known for their reliability and adaptability.

3. Can I grow different peony varieties together in the same garden?

Yes, you can definitely grow different peony varieties together in the same garden. In fact, mixing different varieties can create a beautiful and diverse display of colors and bloom shapes.

4. How do I ensure proper care for my chosen peony variety?

To ensure proper care for your chosen peony variety, make sure to plant them in well-draining soil with plenty of sunlight. Water regularly but avoid overwatering. Provide support such as stakes or cages to prevent heavy blooms from bending or breaking. Also, remove any dead or diseased foliage during the growing season to maintain plant health.

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