Peony Facts – Uncovering Surprising Truths About This Popular Flower

Close-up of vibrant peony blossom surrounded by other blooming flowers.Do you think you know all there is about peonies? Surprisingly, these floral showstoppers have more to them than meets the eye. Our blog post will dive deep into uncovering lesser-known facts and hidden truths about this popular flower, from its symbolism to why it’s a wedding favorite.

Ready for a blooming adventure?.

Key Takeaways

  • Peonies have a rich history spanning over 4,000 years and are believed to have originated in China. They quickly gained popularity for their vibrant blooms and medicinal properties.
  • There are a wide variety of peonies, with estimates suggesting there are between 25 to 40 known species. Each species stands out for its unique shape, color, and fragrance.
  • Peonies hold deep symbolism rooted in Greek mythology, representing healing and protection. They also possess impressive medicinal properties and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
  • Peonies thrive in various regions around the world and have become an important part of different cultures and traditions. Alaska has emerged as a significant player in peony production, China’s Dianjiang is known as the “peony city,” and Indiana has designated peonies as their state flower since 1957.

History and Varieties of Peonies

A colorful bouquet of peonies on a wooden table.Peonies have a rich history spanning centuries and come in a wide array of varieties.

Centuries of history

Peonies’ rich history spans over 4,000 years, with roots tied to Asia, Europe, and Western North America. Originating in China, these ancients beauties quickly captivated attention for their vibrant blooms and medicinal properties.

The flower’s popularity peaked during the Qing dynasty when it was designated as the national flower of China. Europe wasn’t far behind in embracing peonies; tree varieties were introduced to the continent in the early 1800s and instantly won hearts across various countries.

By the time this versatile flower reached American shores later that century, peony mania had well and truly taken root around the world. With centuries under its belt, it stands as a timeless symbol of beauty and resilience today.

Huge variety of peonies

Believe it or not, the enchanting world of peonies drives home a rich diversity with estimates suggesting that there are anywhere between 25 to 40 known species. Each species stands out for its unique shape, color, and fragrance.

From blush pink Sarah Bernhardt peony to deep red Duchesse de Nemours variety; there is a type for every enthusiast. Influenced by cultivation and hybridization over centuries, variations extend beyond just species, resulting in an impressive range of garden hybrids and cultivars.

This variety extends itself into their size too! Peony flowers can astound you as they open up to three times their original dimension, making them an interesting addition to any green space.

More so because these plants live long – some peonies are known to survive more than a century! Considering such breadth in features across different kinds of peonies – one might say that exploring this flower family could indeed be a lifetime affair!

Symbolism and Medicinal Properties of Peonies

A close-up of a blooming peony flower surrounded by lush greenery.Peonies have deep symbolism rooted in Greek mythology, representing healing and protection. They are also known for their medicinal properties, with the roots being used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various ailments such as pain and inflammation.

Rooted in Greek mythology

The intriguing relationship between peonies and Greek mythology dates back centuries. In one tale, Paeon, the physician to the gods, was transformed into a beautiful peony flower as a disguise from his teacher Asclepius, who grew jealous of his talents.

Meanwhile, another myth highlights a nymph named Paeonia who drew too much attention with her beauty and was turned into this blooming blossom out of sheer bashfulness. These myths gave rise to the medicinal properties associated with peonies and attributed symbolic meanings such as romance, elegance, honor and wealth to this alluring bloom over time.

Medicinal properties

Peonies aren’t just beautiful flowers; they also possess impressive medicinal properties. Studies have shown that peonies contain compounds that can boost the immune system and even have mood-enhancing effects.

These properties make peonies a valuable ingredient in traditional medicine, particularly in China, where they are used to treat various ailments such as inflammation, pain, and respiratory issues.

The use of peonies in herbal remedies dates back centuries, highlighting their long-standing reputation for their healing abilities.

Symbolic meanings

Peonies hold a wealth of symbolic meanings that have been cherished for centuries. These beautiful flowers are often associated with love, honor, happiness, and beauty. In Greek mythology, peonies were believed to be named after Paeon, the physician of the gods.

As such, they also symbolize healing and are used in traditional medicine for their medicinal properties. Additionally, peonies are seen as a representation of wealth and prosperity in Chinese and Japanese cultures.

The color and variety of peonies can further convey different symbolic messages – from romance and compassion to good luck and happy marriage. Whether given as a gift or used in celebrations, peonies carry deep cultural significance wherever they bloom.

Peonies Around the World

Peonies thrive in various regions around the world and have become an important part of different cultures and traditions.

Alaska’s peony production

Alaska has emerged as a significant player in the peony industry, with millions of cut peonies being grown in the state. The cultivation of peonies in Alaska dates back to the early 1900s, following the Klondike and Alaska Gold Rush.

In recent years, dozens of farms have sprung up across the state, fueling a tenfold increase in peony production. This newfound niche agricultural commodity helps to fill the gap in peony availability during certain months of the year and adds a touch of Alaskan charm to floral arrangements worldwide.

China’s peony city

China’s peony city, Dianjiang in Chongqing, boasts an impressive history of nearly 2,000 years of peony cultivation. Known as the hometown of Chinese peonies, this vibrant city has been at the forefront of cultivating and preserving these beautiful flowers.

Its rich heritage and dedication to growing exquisite varieties have solidified its reputation as a must-visit destination for flower enthusiasts worldwide.

State flower of Indiana

The peony holds a special place in the heart of Indiana, as it has been designated as the state flower since 1957. Before the peony, Indiana had several other official state flowers, including the zinnia, carnation, and tulip tree flower.

This beautiful and vibrant flower is deeply rooted in the history and culture of Indiana. It symbolizes prosperity and good fortune, making it a fitting choice for the state’s floral emblem.

The peony’s rich colors and lush appearance have made it a beloved bloom among gardeners throughout Indiana for centuries. Some of the oldest peonies in the state can still be found growing today, reminding residents of their historical significance and enduring beauty.

Fun and Surprising Facts About Peonies

– Peonies have a short blooming season, making their beauty all the more fleeting.

– These vibrant flowers are deer resistant, perfect for gardens plagued by hungry wildlife.

– Did you know that peonies attract ants? The flower buds produce nectar that attracts them.

– Peony plants can live for over 100 years, making them a long-lasting addition to any garden.

– Peonies are a popular choice as wedding flowers due to their romantic and elegant aesthetic.

Read on to uncover even more surprising facts about these beloved blooms!

Short blooming season

Peonies may be beloved, but their blooming season is surprisingly short. Typically, peonies begin to bloom in the last days of April and only last until the first days of June. This beautiful flower bursts into color for just a few fleeting weeks before fading away.

However, the exact timing can vary depending on the region and climate. Despite their brief appearance, peonies are worth the wait as they bring an explosion of elegance and romance to any garden or floral arrangement.

Deer resistant

Peonies are not only beautiful, but they also have the added benefit of being deer resistant. This means that deer tend to avoid feasting on these stunning flowers. The flavor and sap inside the stems of peonies make them unappetizing to deer, resulting in less damage to your garden or flower bed.

So if you’re looking for a resilient and gorgeous addition to your outdoor space, consider planting some deer-resistant peonies.

Attracts ants

Peonies are often associated with ants, as these insects are commonly found crawling on the flowers during their late spring blooming season. However, contrary to popular belief, ants are not harmful to peonies and actually have a beneficial relationship with them.

Peonies produce a sweet and sugary nectar around their buds near bloom time, which attracts ants. This nectar serves as food for the ants, creating a mutually beneficial arrangement known as biological mutualism.

While it may be surprising to see ants on peonies, this interaction does not impact the quality or beauty of the flowers themselves.

Longevity of peonies

Peonies are known for their extraordinary longevity, often outliving the humans who care for them. These beautiful flowers can live and grow for over a century, making them a cherished addition to any garden or landscape.

With proper care and maintenance, peonies can thrive year after year, delighting us with their stunning blooms season after season. Their ability to withstand the test of time is just one of the many reasons why peonies have remained a beloved flower throughout history.

Peonies as wedding flowers

Peonies are a popular choice for wedding flowers, and it’s easy to see why. These beautiful blooms symbolize romance, good fortune, and a happy marriage. In fact, in many cultures, peonies are considered to bring luck and blessings to the newlyweds.

Their lush petals and fragrant scent make them a perfect addition to any bridal bouquet or centerpiece. Whether they’re used as accents or as the main flower in arrangements, peonies add an elegant touch to any wedding celebration.

Plus, with their wide variety of colors including pink, white, red, and yellow, there is sure to be a peony that matches any wedding theme or color scheme. So if you’re planning your big day or helping someone else plan theirs, consider incorporating these stunning flowers into the festivities for an extra dash of beauty and good fortune.


Peonies, with their captivating beauty and rich history, have become one of the most beloved flowers in the world. Originating in China over 4,000 years ago, these exquisite blooms have captivated people throughout centuries.

Today, there are a staggering 33 known species of peonies, each boasting unique colors and petal formations. These flowers hold deep symbolism and medicinal properties as well. Rooted in Greek mythology, peonies were named after Paeon – a student of Asclepius who was turned into a flower by Zeus to save him from his teacher’s jealousy.

These fascinating flowers also possess medicinal properties that have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

Although peonies are cherished around the world, they hold special significance in different regions. In Alaska’s frigid climate conditions, an unexpected industry has emerged – peony production.

Peony farms thrive during summer months when other crops can’t survive the cold temperatures. Meanwhile, China boasts Luoyang as its “peony city,” proudly displaying over 1 million square meters of breathtaking peony gardens every spring.

In Indiana, peonies hold such importance that they were designated as the state flower due to their elegance and charm.

Aside from their rich symbolism and global impact, peonies hide some intriguing surprises beneath their petals. Despite their stunning beauty, peony blooms only grace us with their presence for a short blooming season from late spring to early summer.

However brief this window may be though it is truly worth waiting for! Another surprising fact about these enchanting flowers is that they attract ants to help them bloom fully—these small insects feed on nectar glands found at the base of each petal.


peonies are deer resistant—a quality that gardeners appreciate because it means less worry about hungry wildlife feasting on delicate blossoms.Regardless whether you’re able to admire these majestic flowers outdoors or cherish them as a centerpiece in your home, the longevity of peonies is simply astonishing.

These plants can live for over 100 years, making them an enduring symbol of beauty and grace.

Lastly, it’s no wonder that peonies are a popular choice for wedding flowers. Symbolizing good fortune and a happy marriage, these blooms perfectly embody the hopes and dreams of couples embarking on their new journey together.

From their captivating history to their surprising characteristics, there’s no denying that peonies have earned their place as one of nature’s most cherished treasures.


In conclusion, peonies are not just your average flower. With a rich history, symbolic meanings, and surprising facts, they have captivated people’s hearts for centuries. Whether you’re fascinated by their medicinal properties or intrigued by their short blooming season, peonies continue to be a beloved favorite among gardeners and flower enthusiasts worldwide.

So next time you encounter these stunning blooms, take a moment to appreciate the hidden truths that make peonies truly remarkable.


1. What are some surprising truths about peonies?

Surprising truths about peonies include their long lifespan, the fact that they can live for decades if properly cared for, and their ability to symbolize different meanings in different cultures.

2. How do I properly care for peonies?

To properly care for peonies, they should be planted in well-draining soil with plenty of sunlight, watered regularly but not overwatered, and provided with support such as stakes or cages to prevent them from flopping over.

3. Can I grow peonies indoors?

While it is possible to grow peonies indoors in containers, they typically thrive better outdoors where they have access to natural sunlight and space to spread out their roots.

4. Are all peony flowers fragrant?

Not all varieties of peony flowers are fragrant. Some have a subtle scent while others may have no scent at all. It is recommended to research specific varieties if fragrance is an important factor for you.

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