What Does A Peony Bush Look Like – A Guide For Identification

Close-up shot of a blooming peony flower surrounded by foliage.Ever puzzled over that vibrant bush in your garden, wondering “What kind of plant is this?” Quite possibly, you’re looking at the regal peony – a shrub known for its large, fragrant flowers.

This post will guide you to spot these enchanting plants among others by understanding their key features and types. So keep reading; let’s demystify these floral wonders together!

Key Takeaways

  • There are three main types of peonies: herbaceous peonies, tree peonies, and Itoh hybrid peonies. Each type has its own unique characteristics and offers a range of colors and flower forms.
  • Peony bushes can be identified by their bloom types, season of bloom, colors, and petal characteristics. They come in a variety of bloom types such as double, anemone, and single. The season of bloom varies depending on location but generally occurs from late spring through early summer.
  • Peony bushes come in a wide range of colors including pink, white, red, coral, yellow, and purple. The petals also vary in shape and size with some having single rows of petals while others have double or semi-double layers.
  • Popular peony varieties for identification include ‘America’, ‘Bartzella’ (Itoh Hybrid), ‘Buckeye Belle’, ‘Claire de Lune’, and ‘Festiva Maxima’. Each variety has its own distinct characteristics such as color and fragrance that make them stand out in any garden landscape.

Understanding Different Types of Peonies

Colorful peony arrangement in a garden, vibrant and bustling atmosphere.There are three main types of peonies: herbaceous peonies, tree peonies, and Itoh hybrid peonies.

Herbaceous peonies

Herbaceous peonies are a gardener’s favorite, thanks to their easy care and profuse blooms. As hardy perennials, they can live up to 100 years or more, adding long-lasting beauty to any landscape.

The plants are recognized by their glossy leaves that grow on annual stems. They require at least six hours of full sunlight daily for optimal growth and flowering. Known for their wide variety of bloom types ranging from anemone to bomb flowers, herbaceous peonies display impressive diversity in petal shape and coloration as well.

Despite being different from tree peonies and intersectional/Itoh peonies, these beauties hold their own with stunning flowers that make them standout additions to borders, hedges, or even as cut flowers in vases indoors.

Tree peonies

Tree peonies are an enchanting variety in the peony family notable for their permanent woody stems. Despite their name, tree peonies aren’t trees but rather a type of shrub native to Europe and Asia.

Their deep green foliage provides a pleasing contrast to their large, showy flowers, which bloom in mid to late spring.

The blossoms on these magnificent plants can reach up to 10 inches across, making them a breathtaking spectacle throughout the blooming season. This particular type of peony bush doesn’t just impress with its size; it also offers differing flower forms akin to herbaceous varieties.

Showcasing colors ranging from delicate pinks and whites to richer hues, tree peonies offer a visual treat that stands out in any garden landscape.

Itoh hybrid peonies (intersectional peonies)

Itoh hybrid peonies, or intersectional peonies, are stunning cultivars that embody the best traits of herbaceous and tree peonies. These hybrids are crafted through a unique crossing process to leverage attributes from both parent plants.

The charm of Itoh peonies lies in their foliage which, unlike herbaceous varieties, adopts a woody framework during winter before shedding back. With an array of colors such as white, yellow and pink these flowering gems inject gardens with vibrant hues that appeal to garden enthusiasts worldwide.

Among the cherished types ‘Bartzella’, ‘Coronation Gold’, and ‘Julia Rose’ stand out for their show-stopping allure. Garden care for them is fairly simple requiring well-drained soil under full sun conditions along with regular watering.

Far from being typical; they’re noted for their longevity offering large blooms that last longer than other types making them a coveted choice among garden species.

Identifying Peony Bushes

Close-up shot of a vibrant peony blossom in a garden.Peony bushes can be identified by their bloom types, season of bloom and colors and petal characteristics.

Bloom types and characteristics

Peony bushes come in a variety of bloom types and characteristics, making them a stunning addition to any garden. The most common type is the double peony, which features large, bushy blooms with layers of petals.

These flowers are known for their fragrant scent and vibrant colors. Another popular type is the anemone peony, which has a central cluster of fluffy petals surrounded by larger outer petals.

Single peonies have just one layer of petals and often showcase intricate patterns or contrasting colors. No matter the bloom type, peonies bring beauty and elegance to any landscape with their lush foliage and eye-catching flowers.

Season of bloom

Peonies are known for their stunning blooms, and the season of bloom varies depending on your location and the specific variety of peony you’re growing. Generally, peonies bloom from late spring through early summer.

The overall blooming season lasts for about six weeks, giving you plenty of time to enjoy these gorgeous flowers. Whether it’s the vibrant colors and large petals of herbaceous peonies or the delicate beauty of tree peonies, there’s a type of peony that will add a touch of elegance to your garden during this blooming season.

Colors and petal characteristics

Peony bushes come in a wide range of colors, offering a stunning display in any garden. From delicate pastel shades to vibrant hues, peonies can be found in almost every color except blue.

The most common color is light pink, which symbolizes romance, luck, and prosperity. However, you can also find peonies in shades of white, red, coral, yellow, and even purple. Along with their various colors, peony petals come in different shapes and sizes.

Some have single rows of petals while others are double or semi-double. There are also unique varieties like the bomb-type peonies that feature tightly-packed layers of petals for a striking appearance.

Popular Peony Varieties for Identification

Peony ‘America’ has deep pink petals with a delicate fragrance.

– Peony ‘Bartzella’ (Itoh Hybrid) features large, yellow blooms with a hint of red at the center.

– Peony ‘Buckeye Belle’ has dark red flowers that stand out in any garden.

– Peony ‘Claire de Lune’ is a stunning white variety with ruffled petals and a sweet scent.

Read on to discover more beautiful peonies that will add color and elegance to your garden!

Peony ‘America’

One popular peony variety for identification is the Peony ‘America’. This particular peony is associated with the American Peony Society, highlighting its popularity among collectors.

While specific information about its characteristics or appearance is not provided in the article, it can be assumed that Peony ‘America’ showcases beautiful and showy blooms like other peonies.

With its vibrant colors and unique petal characteristics, this variety stands out in any garden or landscape. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, identifying and appreciating the beauty of the Peony ‘America’ can be a delightful addition to your knowledge of peonies.

Peony ‘Bartzella’ (Itoh Hybrid)

Peony ‘Bartzella’ is a popular yellow Itoh hybrid peony variety and is considered the industry standard in its category. Developed by Roger Anderson in Wisconsin, this stunning plant produces up to 50 or more large flowers on sturdy short stems.

Blooming in late spring, ‘Bartzella’ adds a burst of color to any garden with its charming yellow blooms and pleasant fragrance. Not only is it deer and rabbit-resistant, but it also returns year after year as a perennial plant.

With its unique combination of tree peony and herbaceous peony characteristics, ‘Bartzella’ is truly a standout in the world of peonies.

Peony ‘Buckeye Belle’

Peony ‘Buckeye Belle’ is a stunning double-flowered peony with dark red petals. The center of its flowers is filled with beautiful yellow stamens, creating an eye-catching contrast.

This unique hybrid peony has won awards and is highly sought after by gardeners. Its semi-double blooms are velvety in texture, adding to its allure. ‘Buckeye Belle’ belongs to the herbaceous peony category and is known for its velvety dark red petals and explosion of brightly colored stamens.

It does not have a specific fragrance associated with it but it remains widely available and popular among peony enthusiasts.

Peony ‘Claire de Lune’

Peony ‘Claire de Lune’ is a popular variety of herbaceous peony that blooms in the spring. It features large, bowl-shaped flowers with creamy yellow outer petals that gradually fade to a paler shade.

The inner petals are ivory-white and slightly crinkled, giving the flower a unique and charming appearance. This peony variety is known for its abundant buttery-yellow stamen and its early blooming time, making it a favorite choice for both garden enthusiasts and floral arrangements.

With its large divided leaves and beautiful blossoms, Peony ‘Claire de Lune’ adds elegance to any landscape or bouquet.

Peony ‘Festiva Maxima’

One popular peony variety for identification is the ‘Festiva Maxima’. This herbaceous perennial plant grows to be between two and three feet tall, with deep green ornamental foliage that serves as a beautiful backdrop for its stunning flowers.

Known for over 100 years, ‘Festiva Maxima’ is a double white peony with a fluffy appearance and massive, loose form. Its flowers are 5-7 inches wide and have red flecks, making them remarkably beautiful.

Not only does this peony variety charm gardeners with its beauty, but it also has a noticeably fragrant aroma. With its prolonged bloom time and reliable performance, ‘Festiva Maxima’ remains a favorite among peony enthusiasts.


In conclusion, peony bushes are a stunning addition to any garden with their large, showy blossoms and range of colors. By understanding the different types of peonies and their characteristics, such as bloom type and season, you can easily identify these beautiful plants.

Whether it’s the elegant singles or the massive doubles with hundreds of petals, peonies are sure to make a statement in your outdoor space. So why not give them a try and enjoy the beauty and fragrance that these shrubs have to offer?.


1. How can I identify a peony bush?

Peony bushes are known for their large, showy flowers and attractive foliage. They typically have thick, woody stems and grow to be about 2-4 feet tall. The leaves are dark green and deeply lobed, giving them an elegant appearance.

2. What do the flowers of a peony bush look like?

The flowers of a peony bush come in a variety of colors, including shades of pink, white, red, and yellow. The blooms are usually large and double-layered with numerous petals that create a lush and full appearance. Some varieties may also have single-layered or semi-double blooms.

3. When do peony bushes bloom?

Peony bushes typically bloom in late spring to early summer, depending on the specific variety and location. The blooming period can last anywhere from one week to several weeks. It is important to note that some peonies may take several years to establish before producing their first blooms.

4. Can I grow a peony bush in my garden?

Yes, you can grow a peony bush in your garden if you provide it with the right conditions. Peonies prefer well-draining soil and require at least six hours of direct sunlight each day for optimal growth and blooming. It is also important to give them enough space as they tend to spread over time.

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