How does a peony bloom?


Elegant flowers

Fresh peonies are the most elegant flowers for decoration purposes after the roses. They come in different colors and varieties such as whites, pinks, yellows, and reds.  They belong to the genus Paeonia and the plant family Paoenieacea. For their large blossoms, they are very famous. All except two species of peony are native to Asia and Europe. For ornamental flowers, peonies are known as best option all around the world.

Physical characteristics

The height of this plant can be 4-6 feet. It is herbaceous and grows in deep green divided foliage. Peony leaves are large, shiny, and glossy.

How to care for Peony?

Staking of stems is required as the large peony flowers tend to bend downwards to the ground. It grows well in the sun or partly in shade or no shade at all. The type of soil which is most suitable for these is rich, fertile, well-drained with light moisture soils. This species is hermaphrodite meaning to have both male and female organs on the same plant hence they require pollination by insects. 

Groups of peony

Some well-known groups of peony are herbaceous, tree peony, and intersectional peonies. Let us describe each of these in detail.

Herbaceous peony

These are perennial peonies with a maximum height of 3 feet. They bloom in a variety of colors and fragrances. Their blooming period starts in late spring to early summer. 

These peonies require less care as compared to other varieties of peonies. Herbaceous peony leaves are large, glossy green. It is mostly visible throughout the summer. Their blooms are in pink, white rose, and crimson colors. The peony which comes under this category is Paula Fay, Coral Charm, Lady Alexandra Duff, and Shirley Temple.

Woodland herbaceous peony

These are another species of herbaceous peonies as they prefer to grow in shades. These tend to grow in deciduous woodlands where they can get sunshine during spring and shade in hot summer. Their maximum height could be 1-1.5 ft. Woodland peonies bloom in early spring and produce elegant white flowers and enchanting green foliage throughout the season. 

Tree peony

The tree peonies are woody shrubs and perennial in nature. They have large stems which can be 4-6 feet tall. They start blooming in late spring just before the herbaceous peonies and produce dazzling flowers. Their stems grow slowly but they grow upright and do not require staking. These can be as small as a few inches or as long as 8 ft tall.

These peonies bloom in various colors such as lilac, violet, red, and white. Tree peonies require a hot temperature so they are grafted on the roots of herbaceous peonies during summer or autumn. As peonies seldom grow by seeds as it takes a longer period of time for the seed to germinate so they are grafted on the rootstocks of other peonies for rapid growth. Also, these peonies can lose their beauty due to spring frost so their maintenance and care are a challenge.

Itoh or intersectional peonies:

Itoh peonies are a cross between a tree and herbaceous peony. Some of their characteristics are similar to tree peonies such as they grow and flower the same way while their flowers fall and die just similar to herbaceous peonies. Itoh peonies can produce up to 50 flowers on a small stem which does not require staking. These blossom after the herbaceous peonies for a few 3-4 to weeks. 

Their common blooms are in yellow and golden colors, these colors are very rare in herbaceous peonies. Their stems can be 2-3 feet tall. The most common Itoh peonies are Bartzella, Garden Treasure, and Cora Louise.

When does the Peonies bloom?

The blooming season comprises 6 weeks. Initially, the tree peonies start blooming and then following herbaceous peonies and finishing with the blooming of Itoh peonies. This occurs in the month of April to May and lasts longer till June. during this period if the weather is cold then the blooming lasts longer as compared to warm weather. Sadly the blooming period of one peony flower is approximately 7-10 days. In the following steps. These stages are visible in photos.

Peony blooming stages

1. Bud stage:

At this stage, the floral leaves tend to develop and tiny leaves surround the floral leaflets. But these leaves are not fully open. Inside the bud, there is a complete flower. 

peony bud stage
peony bud

In the above picture, we can see a peony flower bud which is tightly closed. That unopened bud still looks beautiful in its light pink floral leaflets.

2. New leaves growth:

The leaves attached to flower buds which are called sepals began to evolve at this stage and tend to grow more. Their growth continues until full maturity.

new leaves around peony bud
new leaves around peony bud

In the image, we can see the sepals are maturing and so the floral petals are also evolving from a bud position towards a new flower.

When the sepals are grown then the next stage is the growth of flower petals.

new petals around the peony
new petals of peony

Now the light pink petals began to evolve and tend to be open with the passage of time. We can see the growth of peony petals inside the images.

It takes a few days to bloom the flower.

Floral petals which are matured tend to open in steps. The initial blooming starts with the outermost petals which are larger in size as well.

In the above image, we can see the outermost petals are slightly opened as they have gained maturity.


Following the above-mentioned stages finally, the flower has gained its maturity and all the petals bloom into a new flower.

peony bloom begins
peony blooms

We can see that the blooming of all the petals has been achieved. This is the type of full double peonies in which there is no obvious center if the flower is visible.

 blooms continue
peony continues to mature

It is because in such flowers the other parts of the flower such as stamens and carpels are also developed into the form of petals. Hence these look the same as petals. This gives the look that full double peonies do not have stamens or carpels.

mature peony
mature peony

Finally, we can see the enchanting peony blooms. These blooms last for seven to ten days. So before it falls off the plant and loses all its beauty and attraction, you may cut it for your decoration vases.

beautiful peony bloom

These peonies prove to be the best cut flower in the flower industry.

You will love to have them in your gardens or as cut flowers.

Read about more perennials

We have a large number of blogs about perennial plants. These are some examples:

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