Paeonia officinalis - Peony

Origin and Distribution

Most species of peony originate from southern Europe and East Asia. Common peony, also known as garden peony is native to Central Europe. Peony has a long tradition especially in cottage gardens. The crossing of garden peony with Chinese peony resulted in many hybrids. Besides to perennial peonies there are also some woody species called tree peonies. Intersectional-peony is a newer breeding, which is a crossing of perennial peonies and tree peonies.  


In spring time peony is building shoots in a bright and glowing red. Depending on the species the plants can reach a height of 70 to 100 cm in total. Peony offers an impressive change of appearance. It starts with ornamental, bulky, succulent red shoots and develops to bushy shrubs with big fragrant flowers. Its flowering period starts in May. The flowers’ range of colours varies from white, to pink and even up to red. The flowers’ shape is especially apparent. They range from simple flowers to fully double flowers, whose stamens have entirely transformed into petals. Peonies prefer fresh up to moist and loamy soil and a sunny place to grow.

Interesting Facts

Because of its very long history of cultivation, peonies show up in various sectors and developed symbolic importance in Europe, China and Japan. Peonies appear in medicine, arts and literature. Nowadays peony petals are used to embellish tea mixtures and to dye cough syrup.

Garden Design

Since garden peony is a shrub, the plant grows the most beautiful, when it remains at one location and has the opportunity to grow undisturbed. Peony’s flowering period can be introduced by Allium whose purple bowls are floating above them. Other attractive partners to accompany peony flowers are Alchemilla and different species of Geranium.