Photo credit: Pixabay

Photo credit: Pixabay

According to the Greek legend, to save Paeon who was “personal doctor” of Gods from Olympus, from jealousy and envy of his teacher, Zeus turned this young healer into beautiful flower – Peony. That is how this flower got its botanical name – Paeonia officinalis. This plant became famous in ancient China, where it was called the emperor’s flower because it was planted only in lavish gardens of rulers and nobles.

Peony became traditional flower symbol of China: motif of this beautiful plant became common detail on porcelain and silk, representing honor, fertility, wealth, love and long and happy marriage. According to feng shui, the ancient Chinese philosophy of interior design, having peony in your home or office helps the flow of positive energy and it opens the door to success and progress.

While admired for millenniums in China, peony got to Europe just couple centuries ago, but regardless to its great beauty it never got as much popular on Old continent as it was in East. However this beautiful flower has more fans with every day so one might say that its time is coming, and proof for that is bigger and bigger number of hybrids, whose beauty leaves everyone breathless.

Peony is perennial shrubby plant and it can be herbaceous or ligneous.


In first case, at the end of the fall complete plant withers, and in the spring it grows back, while ligneous peony like other deciduous shrubs loses its leafs before winter comes, and its branches stay bare until warmer days come.

Ligneous peony has larger flowers then the herbaceous one and it can grow up to 2 meters, twice as much as its green relative.

Depending on the variety, this plant blooms from May until June, although there are varieties that form flowers even in July. Only white petals have mesmerizing scent. The best time to plant peony in the garden is from middle of September ’til October, while planting in the pot can be done any time of the year. Herbaceous varieties flourish one year after being planted, however ligneous take couple of years. This beautiful lavish shrub grows well on sunny places that are protected from the wind, although for longer blossom semi-shadow is required.

Fertile, well drained and moderately moist terrain suits it best, but it is important to know that herbaceous variety should be planted bit more shallow than usual plants, or otherwise it will not blossom. It should be watered regularly but moderately, especially until it blossoms and during hottest summer months. Young peonies should be pruned lightly to allow them to get nice and regular form early in the spring, at the end of the summer or early in the fall.

Herbaceous peony propagate by dividing bulb in early spring, while new ligneous plant is created with the help of cuttings that are collected in the summer. It is a beautiful plant which will be a great addition to your garden.