Do you ever see a flower and are stopped by how beautiful it is? It happens to me every, single, time I see a peony. I’m mesmerized by the petals and the colors. I love the gentle fragrance that wafts from the stems. I think they’re my favorite of all the flowers. Being new to gardening, I’ve not taken the time to grow them in my own garden, but I think next year, I might!
Let’s learn a little big more about this perfect flowers.
Peonies (genus Paeonia) are a stunning ornamental flower with roughly 30 different types of species. All but 2 of the known species are native to Asia and Europe, but because they’re so beautiful, many species are now cultivated in various parts of the world for florists and the general flower lover.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, there are 3 different, distinct types of Peony. : the herbaceous Eurasian peonies, the Asian tree, or moutan, peonies, and the North American peonies. The peonies that most of us know and love are usually either the Chinese peony (P. lactiflora) or the European common peony (P. officinalis) as they’ve been the most commonly grown in home gardens.
When I see and smell a peony, I think of luscious wedding boquets and simple, but stunning city gardens. For me, they represent beauty and grace and all of the delicate, beautiful things that we love to have around, but know they won’t last.
Historically, the peony can be a symbol of romance, good luck, prosperity, and a happy marriage (I guess it’s good to have in the bouquet!) In China where peonies are native, they are often referred to as the “queen of flowers.” They were planted in the gardens of royal homes and palaces and were used to decorate luxurious spaces, even then.
A city in China called Luoyang is also known as the City of the Peony since it houses the National Peony Garden and holds an annual festival of peonies. Founded in 1978, the Luoyang National Peony Garden showcases countless varieties of peonies. It also collects and breeds different peony cultivars.
Along with their importance in China, the peony flower is the official state flower of Indiana.
Today, much of the symbolism that remains around peonies is due to the different colors and variations available. For example, pink peonies symbolize mean affection and romance, white peonies that someone is on your mind, yellow peonies mean luck and prosperity while red peonies are the ultimate gift of love.
Feast your eyes on some examples of peony variation.
Unfortunately, Peonies are also known for their relatively short growing season. For most of us, that season is the late spring through early summer with an occasional year of early/late growth.
Like most really beautiful things, they should be enjoyed as often as possible because you never know when the season will end.
Stay smol. XoXo