Spring Spotlight: All About Peonies
As herbaceous perennials, peonies bloom over spring and summer, which means right now is their time to shine. To celebrate these beauties beginning to spring from the earth right about now here's everything that you need to know about peonies.
The History of The Peony
For more than a millennium, peonies have been cultivated in China, where they're known as "sho yu ". This translates to "most beautiful" in English, which is exactly how we'd describe them. And we're not alone - there are millions of #peonies Instagram posts by lovers of this fine specimen worldwide.
With such a long history, it's not surprising that the peony has a symbolic meaning. Peonies symbolise romance, compassion, prosperity, good fortune and happy marriage. It's considered the flower of love and is recognised as the flower for a 12th wedding anniversary. Peony bouquets are a favourite for brides, adored for their dreamy, soft, and romantic petals. They're thought to bring good fortune and prosperity, so if you're a newlywed, we highly suggest you keep this fact in mind.
They don't just look pretty, either. The ancient Chinese believed that peonies could relieve headaches, help calm asthma symptoms and alleviate the pain of childbirth. In fact, peony-root is one of the oldest traditional Chinese remedies for conditions like convulsions. Peonies are also the floral symbol of China.
Types of Peonies
There are three main types of peonies: herbaceous, tree, and itoh.
Herbaceous peonies (Paeonia lactiflora) are the most common in gardens, with hundreds of varieties to choose from. These varieties usually have scented flowers that come in shades of pink, red, and white. They produce fresh growth from the plant's crown in spring, which all dies back to the ground after a frost, similar to most other perennial plants. Herbaceous peonies grow between 2-3 feet tall.
The tree peony, as the name suggests, grows from a trunk-like base. They're more expensive and grow at a slower pace, but they can eventually reach up to 5 feet tall. Peonies can grow incredibly large. For example, the Seidai tree peony variety produces double-flowered pink blooms that can reach 8 inches in diameter.
The itoh peony is a hybrid of the first two peony types. Itoh peonies offer more unusual colours, such as orange and yellow. They grow to a middle height between the garden and tree types, usually about 3 feet tall.
Peonies are available in just about every colour except for blue. However, the most common hues are pink, white and yellow. While not as popular here in Australia, the yellow variety is commonly used by New York floral designers.
Growing Peonies At Home
Don't let their delicate appearance deceive you - the peony is a very hardy plant. Once established, a peony plant will yield fresh blooms each year. Just like roses, peony plants can live a long time, and they might even outlive you. In some cases, peonies have been known to live up to 100 years. Even without needing much care, they can survive through harsh winters and are easy to grow in an appropriately cool climate. We recommend planting in early autumn or spring for grown peonies. You could be waiting a while though, as it generally takes from 3 to 5 years to see any blooms.
What To Pair With Peonies
Peonies are always the star in a flower bunch. We love to pair them with blush pink roses, baby's breath, and snapdragon, just like we do in our Success Graduation Bouquet. Eucalyptus and dust miller are gorgeous foliage choices that will complement the peony and create an eye-popping contrast of colour. However, you can add in various foliages - whatever is in season is what we prefer to use. Of course, you don't necessarily have to pair them with anything - a bunch of peonies is gorgeous just as it is.
Caring For Fresh Cut Peonies
The more open that the flower is when you cut or receive it, the less life you can expect from it. Similarly, the less water and more heat they're exposed to, the sooner they will die. Providing that your bouquet of peonies is fresh and locally grown, they'll last beautifully for 5-7 days. If you'd like them to last a little longer, keep them in a cool room away from direct sun. Make sure you re-trim your stems and keep refreshing the vase water every few days.
Want To Buy A Bunch of Peonies?
Watching these beauties explode from tight little buds into intricate and extraordinarily large blooms is incredible. It almost seems impossible how such a tiny bud can open up to reveal so many petals. Don't want to wait for your peony plant to blossom? From late October to December each year, peonies are available here at Amazing Graze Flowers. You'll find soft pink peonies and coral Peonies in various sizes. Order a beautiful bouquet of peonies today for same-day delivery across Melbourne or speak to one of our experienced florists by calling the Amazing Graze Flowers team on 03 9374 2929.