The Simple Secret to Extending Peony Blooming in Your Garden!

The Simple Secret to Extending Peony Blooming in Your Garden!

How to Extend Peony Bloom Season in Your Garden

We gardeners have a love affair with peonies. The huge, romantic blooms with their sensual fragrance and luscious colors are a boon to any cold winter garden. Peonies are incredibly long lived plants that need little care and are highly resistant to deer. The one complaint of all peony growers? They want more time to enjoy those fabulous blooms! Let's see how to make this work!

how to extend peony bloom time in your garden with early mid and later blooming peony varieties

Peonies bloom for 100 years or more, but the glory of peony blooms lasts just a week to 10 days in your garden. To extend the time that you can enjoy the season of peony blooms in your garden, plant varieties that bloom at different times within the roughly 6-week period of peony blooming. Different peony varieties bloom earlier or later within the peony blooming window, and are labeled as early blooming peonies, mid season blooming peonies and late blooming peonies. This timing is reliable from one year to the next. In Wisconsin, the exact date an "early blooming peony" begins to bloom will be very different from the date the same variety planted in Oregon will bloom. However, they will still bloom before mid and later bloomers planted in the same location. So to extend the peony blooms in your garden, be sure to plant early, mid season and late blooming peonies. You might even want to go so far as the plant earliest, early season, early mid season, mid season, late mid season and late blooming varieties to truly maximize the time you have peonies blooming in your garden every year.

Early Season Blooming Peonies

peony pink Hawaiian coral is an early blooming peony

The first peonies to bloom, known as early blooming peonies, include a glorious selection of colors, flower forms and fragrance. In addition to the traditional pink and white, several luscious coral varieties are all early blooming peonies like Coral Charm, Coral Sunset and Pink Hawaiian Coral. Gardeners in mild winter climates, or where summer heat comes early, should plant early blooming peony varieties, to be sure the plants can fully flower before the heat sets in and shortens the life of the blooms.

Examples of Early Blooming Peonies include: Charlie's White, Coral Charm, Coral Sunset and Pink Hawaiian Coral.

Early Mid-Season Blooming Peonies

peony festiva maxima is an early mid season blooming peony

Next, we have the early mid-season blooming peonies, those that flower after the early bloomers listed above, but before the mid-season blooming peonies. These offer a wonderful variety of colors and flower forms in addition to that incredible fragrance!

Early mid-season peonies include: Duchess de Nemours, Festiva Maxima, Gardenia, Gay Paree, Henry Bockstoce, Kansas, Lady Alexandra Duff, Monsieur Jules Elie, Paula Fay, Red Charm, Shirley Temple and Sorbet.

Mid Season Blooming Peonies

Mid season blooming peony Victoire de la Marne

The next set of peonis are true mid-season blooming varieties, and contain many cherished heirloom peonies that have graced gardens in America since before the Declaration of Independence!

Mid-season blooming peonies include: Benjamin Franklin, Big Ben, Edulis Superba, Koppius, Mrs. F.D. Roosevelt, Officinalis Alba Plena, Raspberry Sundae, and Victoire de la Marne.

Late Blooming Peonies

peony Felix Crousse is a late blooming peony

Late blooming peonies are best planted in climates where the summer heat waits til July. Many romantic favorites are to be found among the late bloomers, with the extraordinary Peony Sword Dance the last to flower.

Late blooming peony varieties include: Bowl of Beauty, Dr. Alexander Fleming, Felix Crousse, Karl Rosenfeld, Sara Bernhardt, followed by the dramatic Japanese style peony Sword Dance.

to extend peony blooming season in your garden, plant early mid and late season bloomers

Perhaps the short blooming time of peonies is intended to make sure we cherish their exceptional beauty - however fleeting. Surely there are valuable life lessons we can learn from just a single peony plant. But for those who cherish these romantic blooms, one peony is never enough! Will you be planting peonies this fall? Or do you already grow peonies with different blooming times? Please take a moment to leave a comment and let me know!

Happy Gardening!


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  • Kathleen McCarthy
Comments 2
  • albert silverman
    albert silverman

    great beauty with LITTLE or NO MAINTENANCE year after year.

  • Diane

    I love peonies. They remind me of family. So many family members always had peonies blooming and shared the different varieties with each other. I have a few where I live, add one every year or two. My Mom had them lining the entire length of the driveway. What a show with colors from pale pink to the deepest almost red.

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