In early spring you may find yourself peering through the rain and wondering, when do peonies bloom?
Peonies are a much adored and widely sought after late spring blooming flower. With their billowy blooms, sweet fragrance, and romantic hues, they are well loved by florists and home gardeners.
Full and beautiful, peonies are a popular and romantic choice for wedding bouquets and decor. So, when exactly do peonies bloom? When can you expect to see your peony plant burst forth with the vibrant petals they are so well known for?
Today we will explore all of the factors that impact peony bloom time. We’ll also discuss creative ways to make the most out of the short but enthralling peony bloom season.
The Short Answer On When Peonies Bloom
When Do Peonies Bloom? The short answer:
In short, peonies bloom in late spring to early summer. Like many gardening topics, there is a brief answer and a long answer to the peony bloom time question! We are going to dive into all the details that effect peony bloom time and how to get the most out of your peony blooming season.
All peonies are perennials, meaning they return year after year. You will see herbaceous peonies push up their shoots in early spring. Red tendrils emerge from the ground, looking a bit like upside down chicken feet.
Peony Bloom Time Factors
In addition to blooming in late spring to early summer, there are several factors that affect peony bloom time. Factors influencing peony bloom time:
- Type of Peony
- Zone (location and climate where peony is planted)
- Weather (local climate and variations in typical weather patterns)
Type Of Peony
The Latin name for Peonies is Paeonia, and within this species are different types of peonies: tree peonies, herbaceous peonies, and intersectional peonies. The type of peony plant and variety will effect the bloom time.
Herbaceous Peonies: Herbaceous peonies are the most well known of all peonies. They bloom from late spring until early summer. The bloom time of herbaceous peonies is anywhere from 7 to 10 days. They often require staking in order to hold up their gorgeous, heavy blooms. Though the beautiful flowers don’t last long, the rich green foliage will stay fresh and lovely until late fall.
Herbaceous peonies are often used for floral vase arrangement, wedding bouquets and decor.
In order to get the most of your herbaceous peony plants, it is best to plant a variety of peony flowers that will bloom at different times throughout your flower beds. You can stretch out the bloom time of herbaceous peony plants to several weeks by combining different varieties.
Tip From The Cottage Garden: Visit a local peony farm at the height of peony season. You will notice that various breeds of peonies are in different stages of bloom. Some will just be budding, while others are at the end of their bloom and starting to fade. There will be a lot of overlap. You will get a solid idea for how peonies bloom in your area, what your favorites are, and which you can combine to extend the bloom season. You will also quickly discover your favorite peony colors and shapes… there are many to choose from!
Tree Peonies are a deciduous shrub that boast beautiful blooms each year. They are larger than herbaceous peonies. They are not as common as herbaceous peonies, and take longer to establish blooms. Tree peonies bloom in early spring, before herbaceous peonies. If you want early peony blooms and can wait for the plants be established, tree peonies are a good option for extending your peony bloom season.
Intersectional Peonies (also known as Itoh) are a hybrid combination of herbaceous peonies and tree peonies. Itoh peonies bloom at the same time as herbaceous peonies, in late spring to early summer. They have a longer bloom time however, from 3 to 4 weeks, and can be an awesome addition to a backyard peony garden. When purchasing a 2 year old Itoh peony from a nursery, you can expect blooms the first year.
Weather And Zone Effects On Peony Bloom
Growing Zone: The growing zone that you live in will affect the bloom time of your peonies. Gardening “zones” refer to geographical areas that experience certain weather and climate patterns. For example, a gardener living South Carolina will have an earlier peony bloom time (late March) than that of a gardener in Northwest Washington State (mid May).
Weather Impact: Additionally, the current weather you are experiencing in your zone may impact the bloom time of your peonies.
Our flower garden is located and in Oregon, and in the past years we have had weather extremes. Last year our plants experienced abnormal, early heat and sunshine, resulting in an early May bloom of many peonies.
This year, we had late snow and frost that delayed bloom time of many plants by several weeks, including peonies.
A Lesson From the Cottage Garden: Plant Strategically
In our previous home, my husband and I eagerly planted a dozen herbaceous peonies. We were excited for the plethora of gorgeous blooms that would soon grace our flower beds.
Unfortunately, we neglected to plant a variety of peonies and were regularly harvesting an abundance of peony blossoms all in the same week. While I never complained about the gorgeous pink billows waving at me from my back yard, I did wish we had been more strategic in our planting approach. As avid peony lovers, we are now planting a variety of peony types in order to enjoy a longer blooming season.
Gardener’s Tip: Study different peony varieties and plant a range of early, mid, and late blooming flowers.
A few frequently asked question on peony bloom time:
Do Peonies Bloom More Than Once?
Herbaceous and tree peonies do not bloom more than one time. Itoh peonies can bloom for 3 to 4 weeks, so research this variety and plan to incoporate them into your landscape for longer blooms!
Do Peonies Bloom All Summer?
Peonies do not bloom all summer. It would truly be a wonderful world if we could keep peonies blooming all summer long! The best way to prolong the bloom time of peonies in your backyard is to plant a variety of peony bushes that bloom at different times throughout the season, and include Itoh peonies, which have a longer bloom time.
You can also purchase rose bushes that look like peonies. Julia Child Rose, Eden Rose, and Peony roses all of have a similar look to peonies, with a full, billowy bloom and multiple layers of petals. Roses make a fantastic accent to a peony rich flower garden, and many bloom all summer with proper pruning.
Do Peonies Grow Back Every Year?
Thankfully, peonies are a perennial, which means they do grow back year after year! When planted in a sunny spot, peonies will happily send up there shoots every year. Over time they get fuller and more bountiful in blooms.
Strategic Peony Planting For Longer Bloom Time
In order to get the most out of your peony bloom time, you can strategically plant herbaceous peonies with varying bloom times. If you combine early blooming fern peonies (herbaceous), with mid blooming coral peonies (herbaceous), and later blooming Itoh peonies, you will have a flower garden that supplies peonies for a long season!
How Long Do Peony Plants Live?
Peony plants can live for decades, even up to 100 years! With proper sunlight and nutrients, peonies can thrive for a century or longer.
What Blooms After Peonies?
Ah, your peony blooms have completely faded and now you find yourself wondering, what’s next? While it’s hard to compare any bloom to the showstopping class of peonies, there are many beautiful and romantic flowers that will add beauty to the garden throughout summer.
Flowers that bloom after peonies:
- Roses! For lots of beautiful flowers all summer long, consider planting roses. You can deadhead many varieties of roses for blooms all summer long. In many zones, roses begin blooming at the same time as peony, creating a dreamy overlap of gorgeous flowers.
- Dahlias. Dahlias can begin blooming in pots in very early summer, and in the ground in mid to late summer. To enjoy dahlias early, choose potted plants. Dahlias can be deadheaded for blooms late into the fall.
- Lavender. Lavender is heavenly scented, medicinal, and can start blooming in late spring.
- Hydrangea. Just as the peonies are wrapping up their show, the hydrangea buds start filling out and getting ready to bloom. Hydrangeas are a beautiful, full flowers that offer blooms that can last all summer.
When Do Peonies Bloom: Key Takeaways
- Peonies bloom from late spring to early summer, depending on the gardening zone and current weather conditions
- Planting a variety of herbaceous peonies that bloom that are classified as early, mid, or late blooming will result in a longer bloom period
- Investing in Itoh or Tree peonies will give you a much longer bloom time, although these plants take longer to establish
- Planting roses, lavender, hydrangea, and dahlias will give you more flowers to look forward to all summer long
Thank you so much for reading. Enjoy your garden season this year, and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!