It’s Official! This Classic Cottage Garden Favorite Is The 2024 Flower Of The Year

The 2024 Flower of the Year is a long-time garden favorite. Here’s why you will see peonies everywhere this year–and why you should add one to your garden.

A field of pink peonies at sunset.
(Image credit: Anna Blazhuk / Getty Images)

The 2024 title for Flower of the Year goes to the appropriately nicknamed “King of Flowers,” the peony. This fabulous flower has long been a garden favorite, but made it official when they selected the peony as the 2024 Flower of the Year. Let’s uncover why people have loved peonies for millennia, what these beautiful plants symbolize, and some of the reasons why you should consider growing them in your garden.

2024 Flower of the Year

Anyone who has ever grown a peony will understand why this gorgeous garden favorite is the pick for Flower of the Year 2024. Peonies have large, luscious blooms that emerge in late spring and smell amazing. They look beautiful in bouquets and arrangements or planted next to irises and hostas in the garden. It’s no wonder gardeners around the globe are smitten with these stunning spring bloomers.

A variety of pink peonies bloom in the garden.

(Image credit: dizainera / Getty Images)

Humans have a long love affair with peonies. We have been cultivating them for thousands of years, though originally for medicinal use. The Chinese used peony roots nearly 2,000 years ago to treat blood stasis and even used the common garden peony (Paeonia lactiflora), the most popular kind we still grow today, to treat a number of other ailments.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used peonies to treat a variety of ailments as well. The peony gained traction as an ornamental plant in Europe and North America in the 1800s and has been a classic flower garden staple ever since.

What Do Peonies Symbolize?

Traditionally, the peony symbolizes prosperity, wealth, and honor. In China, the aristocracy–and even the emperor–grew these noble flowers in their gardens. These royal associations could be the reason why peonies, and tree peonies in particular, are known as the “King of Flowers.”

Pink tree peonies growing in a Chinese garden.

(Image credit: oversnap / Getty Images)

Peonies are also emblems of a happy marriage, which is good news for the many brides who include these lovely flowers in their wedding bouquets. Despite their delicate and airy petals, peonies are hardy cut flowers. Their ephemeral bloom time however, which lasts only one or two weeks at most, makes them difficult to source for arrangements. Luckily, peonies are easy to grow at home and are suited to hardiness zones 3 through 9.

Why Plant a Peony in Your Garden

There are so many reasons why gardeners should include peonies in their landscape. Peonies’ sumptuous blooms are the crown jewels of the spring garden and their heavenly aroma will transport you to another time. These beloved cottage garden plants add an instant dose of nostalgia to any garden.

Pink peonies in a white vase in a garden next to a bicycle and climbing vines.

(Image credit: Kathrin Ziegler / Getty Images)

Peonies are also great additions to cutting gardens. Most cut flowers are sown from annual seeds, but it’s nice to include a few perennials as well so you don’t have to spend as much time on seed starting and planting in the spring. Peonies only bloom for a brief time, but they make a big impact in bouquets or look elegant as even a single flower in a vase.

Cut peonies for arrangements just before buds open into blooms. The easiest way to tell if a peony is ready to pick is to give the bud a gentle squeeze. It should feel like a marshmallow.

Peonies don’t just look and smell great, they’re low-maintenance, too. It’s easy to grow a peony that lasts for decades. These super perennials can live up to (and sometimes over) 100 years!

The peonies in my own garden are almost 70 years old now. My great-grandmother planted them back in the 1950s and they still put out a fabulous show of flowers every May. All I do is give them a little compost in the spring and prune them back almost to the ground in the fall. I have yet to find a perennial that is prettier or easier to grow, so in my opinion, the Flower of the Year is always the peony.

Laura Walters
Content Editor

Laura Walters is a Content Editor who joined Gardening Know How in 2021. With a BFA in Electronic Media from the University of Cincinnati, a certificate in Writing for Television from UCLA, and a background in documentary filmmaking and local news, Laura loves to provide gardeners with all the know they need to succeed in an easy and entertaining format. She never thought when she was growing vegetables in her college dorm room, that one day she would get paid to read and write about her favorite hobby.