When Do Peonies Bloom And For How Long? Identify When Peonies Are In Season

We are delighted when peonies are in season. Watching their buds explode into large, blousy flowers and fill the garden with color is a special time of year.

A hand holding a bouquet of pink peonies against a field
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When peonies are in season they are the showstoppers of the garden with their large, exuberant flowers. They add an element of beauty, elegance, and old-fashioned romance to flower beds.

When are peony flowers in season? This is a critical question because each individual plant only blooms for about a week. Understanding the seasonality of different peony types and cultivars can give you more continuous flowering.

When Are Peonies in Season?

There is some variation by location and climate, but generally, peonies bloom from late spring to early summer. Depending on where you live and the types of peonies you have, you could enjoy blooms from early May through June.

What Season Are Peonies in Bloom By Type?

Close up of a pink and white peony

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One of the most important factors in determining when your peonies will flower is type. There are four main types of peony plants:

  • Woodland Peony - Paeonia obovate is an herbaceous species native to eastern Asia that grows in the understory of forests. This type blooms first, around early May depending on location.
  • Tree Peony - Paeonia suffruticosa is a woody small shrub native to Asia that blooms around the middle of May.
  • Herbaceous Peony - Paeonia lactiflora is the most common type of garden peony used in North America. It is an herbaceous perennial that can live for 50 or even 100 years in some cases. This type has a wide range of bloom types depending on the cultivar. They bloom between mid-May and mid-June.
  • Intersectional Peony - Also known as Itoh, intersectional peonies are hybrid crosses of tree and herbaceous peonies. They bloom as the herbaceous types are fading in mid-June. Each plant can bloom for three to four weeks.

What Month Are Peonies in Season by Variety?

A woman with closed eyes smells a bouquet of peonies

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You can also stagger cultivars of herbaceous perennials to get a longer flower duration. Here are some examples:

  • Early and Mid-May – ‘Coral Charm,’ ‘Wonderous Delight,’ ‘Red Charm,’ and ‘Early Bird’
  • Mid-May to June – ‘Festiva Maxima,’ ‘Etched Salmon,’ ‘Walter Mains,’ and ‘Sarah Bernhardt’
  • Mid-June to Early July – ‘Kansas,’ ‘Candy Stripe,’ and ‘Garden Treasure’

Which Factors Can Affect Peony Blooming?

In addition to type, environmental factors affect when and how well your peony blooms. Peony chill hours, for instance, mean the plants must have a sustained period of winter cold (below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or 7 Celsius) to trigger the growth of buds. In spring, peonies need a certain number of dark hours overnight to bloom properly.

Different types and varieties of peonies have different cold and dark requirements. Generally, early bloomers have lower cold requirements and shorter dark periods, while the opposite is true for late bloomers.

How You Can Extend Peony Blooming

A woman's hands cut off a peony blossom with pruners

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For the longest duration of peony blooms, use a variety of types and cultivars. You can potentially get eight weeks of stunning peony flowers this way. Also important is providing your peonies with the best conditions to grow and thrive.

Start with location and planting. Except for woodland types, peonies grow best in full sun. They will not flower as well with too much shade. They should be planted shallowly in the soil. Deep planting delays blooming. Keep the root buds about two inches (5 cm) below the soil level.

The soil should be rich and stay moderately moist, but it must also drain very well. Peonies will not tolerate soggy roots and appreciate rich, fertile soil. Use a balanced fertilizer in spring before new growth appears. Avoid a fertilizer with too much nitrogen, which will encourage leaf growth rather than flowers.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Which States Do Peonies Grow Best?

Peonies grow best in USDA zones 3 through 8. This range covers most of the U.S. Peonies will not grow well in the coldest parts of Alaska, in Puerto Rico, or in the southern parts of California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.

Do Peonies Take Three Years to Bloom?

Newly planted peonies take two to three years to bloom for the first time.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.