Tree Peonies bloom two weeks before the herbaceous perennial peonies, and then there is a new hybrid peony called Bartzella Itoh Peony, which blooms along with the herbaceous perennial peonies.
The blooms are large bright yellow many petal with red flush in the center that surrounds the creamy yellow stamens.
Expanding to almost 9 inches, the flowers are semi double to double, and give off a light lemon fragrance, blooming up to three to four weeks. The numerous flowers are held above the foliage with sturdy stems that do not usually require staking.
The deeply divided foliage is a rich dark green growing 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. These beautiful hybrids of tree and herbaceous peonies love to grow in full sun and fertile, rich, moist but well-drained soils. Peonies don’t like to compete with trees for sun or nutrients, so place them where they can grow with little care and they can last for 50 or more years.
Neither rabbits nor deer like to nibble on these peonies, but the butterflies and other pollinators love to visit the flowers.
These easy-care peonies show well with other sun loving perennials, and only need to have the spent flowers pruned off and the winter-killed foliage removed in the fall.
Some of the hybrid peonies don’t bloom the first year, but the next year the show of colorful flowers will be worth the wait.
(Editor’s Note: Ginny Rosenkranz is a commercial horticulture specialist with the University of Maryland Extension.)