Fun Facts You Should Know About Peonies

Because they're blooming gorgeous—and interesting too

We couldn't love these gorgeous blooms any more than we already do, which is why we're always looking forward to peony season. Think you know all there is to know about peonies? Test your knowledge with these fun facts. From their scientific classification to their blooming season, there are a few things that all peony enthusiasts should know, so read on: You're bound learn a few things about these lovely plants in the process, and it might just inspire you to plant peonies in your own garden this year.


1. Peony Is The Name For Flowering Plants In The Genus Paeonia

They also belong to the family Paeoniaceae. Peonies are native to Europe, China, and Western North America, and they require a cool climate and a significant winter chill to thrive. These popular garden plants generally have leaves with three lobes and large, showy flowers.

2. The Name Comes From The Greeks

The Greek origins of the name are murky, but according to one theory, the Paeonia genus was named after Paeon, a student of Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing. In Greek mythology, Paeon healed Hades after he was wounded in battle. After a jealous Asclepius threatened to murder Paeon, the gods intervened and transformed the healer into a flower. In ancient times, peonies were also used as medicinal plants.

3. There Are 33 Known Species

These 33 species fall into three distinct groups, two of which are cultivated for gardens. One group is known as herbaceous peonies—perennials that bloom in late spring and early summer. The second group is known as tree, or moutan, peonies, which flower in late spring and can be identified by their woody shrub form.

The third group of peonies consists of two species that are found in limited areas of the Western U.S. and are not grown commercially or sold in garden centers.

4. Peony Season Is Short

Peony flowering season stretches from the last days of April to the first days of June and varies depending on where in the world the peonies are planted. Individual blooms last seven to 10 days.

5. Peonies Can Grow In The South

Peonies need hundreds of hours of time to chill in the winter, which is why most varieties grow best in USDA hardiness zones 3–7. But don't despair; there are a number of old-fashioned varieties that can grow successfully in the South in zone 8.

6. Peonies Are Deer Resistant

That's right: Deer tend to avoid peonies. Plant them in your garden, and they're likely to be left alone. This can be attributed to the plant's fragrant nature, which isn't very appetizing to the palate of grazing deer.

7. Peonies Attract Ants

While the deer may want nothing to do with peonies, the perfume will attract an army of ants to the blossoms. The ants don't harm the flowers, so put away your bug spray.

8. Peonies Are Symbols Of Good Luck And Prosperity

Adding peonies to your garden is said to bring good fortune to your life. Plant them and be patient; you'll be rewarded with gorgeous blooms once they've matured.

9. Peonies Are The 12th Anniversary Flower

Since peonies are a symbol of a good life, happy marriage, and fortune, it seems only appropriate that they are used to mark wedding anniversaries. This blowsy, beautiful flower is also associated with romance.

10. Peonies Can Outlive People

Peonies have been known to live for a century or more, outliving the gardeners who planted them. They often take time to become established (three years to sleep, creep, and then leap), but once they settle in you will be rewarded for decades to come.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles