We're Obsessed with These Amazing Peony Look-Alikes
Peonies are a favorite in many gardens, and for good reason: Their blooms contain rows and rows of soft, delicate petals, and they're ideal cut flowers for arrangements and wedding bouquets. That being said, every flower has pros and cons. If you're sensitive to scents, peony blooms can leave you sneezing. They're also notorious for attracting ants, so be on the lookout for critters when you bring the cut blooms inside your home.
If peonies are not the flower for you, you can get the same look with easy-to-grow peony tulips. Peony tulips are actually just a type of double-bloom tulip—they're not a hybrid peony. So, you get the same growing experience as other tulips with the added bonus of soft peony-like petals.
If this is your first time hearing about peony tulips, you're not alone. The fragrant tulips' popularity recently surged when retailers started promoting them this spring. Trader Joe's advertised 10-stem bunches in their garden section for $7.99 and carried varieties like ‘Endless Love', ‘Margarita', and ‘Cilesta'.
Tulipa x hybrida are also known as double tulips. When planted outdoors, they bloom in the spring and are hardy in Zones 3-7. They can grow to be 14 to 22 inches tall, depending on the variety. Their flowers reach up to 4 inches across and last about two weeks in the garden.
To grow them in your garden, plant the bulbs in the fall in well-drained soil. Like most tulip bulbs, they should be buried two times as deep as the bulb is high. Add a layer of mulch on top of the soil to keep them from getting too cold in the winter. A word of caution: Deer tend to eat tulips, and other garden critters like to dig up the bulbs, so place a fence or natural pest deterrents around the tulips to keep them untouched.
If you want blooms sooner or don't have a spot to plant them outside, try growing peony tulips indoors. By forcing the bulbs early, you can get full, colorful blooms as early as February or March. The blooms last for several weeks indoors and can last even longer if kept in a cool spot.
Peony tulips come in shades of pink, orange, yellow, red, white, and purple. Some varieties, like ‘Angelique' and ‘Black Hero', are solid colored, and others are bicolored with lined or feathered patterns on the petals. You can also find varieties with fringed edges, like ‘Queensland' and ‘Cool Crystal'.
WATCH: 12 Surprising Facts All Peony Enthusiasts Should Know
Tulip peonies bring the best of tulips and peonies together into one bulb. Try tulip peonies in your garden for full, colorful blooms in late spring. Explore the dozens of varieties to find the color and texture that's best for your garden, and get growing!
This story originally appeared on Better Homes & Gardens