The Q&A Archives: What Is A Japanese Peony?

Question: I was given a plant by a friend who referred to it as a "Japanese Peony." The flower has large pink petals about 4 inches long and a bright yellow center. The leaves look like peony leaves. They grow on tall leafy stems and the bushes are not as dense as the plant which I have always called a peony. The buds look very similar to peony buds, but the flowers are not as round. They are more like a really big daisy. They are very fragrant. Do you know what kind of a plant this is and can you tell me why, for the five years I have had it, the most blooms I ever got was four flowers this year.


Answer: What a lovely gift! This would be a tree peony, a woody type of peony shrub, rather than the herbaceous peony you are already familiar with. Tree peonies need full sun and rich soil that is evenly moist yet well drained. Pruning would be minimal. The shrub should bloom more heavily with age.

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