Common garden peony

Paeonia lactiflora

Paeonia lactiflora 'Festiva Maxima'
Photo/Illustration: 
Jennifer Benner
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Common garden peony (Paeonia lactiflora)
pay-OH-nee-ah lak-tih-FLOOR-ah
Synonyms:  P. albiflora
Genus:  Paeonia
This stunning herbaceous woodland peony has upright red-mottled stems and dark green leaves that are elliptic or lance-shaped with rough margins. It bears usually solitary, single creamy white to pale pink blossoms that are cup-shaped and elegant. The blooms measure 3 to 4 inches across and have pale yellow stamens. Like all peonies, the flowers are with us for too short a time. They are followed by beautiful seedpods.
Noteworthy Characteristics:  Use in mixed, herbaceous, or shrub borders. Peonies are very long-lived.
Care:  Provide deep, fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Large cultivars may need support.
Propagation:  Divide in early autumn and replant, placing the new growths 2 inches below the surface; take root cuttings in winter.
Problems:  Prone to ringspot virus, Verticillium wilt, Botrytis blight, tip blight, leaf blotch, stem rot, Japanese beetles, and nematodes.

Overview

Height
1 ft. to 3 ft.
Spread
1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit
Clumps
Light
Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture
Medium Moisture
Characteristics
Fragrant Flowers,
Showy Flowers
Bloom Time
Early Summer,
Late Spring,
Spring,
Summer
Flower Color
Pink Flower,
White Flower
Uses
Beds and Borders,
Cut Flower
Style
Cottage Garden
Seasonal Interest
Spring Interest
Type
Perennials

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