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The Plant Guide

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Common garden peony

Paeonia lactiflora

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Paeonia lactiflora 'Festiva Maxima'

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 CharacteristicsUse in mixed, herbaceous, or shrub borders. Peonies are very long-lived.

CareProvide deep, fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Large cultivars may need support.

PropagationDivide in early autumn and replant, placing the new growths 2 inches below the surface; take root cuttings in winter.

ProblemsProne to ringspot virus, Verticillium wilt, Botrytis blight, tip blight, leaf blotch, stem rot, Japanese beetles, and nematodes.

  • Genus : Paeonia
  • Plant Height : 1 to 3 feet
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Zones : 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Bloom Time : Early Summer, Late Spring, Spring, Summer
  • Characteristics : Fragrant Flowers
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Flower Color : Pink, White
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
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