Learning Center


Captivated by Peonies


Beautiful, showy and full of romance, the flowers from the Peony make it to both weddings, and simple bouquets for around the home.  Nostalgic, for many of us, the sight of Peonies remind of us of grandparents, or any loved ones who grew these year after year. That casual, simple elegance is what keeps Peonies a favorite year after year.


Peonies have been around for a long time, dating back to China in the 6th and 7th centuries for medicinal properties.  It took a few hundred years for the cultivation to spread throughout China, and spread it did.  Meanwhile Peony lactiflora (most of today’s traditional Peonies) was introduced to Japan by the 10th century. Fast forward a bit, ok zoom into the 20th century and in the 1940’s successful breeding between two different kinds of peonies resulted in a new class of plants called Itoh Peonies.

An Itoh Peony is a cross between a tree Peony and a traditional one.  These hybrids are considered the best of both worlds and prized for the huge flowers and sturdy stems that don’t tend to flop over.

Here at the Good Earth you will find both the traditional and Itoh varieties in various colors, making a difficult job just choosing one!  However, please note that we usually only have Peonies available during spring months… and they sell out quickly.  For current inventory, visit this page.

Common Questions, Answered

Can I plant a peony in full sun? A. Yes, however depending on the weather, our hot afternoon summer sun can be hard on the leaves of the plant.  By planting them in ½ day sun, it will help the overall look of the plant in the summer months.

Should  I have all my Peonies planted together as I collect them? Can I make a hedge with them? A. Yes you can.  And when they would be in flower it would be amazing.  However, the leaves could look a bit ratty by midsummer here in Arkansas.  Tucking the plants in the landscape can make that look less obvious and the flowers can still be enjoyed in the spring.

Why is my Peony not flowering? A. There are many reasons but here is the most common.

–If you planted a bareroot plant from a bag, the root is young and can take several years to develop.

–Planted to too much shade. Needs at least ½ day sun.

–Too much nitrogen in the fertilizer.  That is the 1st number in the three number combination on the fertilizer bag.  A well balanced fertilizer combination such as 14-14-14, 10-10-10, or even bone meal is suitable.

–Planted to deep.  If the “eyes” of the root are planted too deep, they tend not to flower.  If you are planting bareroot, the eyes should be 1” deep in the ground.

–Damaged eyes.  Lets face it, it can be hard to see them emerging especially when those eyes haven’t poked through the mulch and can get stepped on easily even from a dog.

How much room do I need to grow Peonies? A. Herbaceous varieties usually grow to about 24 inches tall and 24-36 inches wide. Itoh varieties can are similar; 24-30 inches tall and wide.