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Top 5 Most Requested Peonies, And 5 Lesser Known Gems You’ll Love

When it comes to peonies it is hard to pick a favorite. There are the easily recognizable powerhouse names like Sarah Bernhardt and Kansas that instantly make your heart flutter with anticipation of their tried-and-true beauty. But discovering the gorgeousness of lesser known varieties such as Jacorma and Moonstone will leave you feeling like you’ve met your one true love…breathless and dreaming of the day you’ll once again hold them in your hands.

Most Requested, Instantly Recognizable and Supremely Reliable

  1. Sarah Bernhardt – This peony likely needs no introduction at all, as she is widely grown and beloved the world over. An idolized peony since 1906 (Lemoine), Sarah Bernhardt is one of the most dependable cut flowers on the market, steadfast in the field and with an exceptional vase life. This peony even performs well when dried and will retain the pink color that it is famous for. Florists love working with her due to the consistent nature and ability to perform well in a variety of applications. Your Grandmother’s favorite pink peony is lightly fragrant, with very large blooms, ranging from light to medium pink. *Tip – keep reading to find the BONUS DISCOUNT CODE to use on the #1 requested peony, Sarah Bernhardt, in our online store!

2. Duchesse de Nemours– The Queen of white peonies, Duchesse de Nemours offers a bloom form and fragrance by which all other white peonies are compared. Perhaps the most beloved features are the large creamy white guard petals and unforgettable fragrance reminiscent of fine perfume. Double, globe shaped flowers are creamy white with a buttermilk yellow glow at the base of the inner ruffled petals. Tight, small buds that bloom quickly and average 4-6 inches in diameter when open. A full and incredibly fragrant bloom, this heirloom variety is over 150 years old.

3. Kansas– Kansas made its grand entrance in 1940 and has since been awarded The American Home Achievement Medal in 1942 and the American Peony Society Gold Medal in 1957. Kansas has been referred to as the crown jewel of peonies and is often used in photographs due to its sparkling and effervescent color. It is popular with floral designers for its long vase life and beloved by many for its striking color. Large, double rose shaped blooms are a raspberry-to-watermelon deep fuchsia-red color, and a favorite option for a solid pop of color in arrangements. There is a notable difference in the bud harvest stage of Kansas. It must be cut at a much softer stage than most other varieties for it to fully bloom in the vase, which requires an experienced farmer’s touch to time the harvest right.

4. Festiva Maxima– This well known white peony sets the standard for excellence and has been a top choice of both gardeners and commercial growers since 1851. This showy variety has stood the test of time for good reason, it has everything we desire in a peony: the blooms are fluffy and fragrant with long stems and the flowers are long-lasting in both the garden and the vase. Pure white, fully double, very large, loosely formed rose-shaped bloom with a few red flecks on some inner petal tips. The large buds are tight and bloom quickly to an average 6-9 inches in diameter when fully open with a strong, unforgettable scent. In cool growing climates it is not uncommon to see a hint of blush in some blooms, a rare gift treasured by a fortunate few!

5. Red Charm– The red peony against which all other red peonies are measured. Often described as deep ruby or merlot in color, Red Charm is bomb shaped with huge guard petals surrounding a soft ball of ruffled petals at the heart of the flower. Introduced by Glasscock in 1944, Red Charm was awarded the Gold Medal by the American Peony Society in 1956. This peony is well known and loved across the globe, it is hard to beat ‘Red Charm’ for the field, vase and exhibition.

Lesser Known Gems That You Won’t Forget

1. Jacorma– Packed with ruffled petals, this large bloom is complimented by a dark pink color that does not fade with age, and it has a light, enticing fragrance. A late season bloomer with a huge bud that blooms into a huge bloom. Bred in the Netherlands, the name is an abbreviation of the Dutch names Jan, Cor and Marie of the DeVroomen family.

2. Marie Lemoine– A beautiful white peony with a honey golden glow from the stamens buried deep within the petals.  A light pleasing fragrance to compliment the enormous bloom on a strong, sturdy stem. Occasionally, a razor thin crimson edge will appear on the edge of the inner petals. In bud form, this variety may be mistaken for an extremely large Duchesse de Nemours. A late season bloomer that is well worth the wait. Marie Lemoine originated in France by Calot,1869.

3. My Love – This gem is what brides and floral designers dream of when they think of blush peonies. My Love first came to market in 1992 and has been celebrated as an outstanding introduction ever since. This bloom has been described by many as mother-of-pearl to blush when opening and fades to all white with time. Its lusty green foliage works well in arrangements and elegant long stems are strong enough to pull off large-scale installations. The large, full blooms give off a light fragrance. My Love is a gorgeous, romantic flower.

4. Paul M Wild – Large, fully double with velvety blooms, this ruby red peony holds its color throughout the entire vase life and has a very enjoyable fragrance. Although a deep red, it is less burgundy and more raspberry in color overall. The smooth, tulip shaped bud and fully double bloom make Paul M Wild an extremely attractive addition to your garden and the vase.

5. Pecher – Double form peonies tend to be the most fragrant varieties and Pecher doesn’t disappoint. This is one of the most fragrant and pleasant peonies a grower could ever have the honor to experience. Sometimes described as light pink or blush, as the bloom ages it fades to a near white, especially when left to flower on the bush. Occasionally, Pecher has stunning bright pink speckling on some of the inner petals. Semi-double pink-tipped seed pods peek out from under the layers upon layers of frilly petals. This variety is a great addition to any peony enthusiast’s collection because of the wide variation in color due to different bloom stages, the unforgettable fragrance and the extended blooming season. It is not uncommon for Pecher to have blooms throughout the entire typical peony bloom season from early to late season.

Picking a favorite variety of peony is an impossible task based on beauty alone. However, we can narrow down the list of options by considering a few factors such as the planting site, growing conditions, attributes that are most attractive to the grower, and the final use of the peony bloom. Whether you want a unique variety in a stunning color that may only last a few days, or a hardy standby that can hold up during a variety of summer weather conditions, our farmers are here to help you select the best variety to fit your needs.

BONUS DISCOUNT CODE: Only offered to the readers of The Peony Journal, use the discount code THEPEONYJOURNAL in our online store to get a 20% discount on Sarah Bernhardt peonies shipped all season long!

Click here to order ‘Sarah Bernhardt’

Visit our online store to see current availability, place orders or ask a question about which variety is best for your needs.

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Alaska Peony Cooperative
PO Box 913
Willow, AK 99688-091

Martha Lojewski – Sales Manager
907-231-9487
sales@alaskapeonycooperative.com

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