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Top 5 Most Fragrant Peonies

Most people enjoy flowers with their eyes first, almost immediately followed by sticking their nose right in the center to take a deep breath of the incredible fragrance. Usually it is a pleasant experience, but occasionally we find one that makes you think twice about how deep of a breath you take next time. In this article we’ve categorized some of the most popular peony varieties by their fragrance to help you get exactly what you’re looking for when the perfume is just as important as the beauty.

Highly Fragrant

These varieties are highly fragrant, and our top picks. Just a handful in a vase or bouquet can perfume an entire room and turn heads as people pass by. The fragrance from these peonies can be described as strong, sweet and floral, reminiscent of a fine French perfume. These varieties have a fragrance that will stick in your memory for a lifetime. Some say that fragrance is the strongest sense to evoke a memory from long ago. One deep breath from these varieties can remind you of Grandma’s peony patch or a wedding bouquet from many years ago. Create new lifelong memories by adding a couple of plants to your garden if you are lucky enough to live in the the correct growing zone for peonies to thrive.

Our Favorite Highly Fragranced Peonies

  • Duchesse de Nemours
  • Seashell
  • Dr. Alexander Fleming
  • Festiva Maxima
  • Pecher

Light And Enjoyable

Not overpowering, but just enough fragrance to gently remind you to pause and take a deep breath as you pass by. These varieties are lightly sweet, earthy or just a hint of spicy without turning heads for those more sensitive to strong fragrance. A good choice for small rooms or anyone looking for just a touch of floral perfume that won’t overwhelm. Just because they are lighter in fragrance doesn’t mean these varieties won’t also invoke strong memories. Dozens of varieties in many colors and bloom forms offer a light fragrance, striking a perfect balance between beauty and fragrance.

Our Favorite Lightly Fragranced Peonies

  • Amalia Olson
  • Avalanche
  • Boule de Neige
  • Bowl of Cream
  • Dr. F. G. Brethour
  • Edulis Superba
  • Felix Supreme
  • Florence Nicholls
  • Frosted Rose
  • Glory Halleluja
  • Garden Treasure
  • Henry Sass
  • Immaculee
  • Jacorma
  • Karl Rosenfield
  • La Lorraine
  • Madame Emile Debatene
  • Marie Lemoine
  • Monsieur Jules Elie
  • Moonstone
  • Mother’s Choice
  • My Love
  • Norma Volz
  • Paul M Wild
  • Raspberry Sundae
  • Red Charm
  • Red Sarah Bernhardt
  • Sarah Bernhardt
  • Shirley Temple
  • Shawnee Chief
  • White Ivory
  • White Tower

Little To No Fragrance

If you are sensitive to fragrance, but still want the beauty of a peony there are plenty of options available. Many of the varieties with little to no fragrance have incredibly large blooms or deeply saturated color. If you have an acute sense of smell, some describe a faint hint of citrus in ‘Elsa Sass’. Depending on your growing region the fragrance, along with color, plant height and bloom size, may vary. Although they lack a fragrance, these varieties make up for it with their breathtaking beauty.

Our Favorite Peonies With Little to no Fragrance

  • Armani
  • Elsa Sass
  • Etched Salmon
  • Henry Bockstoce
  • Kansas
  • Mary Jo Legare
  • Nick Shaylor

Enjoy The Beauty, Just Don’t Smell It

There are a few peonies with rather unpleasant fragrances. One whiff from any of these will generally result in wrinkled noses and disgruntled reactions. Descriptions vary from gym bag to low tide and dead fish odors. Of course fragrance is a matter of personal preference, so we’ve taken a poll of multiple peony experts to cast their vote on what category each variety in this list falls into. Our results may vary from your personal preference. There have been a few people that mentioned they like the fragrance of ‘Coral Charm’, but that is one variety that will most likely be enjoyed for it’s beauty, not perfume. Knowing the unpleasant odor of certain peonies before using them in a bridal bouquet is an important consideration. Masking the scent with other flowers with a pleasant fragrance is strongly encouraged.

  • Bartzella
  • Coral Charm
  • Coral Sunset
  • Coral Supreme
  • Lemon Chiffon

A lasting memory from the intoxicating fragrance of a peony is one that is hard to forget and one of the reasons peonies are loved around the globe. No matter how busy life gets, never pass up the opportunity to stop and smell the peonies…unless it happens to be a coral peony.

-Written by the members of the Alaska Peony Cooperative

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

Martha Lojewski – Sales Manager

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