Tree peonies are long-lived deciduous woody shrubs. Their mid to late spring blossoms are unrivalled in size, colour and fragrance. Tree peonies are deer resistant and fairly drought tolerant once established. When planted in well drained fertile soil with 5-6 hours of sun, they can bloom on ‘old wood’ and are not cut back in the fall.
It would be very surprising if you haven’t noticed these trees gigantic blooms. Though somewhat slow growing, a mature tree can have over fifty, 8-10’’ flowers and will bloom for about two weeks. The large, layered flowers bring you in and the sweet fragrance keeps you there. Saying Peonies are long lived is an understatement as they can live up to 100 years! Rooted in mythology & symbolism, they date back to at least 7th century BC. Incredibly, there are over 6,500 varieties in 3 main categories – Herbaceous, Tree Peonies and Itoh. Glen Echo stocks only the best of these varieties including the newest hybrid – the Itoh Peony. Here are examples of what you may find on your next visit.
Tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa) are a small shrub with massive blooms of up to 12” creating striking visual interest. They prefer part-sun locations & grow much more slowly than garden peonies. They have the same water and fertilizer needs as the garden peony, but do not die back to the ground in the winter. They will continue growing on their woody stems when they awake in the spring.