Flower Glossary: Peony

designsponge peony flower glossary
If there’s one flower that we seem to get requests for over and over, it’s the Peony. And with good reason. Peonies, with their layers upon layers of petals, are some of the most exuberant and breathtaking flowers in nature. From what I’ve heard from florists across the country, they’re the most requested flower for bouquets these days (which some people moving their wedding dates to be in prime peony season) and they are one of the only flowers I’m willing to pay a per-head price because sometimes one can do the work of a dozen. We’ve included some primary information you’ll need to brush up on your Peony education above, but there are plenty of details below on this gorgeous flower. If you missed last week’s column on the Ranunuclus (another flower that’s full of layered petals) click here to check it out. xo, grace

Additional Information about the Peony:

  • Full Name: Paeonia
  • Growing details: Peonies prefer to grow in climates where summers are mild. They do not do well with high heat climates and can take three years to fully mature, so they’re an investment up front (that will definitely be paid back when those blooms open). For more growing and planting tips see this page.
  • Varieties: There are over one hundred varieties of Peonies, but some of the most popular types you see in arrangements- and on blogs- these days are: Red Charm (in the photo above), Tree Peonies (quite expensive, but stunning), Shirley Temple, Sarah Bernhardt, Festiva Maxima, Walter Mains
  • Size: Peonies grow in low bush/hedge shapes and can span from 20 inches to nearly 4 feet in height, depending on the variety.
  • Cost: Bulbs are more cost effective than cut stems, if you have the option to grow them at home. Expect bulbs to be around $8-15 each, depending on the variety. Cut flowers can range from $5- $15 per stem, depending on variety. These are among the most expensive types of flowers you can buy

Photograph by Maxwell Tielman

  1. My absolute favorite flower especially in a bright girly pink!

  2. Such stunning flowers and prolific bloomers! Can’t wait to see what flower you chose next! http://www.longfield-gardens.com/Peony

  3. Denise says:

    I love them, and can’t wait for May/June every year so I can pick them from my garden. I must get the deep burgundy ones though – what a lovely colour!

  4. Rose Duggan says:

    Did you know that Peony’s are pollinated by ants because they existed BEFORE FLYING INSECTS? Dinosaur flowers.

  5. Jane Y. says:

    so in love with them. i never knew they came in the red charm color until a friend sent them over. she had to scour the ends of earth to find them but they were so rich and beautiful!

  6. Jessica S. says:

    I’m loving the above image, for this piece! Can you tell me/us the photography & stylist credits?

    Mucho thanks.

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      max took it! i’ll add that ;)


  7. Jessica S. says:

    He’s so talented. (Max, if you’re reading this, keep up the awesome work!)

  8. mims says:

    FYI, the correct pronunication is PAY-o-nea. I have this on good authority from a peony grower. In the midwest everyone says it the other way, but it is not strictly correct.

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      yes, that’s the pronunciation for the proper full name, but we’re working with the common singluar name here, PEONY. PAEONIA (listed in the post’s detail section) is indeed pronounced that way.


  9. ‘most beautiful’ indeed! they’re my favourite flowers, along with poppies.

  10. Sarity says:

    I steal them from my ex-in-laws backyard every year. They never even notice them. I got in trouble when I was a kid for stealing them from my grandma’s yard. I can’t resist.

  11. Marie says:

    Really, year round? You’re so lucky! In Australia we really only get them for 7 weeks or so if you’re buying locals and a few other times a year for imports. Really can’t rely on their availability at other times of the year. It does make the short time they’re available pretty special though! Gorgeous photo.


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