Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Tree Peony

Tree peonies are not trees; they aren't even very good shrubs.  Let's just say they are somewhat woody subshrubs, but their flowers are amazing.  Flowers as big as your head, flowers more than a hand span across, and some marvelous colors too.  All with the look of having been made of tissue paper.  This particular variety has white flowers with an ever so slight pinkish cast, and it is a single meaning that it wasn't bred to have huge numbers of petals.  This one beats all my other tree peonies, a range of pink, rose, coral, and purple flowered ones, and they all beat the yellow tree peonies by about a week.  Until they started marketing intersectional hybrids, yellow flowers were only found in the tree peonies. They can be very slow to establish, remaining rather wimpy sprigs for years in some cases, or they can bush out and become spectacular.  With tree peonies you get what you pay for (except maybe the color - the Phactor has been stiffed a couple of times); older plants cost more, but 3-5 yr old ones will blossom sooner and more reliably.  Since they don't like being transplanted, even older ones are just not in the trade.

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