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Grow with KARE: Extending peony season

Different species of peonies bloom throughout the spring, some very early and others late.

Peony season is notoriously short. But with the right varieties, it can last up to two months!

Different species of peonies bloom throughout the spring, some very early and others late. A collection of several can make for a very long bloom season of these favorite flowers.

First to bloom in early to mid-May are woodland peonies. Native to Japan, these are peonies that grow in the shade of a forest understory. This marks week one of peony season.

Woody peonies, often called tree peonies, are next to blossom. With woody stems, they do not die back to the ground each year but rather take on a shrub form.

Then come the extremely popular fern leaf peonies. The fine foliage of the fern leaf peonies dies back quickly and are dormant for much of summer.

By late May we are in week 3 of peony season and Coral and Red hybrids then begin to bloom and the garden peony season begins.

Next up, the biggest family of peonies is the lactiflora peony in weeks 4-7. This is the classic type of peony that first comes to mind when you think of peonies. Early to mid-June is the prime season for lactiflora peonies.

Itoh peonies are the last to blossom in weeks 6-8 and also hold their flowers for longer than the garden peonies. Itohs are a cross between a woody peony and an herbaceous one. Their strong stems never flop and Itohs can also tolerate some shade.

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