Different types of peonies

There are two ways you can categorize peonies. The first is through habitual growthYou can classify every species and cultivar into one of these categories:

  • Tree Peonies
  • Herbaceous Peonies
  • Intersectional peonies

The second is flower formsThe second is slightly more complex, and is largely the result human intervention and breed. We’ll look at each in detail below, but the six main groups of peony flowers are:

  • Single
  • Semi-double
  • Double
  • Japanese
  • Anemone
  • Bombe

Peonies by Growth Habits

Tree Peonies

The name ‘tree peonies’The plant’s structure is more important than its physical appearance. They rarely exceed 1.5m height. They are able to grow on sturdy woody stems and bloom on young green leafy stems each year. They eventually form dense, deciduous masses that provide structure in winter and add fragrance in summer.

Tree peonies can live up to 80 year so they are a great choice for gardeners looking to add a reliable, permanent colour to their garden. They only require an annual pruning and a generous amount of spring fertilizer.

Herbaceous Peonies

The herbaceous are the most difficult peonies to grow. They are less likely than the herbaceous to suffer from root rot, and they are more susceptible to winter pests and diseases.

They have more color and more fragrance than tree peonies. Bold herbaceous perennials may be the best choice to get the full effect of peonies.

Intersectional peonies

The intersectional peonies can also be called Itoh, or Japanese peonies. They are a mix of herbaceous, tree and shrub varieties. They are easy to care for and have all of the aroma and impact as herbaceous plants. 

The semi-woody stems of Itoh peonies have the strength of tree peonies without the height and can be pruned in multiple ways depending on the structure you’re after.

Peonies made from flower forms

Single Peonies

Most people grow peonies for a combination of fragrance and beauty, with densely clustered pompoms of petals, but single flowers are so packed full of nectar and scent that it’s often worth forgoing the more visually impactful qualities for their fragrance alone.

If you’re developing a wildlife garden, it’s also worth noting that single peony blooms are much more beneficial to bees and pollinators than the closed cup blooms of most varieties.

Semi-double Peonies

There are three types of double peony flowers, including Rose, Chrysanthemum, and Lotus: They still have open centers that are accessible for pollinators but have larger and more striking flower heads.

Lotus-form peonies are darker in the centre and have uneven serrations at the edges. This gives them a lighter appearance. Semi-double Chrysanthemum Peonies have round petals with concentric rings around the centre. They are similar to the dense flowers for whom they are named.

While Rose peonies are open centres with fluffy petals packed in so tightly that it’s hard to know when one petal ends and another starts.

Double Peonies

Double peonies make beautiful flowers. They have a layer with flat petals and an inner layer of dense, curled flowers.

Although they are not easily accessible for pollinators, they still release fragrance when the flowers open.

Japanese Peonies

The Japanese peonies look very similar to single-form ones. They have a simple, open shape with a ring of flowers in the centre. Their stamens, which are longer than their anthers create a fluffy dome within a cup filled full of petals. This gives them the charm and ability to double their size without affecting pollinators.

Anemone Peonies

Double peonies of Anemone peonies might be called double poonies. They look more like Japanese peonies as they have open flowers heads with domed and domed thers.

The main difference between Japanese anemones and Japanese anemones is the petal form. Japanese anemones have lobed petals that almost make it look almost identical.

Bombe Peonies

Bombe peonies come with double-packed bombe blooms. Their scent is somewhat lacking in my opinion. 

They are well worth growing in Australia because of their high tolerance for heat. The buds will burst open to reveal a ball full of tightly packed, crumpled petals. These petals will form a full ball when they open, and then revert backwards to create a flat or inverted structure underneath.

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How to Grow Peonies In Australia

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