Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Paeonia suffruticosa, Chinese Tree Peony

Exquisite! is what comes to mind as the Chinese Tree Peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa) are now in full bloom. These exotic plants have a special place in the garden, a focal point, so one can fully view the spectacular 6-9” blossoms. Showstoppers they are.

The 3-5 foot upright woody shrubs do very well in our garden: deep, well prepared soil and good drainage, in full sun or part shade. In the early spring they appreciate a little bone meal (high in phosphorus) worked around into the soil, and on occasion I may add a slow release fertilizer.

I love watching them unfold, and they do so rather quickly. Perhaps they know that once they begin to blossom, invariably the Pacific northwest rains take its toll upon these beautiful specimen. These are so heavily laden that one of the branches snapped and is now residing in a vase in our kitchen. Not only do we love the rich deep wine color of P. suffruticosa 'Yagumo', but the fragrance is divine.

The following tree peony (unlabeled) is also delightful, pink and with inner markings on the petals.