Very floriferous, Peony 'Gardenia' (Paeonia lactiflora) is named after the extremely fragrant Gardenia flowering shrub for its sweet fragrance and the shape of its blooms. The double flowers open from soft pink buds into large (8-10 in. or 20-25 cm), beautifully-shaped, creamy white blossoms with a very light blush and golden stamens. Borne in profusion on strong stems in late spring - early summer, this early midseason peony will flower for approximately 7-10 days. You may want to plant other cultivars with staggered bloom times (there are early, mid and late blooming varieties) to extend your peonies season to up to 6 weeks.
- 'Gardenia' makes excellent cut flowers with a long vase life (over a week) if cut in bud. Enjoy a magnificent bouquet of white peonies at home!
- Reliable and vigorous, this herbaceous peony grows in a lush, bushy mound of glossy, dark green, divided foliage reaching up to 32-36 in. in height (80-90 cm) and 24-36 in. in spread (60-90 cm). The foliage remains attractive throughout summer until frost and often colors up in the fall.
- Enjoys full sun or part shade in rich,fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Peony plants grow best in full sun but will tolerate some light afternoon shade. Provide a sheltered location. Staking may be required as the large peony flowers tend to arch toward the ground and may be driven to the ground by hard rain.
- Deer and rabbit resistant but attractive to butterflies!
- Virtually pest free. Watch for honey fungus and peony wilt.
- Very useful and adaptable in the garden. Perfect as a specimen plant and in groups for borders and beds, city gardens or cottage gardens. Ideal for bordering a walk or driveway and as an informal hedge. Plant your peonies away from trees or shrubs as peonies don't like to compete for food and moisture. The enchanting peony flower combines beautifully with roses, bearded irises and other perennials in striking color combinations.
- Low maintenance. Remove spent flowers as they fade, then cut back plant after the foliage has died down in fall. Long-lived (peonies may live up to 50 years!), the plants do not need to be divided and can be left undisturbed for years. Peonies do not respond well to transplanting, so choose your planting location carefully.
- The best time to plant peonies is in early fall, so they will have time to become established in the soil before winter. They do not flower the first year of planting, and may take up to two years to produce their showy, fragrant blooms.
- All parts of the plant may cause stomach discomfort if consumed.
Peonies are a classic ingredient of the perennial border and have been in cultivation for over 2000 years. Beloved for their abundant blooms, the beauty of their exquisite flowers, their delightful fragrance and their bold foliage changing shades over the seasons, peony flowers add a dazzling splash of color in the late spring and early summer garden. Virtually carefree once established, they live for generations, are deer proof and produce some of the best cut flowers - making them one of Nature's loveliest perennials! Peony bouquets are a favorite of florists and many brides-to-be. Why not enjoy a peony bouquet at home? Paeonia lactiflora or Chinese Peony is native to central Asia, from eastern Siberia through Mongolia to northern China.