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PlantFiles: Chinese Peony, Garden Peony
Paeonia lactiflora 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Family: Paeoniaceae
Genus: Paeonia (pay-OHN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: lactiflora (lak-tee-FLOR-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Sarah Bernhardt

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8 vendors have this plant for sale.

41 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)
USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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13 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive LauraSteele On Mar 13, 2012, LauraSteele from Fort Wayne, IN wrote:

Per the 1928 Lee R. Bonnewitz Iris and Peony catalog of Van Wert, Ohio:
SARAH BERNHARDT (Lemoine). One of the very largest and best pink Peonies in the world. It is borne on very tall stems which in seasons when the weather is perfect, carry the blooms gracefully, but which in stormy rainy weather, cannot hold the immense rain-soaked flowers. It blooms most prolifically and is a vigorous grower, and as everybody likes its splendid size and soft pink color, it is a most popular variety and we do not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is beginning to make up a collection of fine Peonies. $2.00

Per the APS website:
SARAH BERNHARDT (Lemoine, 1906) - Double - Pink - Late. Medium height. Fragrant, but not especially so. Very large. Dark rose-pink, edged a trifle lighter, with inconspicuous red edges on a few central petals, and an occasional golden yellow anther in the collar; Floriferous; strong stems. Good foliage.

Positive munchkin44 On May 10, 2011, munchkin44 from Fairview, TN wrote:

It took several years, but now they bloom prolifically. Flowers are so large and heavy (some 6") that when I tried a plant ring the stems broke at the ring. Am just letting it go this year. and yes it droops but is still beautiful.

Neutral luciee On Feb 26, 2011, luciee from Hanceville, AL (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have planted 2 years in a row, and cannot get it to bloom. All the old ladies when I was young had a pink and a white. I do not know what to do with mine.

Positive birder17 On Feb 8, 2010, birder17 from Jackson, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have Sarah Bernhardt lining one side of my driveway. They are in full sun and on a slope. They hold the soil very well and they are loaded with blooms. I have had them for fifteen years and this spring I need to divide them as there are so many blooms they droop even though I put a large ringed plant support on each of them. There are so many blooms that they're not getting good air circultion and some of them will rot. They are very fragrant, very showy, and I haven't done a thing to them. My only complaint is the blooms only last about two weeks. I dead head the blooms as I think they look ugly after they're through blooming.
I will say that when you plant them make sure you plant the crown above the grown or they will not bloom very well.

Positive debarnes65 On Sep 28, 2009, debarnes65 from Abingdon, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:

While I feel positive about this plant, none of the three I planted this season yielded a bloom. I expected none in the first season, but I would like to confirm that this is normal and that blossums will be forthcoming next year.

Positive creekwalker On May 21, 2009, creekwalker from Benton County, MO (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love these plants! Very hardy and easy to care for. Last year I only had one bloom, but this year I got at least 8 huge blooms. Beautiful! My only problem with them is that the flower heads droop so badly after blooming.

Positive eliasastro On Oct 13, 2008, eliasastro from Athens
Greece (Zone 10a) wrote:

My favorite flowers!
I really adore them, but they usually didn't give many flowers.
After a heavy winter with few days of snow and light frost they made a surprising bloom!
I was confused because a single peony that i got bloomed very well even after mild winters, but doubles need cold.
This winter i will add ice cubes on the ground!

Positive grik On Jun 2, 2008, grik from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

Its a very nice giant pink flower. Does anyone else think that the so called "fragrance" is a little bit stinky though? Fool proof plant.

United States wrote:


Positive Patatthebeach On Jul 23, 2006, Patatthebeach from Rehoboth Beach, DE wrote:

Such a pretty pink. Lots of blooms in zone 7b Rehoboth Beach, DE. I love it!

Positive Greenharvest On Apr 18, 2006, Greenharvest from Hadley, MA wrote:

I inherited this peony from the former owner of our house. They had been planted in a, formerly sunny , spot at the side of the house. The trees beside them had grown quite large, and so the plants were in shade most of the day. I transplanted four clumps to an open, sunny spot in my flower garden, and I now enjoy dozens of bright, healthy blooms each year, rather than the one or two small and puny ones that struggled to bloom before. Aren't the rewards wonderful when you provide the right conditions to a plant?

Positive amarilia On Aug 21, 2005, amarilia from Vancouver
Canada wrote:

These plants are beauties which are great as cut flowers as well as they look in the garden.A whole area of my garden is dedicated to peonies of which half are Sarah B. I do have a problem in Vancouver which is that the branches and leaves turn brown right to the root. Would it be O.K. to cut them all back at this time as it is only the end of August. I usually let them wilt to the ground in the winter. Maybe someone can tell me if I would be harming them by cutting them back so early in the year.

Positive llebpmac_bob On Jun 18, 2005, llebpmac_bob from Zephyr
Canada wrote:

Probably the most commonly available peony in southern Ontario. I have several. Absolutely reliable, never had a problem with them. Heavy bloomers and so can cut enough for a decent bouquet without seriously reducing the display in the garden. Only real drawback is that like most double peonies it really needs a ring to hold it up. Somehow either heavy rain or strong winds seem to come along just as they open.

Positive lmelling On Oct 28, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Absolutely outstanding rose-pink double peony - very full blossoms! Plants are fairly resistant to blights and disease. Plant in well drained soil in full sun (northern states only) or partial shade. Will take full shade but will not flower as well. Give plenty of water prior to bloom time

When planting for the first time, make sure eyes of the plant are no more than 1 to 1 1/2 " below the soil line. Very hardy.

I grow several of these peony bushes to cut for dried flower arrangements. Usually drys well except in very wet years - will sometimes go slightly brown when drying.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Hanceville, Alabama
Anchorage, Alaska
Juneau, Alaska
Goodyear, Arizona
Malvern, Arkansas
Montara, California
Mountain Ranch, California
Santa Rosa, California
Madison, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut
Old Lyme, Connecticut
Oxford, Connecticut
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Washington, District Of Columbia
Mableton, Georgia
Georgetown, Indiana
Lafayette, Indiana
Macy, Indiana
Barbourville, Kentucky
Henderson, Kentucky
Salvisa, Kentucky
Deridder, Louisiana
Independence, Louisiana
Durham, Maine
Gardiner, Maine
Abingdon, Maryland
Brookeville, Maryland
Jessup, Maryland
Ashburnham, Massachusetts
Hadley, Massachusetts
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Northbridge, Massachusetts
Randolph, Massachusetts
Frankfort, Michigan
Harrison, Michigan
Lake Orion, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan
Blackduck, Minnesota
Kasota, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Natchez, Mississippi
Cole Camp, Missouri
Fenton, Missouri
Jackson, Missouri
Moberly, Missouri
Rogersville, Missouri
Saint Robert, Missouri
Blackwood, New Jersey
Lambertville, New Jersey
New Providence, New Jersey
Riverton, New Jersey
Buffalo, New York
Elba, New York
Greene, New York
Ithaca, New York (2 reports)
Southold, New York
Raleigh, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Coshocton, Ohio
Pickerington, Ohio
Portsmouth, Ohio
Streetsboro, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Equinunk, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania
Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Columbia, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
Cleveland, Tennessee
Fairview, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Lafayette, Tennessee
Rockwood, Tennessee
Desoto, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Georgetown, Texas
Logan, Utah
Ogden, Utah (3 reports)
Leesburg, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia
Stephens City, Virginia
Bellevue, Washington
Rosalia, Washington
Spanaway, Washington
Vancouver, Washington

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