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Chinese Peony, Garden Peony

Paeonia lactiflora

Family: Paeoniaceae
Genus: Paeonia (pay-OHN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: lactiflora (lak-tee-FLOR-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Paeonia sinensis
» View all varieties of Peonies
View this plant in a garden




36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


36-48 in. (90-120 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


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:



Pale Yellow


White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Huntsville, Alabama

Lanett, Alabama

Juneau, Alaska

Dewey, Arizona

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Ozone, Arkansas

East Palo Alto, California

Sacramento, California

Stockton, California

Denver, Colorado

Ellijay, Georgia

Niles, Illinois

Evansville, Indiana

Smiths Grove, Kentucky

Cumberland, Maryland

Hudson, Massachusetts

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Grand Haven, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Marietta, Mississippi

Elsberry, Missouri

Hallam, Nebraska

Auburn, New Hampshire

Millville, New Jersey

Buffalo, New York (3 reports)

Boone, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Bucyrus, Ohio

Ashland, Oregon

Irwin, Pennsylvania

Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania

West Newton, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Mc Cormick, South Carolina

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Crossville, Tennessee

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Grand Prairie, Texas

Jonesville, Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia

Puyallup, Washington

Ellsworth, Wisconsin

Sheridan, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 19, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This plant does well in the north, and as far south as Z7. In Z8 and south, it may not receive a long and deep enough cold dormancy to bloom or prosper in the long term.

Shallow planting is essential. The eyes need light to develop flower buds, and should be covered by only an inch or so of soil.

In the southeast, cultivar choice can make a big difference in performance. Early-blooming cultivars flower when it's cooler---the flowers last longer and the stems are less inclined to stretch and flop. Single and Japanese/anemone flower forms are less inclined to bud blast or to develop the botrytis that hot humid summers encourage.

Even in the north, the flowers usually flop without support. Peony hoops should be set out early, when growth is still s... read more


On Apr 18, 2015, glb360 from Grand Prairie, TX wrote:


On Mar 24, 2011, mawmah from Fayetteville, AR wrote:

I don't know for sure what type my peony is. I got the start for my white with barey pink in the center from my grandma in the early 1970s. I have given away starts to family & friends since. My grandma passed away in 1976 & all her plants & flowers are gone, except the ones that I have or have given away. I have moved mine from down home to here, divided & given away starts here. I have my main one that blooms every year. It lives on its own. I neither water or feed it yet it always is full of blooms every year. I have other peonies that I have bought. But that is my favorite one. My grandma always said it had to be planted shallow so that it could freeze or it wouldn't bloom. Whether that is true I don't know except that if you get it too deep or dirt washes over it you will get foliag... read more


On Apr 12, 2010, hollysmac from Amherst (Snyder), NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have some deep pink and some white peonys that I got with our first house in Austin Tx. 1970. I moved them to Palo Alto Calif in 1972 and to Buffalo NY in 1977. Some of them are in Florence Vt at my daughters house since 2008. I am retiring in 2 years and plan to move them to Greensboro NC where my son lives. I hope they stay in the family for many more years.

There weren't suposed to grow in Austin but I forced them into dormancy.


On Jun 6, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Big, beautiful, fragrant flowers. What more is there to say? It is easier to control their tendencey to flop if they are staked early in the season. If they are planted too deeply, they will not bloom. For this reason, do not mulch heavily.


On Mar 17, 2004, Snyders_Nursery from Williamsport, PA wrote:

I passed the flowerbed along my apartment, I noticed my Great-Grandmother's Garden Peonies. In a cluster among last year's stems there were deep red buds. There it was, my first sign of spring.
In spring striking red stalks will emerge from these buds followed by glossy green leaves. This new growth will first appear in a light green, darkening as it matures. With its beautiful network of leaves, the garden peony becomes a perfect backdrop by offsetting smaller spring flowers. Depending upon variety, garden peonies can reach a height of 3 feet, making it perfect for mixed gardens. Yet, with all its distinguishable attributes it will have no problem fulfilling the duties of a specimen planting. By late spring or early summer, buds will begin to form atop the leafy bush. Soon ants w... read more


On Feb 2, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Make sure when you replant the rhizomes they are not planted too deeply. 1" covering the eyes is the maximum depth, otherwise botyrus will attack, causing poor bloom and eventually weakening the plant to death.

Peonies are very drought-tolerent once established; they are very heavy feeders, so providing lots of compost or an extra helping of fertilizer in the autumn will give lots of beautiful blooms next spring.


On Dec 31, 2002, cmlnmbs from Ashland, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

From Zone 3 of Northern Wisconsin:

I have two white Festiva Maximas (introduced in France in 1851) which I inherited from my grandmother. They are planted in partial shade - receiving the morning sun; the soil is rich and moist. Each plant produces over 20 blooms each year, between 6" and 8" across. Staking is a must for the heavy blossoms, but with the size, color, and fragrance, these peonies are a prize in my garden!

Experience has taught me that lifting the roots in the fall every 4 or 5 years is very beneficial to the plants. I have seen peonies which have never been lifted produce almost no blossoms and whose growth is dwarfed. And because they like to stay moist, don't forget to mulch!

And I have read that because bugs and disease can be... read more


On Aug 8, 2001, killerdaisy from Dallas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Beautiful blooms, 4-8 inches across. Single, Semidouble, and Double varieties, as well as Japanese Peonies, which are similar to Singles (see descriptions below). All these can be further divided into early, mid, and late bloomers. They grow slowly, but are well worth the wait. May grow anywhere from 14 inches to 3 feet tall, and as wide. Need afternoon shade in the South, and humus-rich soil. New plants may need 2-3 years to bloom well, and all plants may not bloom if planted too deep. Double types require staking. Ants on buds are harmless, but gray mold fungus can be serious.

Single: five large petals surrounding a center of yellow stamens

Semidouble: four to eight rings of petals with stamens visible.

Double: huge balls of petals

... read more