Green Peonies

Give your garden a cooling splash of color with the beautiful flowers of green peonies.
By: Julie A Martens

Botanical Names: Paeonia, tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa), garden peony (Paeonia lactiflora)

Grace your garden with elegant blooms in shades of green. Chartreuse, pale green and yellow-green flowers all add a cooling hue that blends beautifully with other colors. Include green peonies in a peony garden to soften the bolder hues of burgundy and red peonies. Or use green peonies as a neutral shade tucked among the many degrees of pink that these spring bloomers bring.

‘Green Halo’ is one of the better known Chinese or garden peonies (Paeonia lactiflora) that open green tinted blooms. This green peony flowers early to mid-season. Flower buds feature a pale green shade. As the blossom opens, a base of pale green petals cradles a tuft of white ones. The two-tone effect is unusual and eye-catching. It looks fabulous in the garden paired with the rich rose-pink garden petals of ‘Terrific Gal’ or ‘Kansas’ peony.

Another green peony that’s a common garden type is ‘Green Lotus’. This peony has a flower form known as a cactus-flowering dahlia type. The bloom’s petals are more narrow and twisted, clearly distinct from neighboring petals. The flower’s overall appearance is whitish with a pink cast, and each petal shows lime green streaks. The center of each blossom features a gold tangle of frilly stamens.

Green peonies also are available in tree peony form. These green peonies hail from China and boast Chinese names that are sometimes translated for selling purposes. ‘Dou Lu’ (translation: pea green) is the most celebrated green peony among the tree types. These blossoms are huge, measuring 7 inches across and releasing a sweet fragrance. Flowers are dense with many petals, which often have white edges or streaks.

For changing beauty, add ‘Lu Xiang Qiu’ green peony to your landscape. This tree peony opensin shades of palest green. As flowers age, the petals shift from green to white and finish in pink. Splashes of light green may appear on a few petal edges throughout the process. Blossoms are large, measuring to 7 inches across, and offer a rich fragrance. Very old and mature plants in China have grown up to 7 feet tall. This plant’s Chinese name translates to “Fragrant Green Ball.” 

In the garden, pair green peonies with flowers in bold shades of rose-pink or purple. Good planting companions for the common garden type of green peonies include shrub or ground cover roses, alstroemeria, Siberian or bearded iris and catmint. Or position green peonies with yellow or variegated plants to create a cooling scene. Good plant candidates for this type of design include Shasta daisy, variegated Solomon’s seal and coreopsis.

To purchase green peonies, search for peony specialist nurseries online. These companies typically ship bare root tubers in late summer to early fall.

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