Pink Peonies

Discover the many shades of a pink peony, from fragrant ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony to late pink bloomers that extend peony season.
By: Julie A Martens

Fill your garden—and vases indoors—with richly tinted pink peony flowers. These favorite perennials offer easy-growing personalities and open blossoms in a variety of shapes and pink hues. Some, like ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony, unfurl flowers filled with a rich perfume. Others, like ‘Dr. Alexander Fleming’ peony, open blossoms in a deeper pink tone. Learn about pink peony flowers.

When many individuals think of peonies, pink is the color that comes to mind. Pink peony flowers offer petals in a range of pink shades, from palest blush to almost sizzling fuchsia. Some pink peony blooms feature wide open blossoms with a cluster of gold anthers in the flower’s center, while others resemble cabbage-type flowers packed with petals. Some pink peony varieties bring luscious fragrance to the garden, while others simply add beauty.

One of the most popular pinks is ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony. This variety is a classic favorite and usually earns a spot in many peony experts’ top 10 peony picks. The peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ flowers late in the season and is often considered to be one of the last to flower. Including ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony in a perennial garden or peony bed means you’ll be picking flowers until the last peony hurrah.

‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony typically tops out around 36 inches, so plan to stake this beauty. The rich rose-pink flowers are fully double and loaded with fragrance. This is an heirloom peony variety, dating to 1906.

Another heirloom pink peony is ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’, which dates to 1888. This is probably the second-most planted pink peony (‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony is believed to be the most popular pink peony). ‘Mons. Jules Elie’ flowers early in the season, opening petal-packed blossoms that exude a deep perfume. Plants need staking, since stems tend to reach 40 inches tall.

Dating to 1824, ‘Edulis Superba’ is touted as one of the first Chinese peonies (Paeonia lactiflora) to come to America. This is an early-flowering peony that opens large, fragrant flowers overflowing with pretty pink petals with just a hint of silver along edges. Blossoms measure 5 to 7 inches across on stems to 40 inches tall. Plan to stake this heirloom, which grows well in Southern gardens.

For an unusual flower form, plant ‘Bowl of Beauty’ pink peony in your garden. The fully open blooms are single, forming a bowl that’s filled with a frilly, lemon yellow to creamy white center. This peony is notoriously easy to grow and often finds its way into lists of “best peonies for new gardeners.” The large flowers are real showstoppers—in the garden and bouquets.

If you’re growing peonies for the fragrance, consider including ‘Eden’s Perfume’ pink peony in your yard. Flowers open to a whopping 7 inches across and smell like a rose. It’s a midseason bloomer that can fill a home with fragrance when picked and plunked into a vase.

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