Everything You Need to Know About the Peony Flower

by Robert Canning on July 09, 2021

Peonies are known as one of the most beautiful flowering plants. Now that they’re back in season, it’s a pretty great time to learn more about this species’ history, some fun facts about it, and more!

The etymology of the Peony Flower

As with most delightful things, the peony has a few interesting theories and myths surrounding its name and history. According to the Greeks, the flower takes its name from the Greek word Paeon. 

Paeon is known as the Greek gods’ physician. He had filled his teacher, Asclepius, with jealousy after showing skill and therefore gaining favour with the gods. To protect Paeon from Asclepius, Zeus then turned him into the flower we now know as the Peony.

This ties in with the medicinal uses of the plant in the past which is why sometimes a floral shop might label it as such. The roots, flowers, and seeds were all used for traditional medicine both western and eastern.

Peonies were brought to Europe in the 1800s. Over time, the average floral shop sold them less for their medicinal uses, focusing more on their ornamental value.

Facts on the Peony

Most modern peony varieties are hybrids of the original varieties. Currently, there are a known 40 species of peonies, originating from Europe, North America, and Asia. It is a sturdy plant that has been known to survive up to 100 years if cultivated correctly. 

The plant is also able to self pollinate, blooming from late spring to early summer. The flowers, when in their full size, can reach as much as 10 inches in diameter. Of all the colors the flowers come in, the only one not present is blue.

More Facts on the Peony

  • The flower is used as a garnish for salads and meals in China, as well as a tea-time drink.
  • The peony serves as the official flower for 12th Wedding Anniversaries. 
  • The state of Indiana has the peony as its state flower.

How to Care For Cut Peonies

When looking for flowers online, the status of the plant will be different for each store. It might be preferable for others to buy budding plants, giving them time to work on their plant before it blooms. Others might prefer a blooming plant, ready for gifting. 

Check with the store first before buying flowers online. If you get the budding variety, it will take a few days for those buds to bloom into the well-known flower. To make the most out of these plants, follow the steps below:

  1. At an angle, trim the peony’s stems.
  2. Make sure to remove any leaves that end up below the level of the water.
  3. Some peony buds might be covered in sap. To remove this, hold the stem head-down under the tap. 
  4. Fill a vase with lukewarm water.
  5. Ensure that the peonies are placed away from heat and direct sunshine.


The peony flower is rich with history and is a natural choice as an ornamental plant. It boasts of both a delicate scent while also providing an aesthetic piece for your home. It can even be eaten or drunk, depending on what fits your mood!

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