Have you ever noticed the various vibrant colors of peonies at your local nursery and wondered just how many color options there are? Well, let’s start by saying there’s practically a peony color for your every mood!
Peonies have a long and rich history resulting from years of hybridization and how durable these flowers are. Peonies can come in multiple shades of pink, red, yellow, white, orange, peach, etc. Not only that but the color of the peony flower is packed with meaning.
In this article, we will cover some of the different colors a peony can come in, why you might notice a color change in your peonies, and what the different peony colors symbolize.
Read on to find out more information about peony colors.
What Colors Do Peonies Come In?
Peonies have a vast color range covering reds, pinks, purples, and even greens. With every color comes different shades and even color-changing capabilities.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular color options.
- Red: Red is the perfect color option for those looking to add more vibrancy to their garden. Peonies that bloom in red blossoms come in rich, deep red shades and lighter, less-intense reds.
- Pink: Pink is possibly the most popular pastel color choice for peonies. As we will see further down the list, there are several colors within the pink spectrum that are also popular. If you are looking for a sweeter fragrance with a springtime look, pink is your color.
- Blush: Blush colorings are considered more romantic and are especially popular for assorted centerpieces and various bouquets.
- Rose: Rose-colored peonies are rarer than other colors just as they are popular. They can add a sweet, delicate touch to your garden space.
- Lavender: Lavender peonies are the perfect addition to springtime gardens and bouquets. They are soft while exuding an air of regalness.
- Cream: Cream-colored peonies are perfect for those that do not want a stark-white contrast for their garden. Typically, cream peonies have a golden center and are warmer in tone.
- Coral: Similar to cream peonies, coral-colored peonies are warmer in tone.
- White: If you are looking for a flower choice to provide a softer look to your garden and pair well with your other colors, white peonies are perfect for you. This color choice is delicate and looks amazing in a flower arrangement.
- Orange: Consider adding orange peonies to your summer garden! This color variety comes in more vibrant options as well as “peachy” options.
- Green: Green peonies are technically white with a green halo and are great if you want to spice up your greenery.
- Red and White: Red and white peonies are a brilliant color combination. They can be primarily red with white streaks or white with red streaks.
- Yellow: Yellow peonies range from pale yellow to bright, lemony yellow.
- Purple: Looking to add a royal flair to your garden? Purple peonies are a great pop of color for you! Some shades are rare (mainly the deeper, darker shades).
- Lavender and Dark Purple: These peonies have lavender petals and a dark purple center.
- Pink and Cream: With pink petals and a cream center, these peonies add a fun, soft look to your garden or flower arrangements.
These may be some of the most popular colors of peonies, but there are other various colors not listed here.
For example, there are color-transforming peonies generally called “Command Performance.” “Command Performance” peonies typically start hot pink and fade to lighter or paler pink as they age.
However, there are more color options such as white petals with purple bases, peach petals with pink-purple bases, etc…
What Causes Peonies to Be Different Colors
Notice that your vibrant pink peonies are changing colors to lighter pinks? This may be due to various natural, and environmental factors. Let’s take a look at some reasons why peonies appear to change colors.
Stress Leading to Discoloration
Flowers can undergo stress from different situations.
If you are transplanting or repotting, this can lead to stress on the flower. Damage can also occur during the transplanting or repotting process which may result in a color change. When flowers are damaged, their energy is diverted to healing the damage rather than the petals.
Similarly, if your flowers are attacked by pests, diseases, fungi, etc., this can lead to discoloration.
If peonies are given the proper care and rehabilitation, they can revert back to their original vibrancy or they can take one lighter shade.
You can also expect this for a lot of your other flowers. If they are put under a lot of stress, then their coloring might weaken or fade slightly.
Most perennials that are hybridized, are not grown from roots, but are grown from seeds. In other words, the next generation of peonies from the parent plant will adopt characteristics from their ancestors instead of being true to the parent plant’s characteristics.
Self-seeding is one of the primary reasons for peonies to appear to go through a color change.
Additionally, if you do not transplant or clean up your peony bed for an extended period of time (think several years), then it will be hard to distinguish the parent plants from the newer generations.
Therefore, it will seem like your peonies are changing colors.
If you want to be able to identify your parent peonies from your newer generations, you will have to do a bit more upkeep to the beds. For example, make sure to cut back the foliage.
Further, if you are not looking to cut back the foliage and remove some of the peonies, look at the base of the plant and notice if there are any white flowers on the stem that are separated from the base of the plant.
Typically, younger generations of peonies will be more vigorous than older generations, so you can attempt to track the age and originality that way.
The Peony is Getting Older
Sometimes, a peony will appear to change colors because it is nearing the end of its life or getting older.
Much like many other living things, a flower’s health will become more fragile with age. Therefore, most of their energy will divert to other areas of the plant rather than the color of the petals.
It is important to keep a closer eye on your older peonies if you want to keep them around longer. Yes, they will fade with age, but they still produce wonderful, beautiful blooms if given the proper care.
An example of this would be an originally white peony that begins to yellow or a vibrant pink peony fading in color.
A peony will exude its most vibrant coloring when it is at its most fertile. Similarly to the age of the plant, a peony will be less fertile as its life goes on.
Types of Peonies With Gorgeous Flowers
There are so many different types of peonies that have various petal shapes, petal sizes, colors, and even foliage characteristics. Here’s a list of some of the most popular peony cultivars.
Itoh peonies are a wonderful hybrid crossed between a tree peony and a herbaceous peony. These peonies have extremely large blooms (can reach up to 8 inches across) and incredibly sturdy stems. Additionally, they have gorgeous, deep green foliage.
The petals on this gold medal winner can range from red, coral, pink, white, yellow, and red.
Tree peonies are popular for crossing with other breeds of peony, but are still extravagant on their own. This type of peony originates from China as a shrub and can grow to exceptional sizes. For example, an average tree peony can grow up to 10-inch flowers.
Their colors range from shades of red, pink, orange, white, yellow, and purple.
Festiva maxima is a popular type of peony because it is gorgeous and durable. They can withstand various weather elements and do not attract a ton of natural enemies. They withstand the cold rather well and, when they are finished blooming, have beautiful green foliage.
Usually, the Festiva Maxima blooms in June and needs full sun (about 5 hours minimum).
Intersectional peonies are hybrids crossed with tree peonies and herbaceous peonies. They are also known as Itoh peonies.
Coral charm is a semi-double peony that is a herbaceous peony. They bloom in June and produce a lovely coral color that opens up similar to a peach. If you are planning to plant Coral Charm, consider planting them with white or cream peonies.
Buckeye Belles will certainly draw your eye. They are velvety, deep red peonies that are herbaceous perennial. This type of peony does not do too well in colder climates and is more well-suited for warmer spring weather.
Japanese peonies have a wide range of colors and are known to have more ornate centers as their main attraction rather than just their petals and colors.
Nippon beauties are an incredibly popular form of peony and it’s easy to see why. They are a beautiful, rich red with gold-tipped centers.
Luckily, this form of peony will not fade in color when put under weather stress. Therefore, it will make a great addition to your spring garden.
Peony Color Flower Meanings
Because peonies make wonderful gestures of love, gratitude, etc., their colorings represent various shows of affection or symbols. Whether you’re gifting a vase or bowl of beauty in late spring, early fall, or some other time of year, these flowers are sure to impress.
White peonies typically represent a more classic, timeless symbol. You can think of white as symbolizing endurance as its classic, delicate white color stands the test of time.
On the other hand, white peonies can also be a symbol of remorse or empathetic sorrow. If you need to apologize for something, white peonies would be a good flower option.
Although not as bold a profession of love, light pink flowers are still symbols of romance or other shows of love. These peonies find their way into wedding arrangements or even Mother’s Day bouquets.
Yellow peonies are a bright, fresh pop of color. Therefore, yellow peonies usually represent a new chapter in life, a need for change, and/or a fresh start. Additionally, yellow peonies are also used to wish someone well.
Looking to be creative for Valentine’s Day or your typical date night? Skip the red roses and give them red peonies instead!
There are brilliant shades of red to choose from whether you’re going for a rich-velvety color or a brighter red. You can choose flowers with red flares or even subdued red flecks if you don’t want strong stems in such a bold color, too.
Darker pink peonies are similar to light pink and red peonies in that this shade usually symbolizes more of a romantic gesture. However, darker pink or hot pink peonies tend to focus more on attraction. Alternatively, this color also represents deep appreciation.
Peonies are one of the most sought-after flowers for gardens, bouquets, flower arrangements, and wedding floral arrangements. These flowers come in a vast variety of shapes and colors. Not only that, but they thrive in most of North America!
Some colors and varieties are rarer than others such as deeper purples compared to white or red peonies, but you can find them out and about. Additionally, peonies can have multiple colors such as pink and white or purple with dark purple centers.
Further, a common misconception about peonies is that they change colors without tons of explanation. Because hybridized peonies grow from seed rather than root, the younger generations take on one of the parent characteristics.
This is one of the main reasons why you might notice a color change in your peonies on top of considering the age and health of your flowers.
If you are not looking to grow peonies yourself but still want to have them around to admire their beauty and lighten up your home, peonies are incredibly popular in bouquets. Consider pairing white peonies with lavender peonies or red and yellow peonies together.
No matter your mood, different peonies have different meanings. How are you feeling today? Want to express affection for someone or declare you are entering into a fresh start? Look into what the different colors of peonies symbolize!
Head to your local nursery to find out more about these wonderful flowers.
*image by repinanatoly/depositphotos