Peonies are one of America's best-loved perennials. Luckily, they’re also one of the easiest to grow. These robust, shrub-like plants bloom for generations with virtually no attention. They tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, are rarely bothered by deer or other pests and look attractive from spring through fall.
There are actually three types of peonies: tree, herbaceous and intersectional. Each type flowers at a slightly different time, and within each type there are early, mid and late bloomers. To extend the season, all you need to do is select your new peony plants based on their bloom time -- as well as their appearance!
Intersectional peonies are also known as "Itohs" for the breeder who introduced them. They are hybrids created by crossing an herbaceous peony with a tree peony. Itohs die back to the ground like herbaceous peonies. This makes Itohs hardier than tree peonies, yet their flowers are as just as large and are available in a similar range of colors. The foliage of Itohs resembles that of a tree peony and the stems are extremely strong, so they're excellent cut flowers. A mature plant can produce as many as 50 blossoms. The Itoh variety shown above is Bartzella.
To learn more about planting peonies, read our Growing Guide for Peonies.
Below is a list of popular herbaceous peonies sorted by bloom time. When shopping for a tree and intersectional peonies, look for the same early-mid-late designations.