If loving peonies too much is a problem, then we certainly have one. These big babes are the subject of so many of our photos. It's just so hard not to snap a pic when they're bursting with petals.
While different colors mean different things, like roses, peonies, in general, signify good fortune & love. This makes them a big fav for nuptial bouquets.
Since Los Angeles is in zones 9 and 10 on the plant hardiness map, it's a bit too hot for us to grow Peonies here. But head inland, and once you hit zone 7, you're good to go all the way to zone 3. These plants need 100-400 hours of of chilly weather (40 degrees Fahrenheit or below) in order to be their best selves and flower in late spring / early summer. For this reason, many peonies come from Netherlands. However, Alaska has recently upped their standing in the Peony game, which has helped extend the amount of time florist can get peonies, since they bloom a bit later in the colder parts of their range.
If you decide to try to grow your own peonies, you should know: the first few years after planting them, they may not flower right away, but once they do, you're possibly in for a lifelong treat/commitment, as some peony plants can still produce flowers after even 100 years of life. Just make sure they're getting enough potassium!
First showing up in China at least 4000 years ago, this flower has had some time to develop many varieties and colors - all but "blue," which, in the flower world, means cool purple, since there are so rarely actual blue flowers). The largest blooms can be up to 10" across at their largest.
In 1906 Monsieur Lemoine bred one of the most popular varieties, Sarah Bernhardt Peony, named after a French actress who was known for her brazen bucking of the patriarchal norms and her flare for drama. Obvi, this makes us only love the flowers even more. Girl power.
A bonus perk about these flowers is that you can also eat the petals - in China, they are sweetened and used in tea, salads, desserts or as garnishes.
In nature (or your yard) peonies attract ants, whose traffic actually helps in prompting the peony flowers to open up, while keeping other pests away. In your vase, however, if your bulbs are seemingly struggling to open, some suggest a gentle little massage at the base of their neck and placing them in the sunlight, while others suggest adding a tiny bit of sugar or 7Up to the water.
And, per the ushe, here are a bunch of amazing photos we've taken of peonies. Hint: they make great phone wallpaper.