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Not Your Grandma’s Peony!

Itoh Peony, commonly called intersectional peony, is for gardeners who want large, exotic flowers on stems that don’t need staking. Oh, and the dark green, lacy foliage that forms a compact 3’ X 3’ mound is also disease and deer resistant.  Do I have your attention?

Itoh Peony ‘Misaka’

This no-fuss peony is a cross between a tree peony (with woody stems) and the traditional herbaceous peony. Itoh peony inherited the strong stem habit and huge, dinner-plate flowers from a tree peony but the plant dies back to the ground in winter and is shorter than tree peonies that can reach 5’ or more.  As with all peonies, the degree of fragrance varies by cultivar.

And there is more!  Itoh peonies bloom longer than traditional peonies (thanks to primary and secondary flower buds) and can have up to 50 blooms per season.  Itohs do best in full to part sun and range in hardiness from Zones 3 – 9 (varies by cultivar).

Itoh Peony ‘Keiko’

Now for a reality check. Itoh peonies are more expensive than traditional ones (lactiflora). For years Itohs were difficult to propagate, but thanks to newer technology, more are in production, lowering the prices.  But as with all peonies, they are slow growers and require more growing time to reach retail ready size.  Even though Itohs cost more than other varieties, the good news is that they will probably outlive you and can be included in your will.