These Color-Changing Peonies Will Light Up Your Garden

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You've never seen peonies like this before.

While it’s hard not to marvel at any flower, there’s a certain respect that peonies command. The showy perennials never fail to impress when wrapped into a bouquet, plopped in a vase or poised to gather morning sunlight in the garden. In flower language, peonies signify healing and care. If you didn’t think you could fawn over peonies any harder, then it’s time to meet color-changing peonies.

How to Grow Color-Changing Peonies

Color-changing peonies are exactly what they sound like—showy, fragrant blooms that parade a spectrum of colors over time, especially when cut. There are two main varieties: the Coral Sunset Peony, which transitions from coral pink to salmon, then cream and white; and the Command Performance Peony, which changes from red to orange, then to salmon, cream and white.

Coral Sunset Peonies are early bloomers and grow best in full sun or partial shade and deep, well-drained and fertile soil. Breck’s, the garden supply company, recommends planting rootstock in the fall, at least 6 weeks before the ground freezes. Command Performance Peonies bloom in early July and prefer full sun or partial shade and moist, rich, well-drained soil. Depending on where you live, Command Performance can be planted in fall or early to mid-spring. Both varieties are perennials and low-maintenance flowers. They also have long blooming periods, with flowers that last 7-10 days. For more, check out our guide to when to plant peonies.

Where Can I Get ‘Em?

Itching to get your hands on some color-changing peonies? We’ve already found two reputable growers for you! We recommend Breck’s for Coral Sunset Peony rootstock and the Arbor Day Foundation for Command Performance Peony rootstock.

For cut flowers, your best bet is The Fresh Market. The retailer is offering bouquets of Command Performance Peonies while supplies last. You can also check Trader Joe’s—the grocery store sells bunches of peonies for 8.99 in spring.

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Sarra Sedghi
Sarra Sedghi is a Birmingham-based writer and editor specializing in food, travel, and history. Her work has appeared in Allrecipes, Atlas Obscura, Eater, MyRecipes, Polygon, and Tasting Table. She excels at narrative writing, and received her MFA in Narrative Nonfiction from the University of Georgia in 2017.