Due to their gorgeous flowers and lovely scents, peonies are sometimes called “roses without thorns.” Some peonies even produce fragrances similar to those of roses. In this article, we’ll explain which peonies smell like roses.
Peonies (Paeonia spp.) are herbaceous hardy perennial flowers from the Paeoniaceae family. There are approximately 30 recognized species within the genus. Most of these peonies are native to Asia, Europe, and parts of North America.
Most peonies grow between 1 and 3 feet tall, although some grow into large shrubs up to 11 feet tall. Peonies are extremely popular garden flowers because of their attractive blousy flowers. Most peony flowers also produce lovely fragrances.
Despite their showy flowers, most peonies only bloom for about 7 to 10 days. Different peony species bloom at different times between late spring and early summer. There are three main types of peonies; herbaceous peonies, tree peonies, and intersectional peonies.
Herbaceous peonies only bloom for 7 to 10 days in May or early June. Tree peonies have flowers that can last up to two weeks and start blooming in April before ending in May.
Intersectional peonies, also known as Itoh peonies, are hybrids that combine aspects of herbaceous and tree peonies. In June, intersectional peonies produce large flowers that bloom for up to a month.
What Colors Do Peonies Come in?
Peonies come in a dazzling array of colors, especially the hybrid varieties. Standard peony colors include pink, purple, red, yellow, and white. Some types come in cream or orange, while others display multiple colors on the same flowers.
Peony flowers also come in several structural forms. These include single, double, or semi-double flowers. Other forms include anemone, bomb, and Japanese peonies. With so many colors and forms available, it’s easy to see why peonies are so popular.
What Do Peonies Smell Like?
Many peonies produce lovely fragrances with various notes. Most peonies usually smell like roses with a refreshing floral smell. Some peonies have wonderful fruity or spicy fragrances.
Different peony cultivars produce varying strengths of fragrance. The strongest fragrances come from pink or white peonies or double peonies.
Peonies generally produce stronger scents in the morning rather than in the afternoon. Hot temperatures can prevent peonies from creating their fragrance. Some red or single-flower peony varieties may not produce any perfume at all.
What Peonies Smell Like Roses?
While most peonies smell like roses, some cultivars have particularly strong or clear rose-like fragrances. Most of these peonies are derived from the Chinese peony (Paeonia lactiflora), also known as the common garden peony. Here are some of the best peonies that smell like roses.
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Do Tell’ – These gorgeous peonies have soft pink anemone-like flowers and a mild rose fragrance. These mid-season peonies grow up to 3 feet tall.
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Eden’s Perfume’ – This peony variety has sumptuous light pin double blooms with a rosy scent. The petals may also be dark pink or creamy white. These peonies grow between 2.5 and 3 feet tall.
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Madame de Verneville’ – This sophisticated peony cultivar originated in France and produces white double blooms with red spots in the center. The flowers have a sweet scent similar to roses.
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Pillow Talk’ – These spectacular peonies have double pink flowers that can be up to 5 inches in diameter. These peonies grow between 2 and 3 feet high and produce a sweet rose-like fragrance.
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Vivid Rose’ – This peony cultivar dazzles with its bright pink double flowers with a strong rose fragrance. ‘Vivid Rose’ is a mid-season peony variety that makes excellent cut flowers.
How to Grow Peonies
Peonies are hardy perennial flowers that can be reasonably easy to grow. To help peony flowers last as long as possible, it’s essential to give them the best possible care.
Peonies require approximately six to eight hours of full sun every day. This helps them produce exquisite flowers. Peonies that receive sun early in the morning tend to produce stronger fragrances. Tree peonies prefer partial shade to full sun and require shade in the afternoons.
Peonies prefer cooler temperatures and grow best in USDA Zones 2 to 9. Intersectional peonies prefer warmer areas, while herbaceous peonies thrive in cooler climates.
Water-established peonies once every one to two weeks, especially in long periods of drought. Young peonies require watering more frequently during their first year before they become established.
Peonies grow best in fertile, well-draining soils, especially loamy soils. Fertilize peonies in the spring when new shoots or flower buds appear.
Most peonies smell like roses, although some types have fruity or spicy scents. Peonies produce their most pungent fragrances in the morning. Most of the Chinese or common garden peonies (Paeonia lactiflora) have rose-like fragrances.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the meaning and symbolism of peony flowers.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.
Comments are closed.