Paeonia Suffruticosa

All About the Paeonia Suffruticosa

The paeonia suffruticosa is a gorgeous type of peony that is often found as a hybrid form in parks and gardens due to its breathtaking beauty and enchanting scent. It is native in Asia, Southern Europe and North America, and as the name suggests it is a paeonia type of plant which is the only flowering species of the Paeoniaceae family.

The most commonly found type of peony is the paeonia officinalis which is a favourite among gardeners and hobbyists. It has stunning large flowers which blossom around May and decorate many gardens and parks. Also very popular is a Chinese variety of peony, the paeonia lactiflora which has been bread all over the world. What make the paeonia suffruticosa so special are the distinct scent and the extraordinarily large size of the flowers which can grow up to 25cm. This shrub-like variety has to be planted much deeper than ordinary peonies, about 10cm deep into the ground. Certain parts of the root are used as natural remedy for the relief of cramps and muscle spasms. Thus, the paeonia suffruticosa is grown in large fields for pharmaceutical purposes, particularly in the region of East Asia. Nevertheless, this type of peony is slightly poisonous and supplements should not be taken during pregnancy or critical health conditions.

In China and Japan, the paeonia suffruticosa has been a traditional flower for thousands of years and is connected to symbols such as wealth, beauty and oddly enough to female genitalia which represent artistic composition and softness. Chinese literature and poetry often refers to white peonies as ‘beautiful and knowledgeable girl’ while the white colour stands for purity.


Those who want to plant one in their own garden should choose a sunny spot with rich soil and moist conditions. Since they are usually chosen for their beautiful appearance, why not pick a place where they can be admired from all sides?

Nevertheless, it should not be a spot that gets soaked in water and the plant should be sheltered during frosty winters. Although this kind of peony survives rough winters easily, a long time of frost or a large amount of water can damage young buds and delay the production of flowers. The ideal time to plant the paeonia suffruticosa is in autumn because this is major period for the roots to develop. If the peony is kept indoors and planted in a pot, it can grow easily throughout the vegetation stage between March and November. To aid the growing process you may want to use a fertiliser or natural manure to nourish and strengthen the roots. Regular trimmings will keep the plant young and fresh, and it usually takes one year until the first blossoms appear. The result is usually a pink flower with large pedals and a yellow centre. Nevertheless, there are many hybrid breeds which may produce white or yellow flowers as well.

Once the peony has developed and carries flowers, it’s very low-maintenance and requires almost no further care. Apart from trimming and cleaning up, it virtually grows by itself but it is always thankful for a little compost. The paeonia suffruticosa can grow 1 to 2 metres high if the conditions are right but can grow very slowly in the first years as it has to adapt to an unfamiliar climate. On the bright side, it rarely suffers from disease or pest and any problem that may occur can easily be fixed. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to breed your own paeonia suffruticosa and it saves a lot of time and trouble to buy a fairly developed plant from a professional gardener.

All efforts to keep the peony safe and growing will be rewarded with truly astonishing flowers and an artistic masterpiece of nature. In addition to that, the paeonia suffruticosa spreads a natural and delightful scent throughout the garden, and fills the entire house with a sunny atmosphere.