Flower Dictionary

All About The Peony: Symbolism, Colours, Facts

Pink Peony Flower

When you think of the word ‘Peony’, what comes to mind? Do you think of the luscious Peony flower, or the restaurant Peony Jade? We wouldn’t be surprised if your first thought goes to the latter… we’re fans of Szechuan and Cantonese cuisine too! 😉

The Peony flower is a favourite for many, either for its fluffy petals, its gorgeous scent, or their charming colours. If you’d like to learn more about these elegant springtime blooms, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about Peonies, from their origin, the Peony’s flower meaning, symbolism, and more.


What is the origin of the name ‘Peony’?

Peonies are scientifically known as Paeonia, and if you’re wondering how the Peony got its name, there are two theories about its history and name origin.

According to Greek mythology, Paeon (the physician to the gods) extracted a milky liquid from a Peony root and cured Plato. Although this may seem like an achievement worth celebrating, Paeon’s teacher was instead jealous of Paeon potentially outsmarting him. He subsequently threatened to kill Paeon, and Zeus ended up saving Paeon by turning him into the beautiful Peony flower.

The other origin story of the Peony name goes back to another Greek myth. In this story, Apollo was caught flirting with a beautiful nymph named Paeonia, behind Aphrodite’s back. This led Aphrodite to be upset and he subsequently turned Paeonia into a Peony flower.


Where are Peonies from?

The origin of Peony flowers date back 4000 years ago in 1000BC. They are known to have first appeared in Chinese gardens, then Japan. Subsequently they were brought over to Europe during the late 1800s and have since been in gardens all over the world.

Overall, wild peonies are known to be native to Asia, Europe and Western North America.


Why are Peonies so expensive?

This is a question that comes up time and time again—why are Peonies usually so expensive? The price of Peonies vary across the months, however they are generally known to be on the pricier side compared to other flowers. There’s no surprise that demand plays an important role, however there are other factors that contribute to its expensive price tag as well.

One factor being that Peonies are typically only in season for a very short time between April and June, which makes them very limited and hard to come by. Another factor is that growing Peonies require a lot of effort and maintenance in farms, and the general upkeep of their crop is not cheap. It is said that field grown Peonies require approximately three years in order to yield any commercially viable production. No wonder these beautiful blooms are usually accompanied with a heftier price tag!


What is the symbolism behind different Peony colours?

As a whole, Peonies are commonly known to symbolise prosperity, romance, good fortune, honour, or compassion. Individually, there are different flower meanings for the various Peony colours as well.


White Peony Flower

Meaning of White Peonies

White Peonies represent bashfulness, thus a white Peony bouquet would be a great gift option for when you would like to apologise to your recipient. If you ask us, it will be hard for them to not forgive you when white Peonies are sent to their door! 😉


Pink Sarah Bernhardt Peony FlowerMeaning of Pink Peonies

Pink Peonies are the more popular choice for wedding bouquets or Peony bouquets in general. Partly because they look sweet and elegant, and partly because pink Peonies are known to represent good luck and prosperity!

A popular Pink Peony variety is the Sarah Bernhardt Peony as shown above. They are in a dreamy pink shade, are especially blousey, and are packed with petals. We can definitely see why it’s a crowd-favourite!


Red Peony Flower

Meaning of Red Peonies

The meaning of red Peonies is passionate love, romance, respect, and honour. With these symbolisms, red Peony bouquets make great options to send to your significant other, whether as anniversary flowers, or just to say ‘I love you!’.


Yellow Peony Flower

Meaning of Yellow Peonies

Yellow Peonies are known to symbolise new beginnings. This makes it a perfect gift if you’re sending it to someone who just graduated, is a new homeowner, or just got a new job! Plus, they’ll definitely add sunshine to any space.


Pink Peony Flower Close Up

Peony Fun Facts

  • An unbloomed Peony bulb is usually the size of a golf ball, and can open and bloom up to three times in size. So don’t worry if your Peonies arrive as small bulbs, they will bloom within a few days!
  • With proper care, a Peony plant can live for over 100 years and bloom spring after spring. This means that the Peonies will come back year after year for decades, if you treat your Peony plant well! However, this only applies to cooler and temperate climates. You are unfortunately not able to grow peonies in Singapore, for example.
  • There are colour changing Peonies! Yup, you heard that right. Coral Charm Peonies are a Peony variety known for transforming from a deep pink, to a light pink, and finally a light coral or orange while blooming. Click here to watch a video about the colour changing Coral Charm Peony.
  • Peonies are known as the 12th wedding anniversary flower.
  • Not all Peonies have a scent! Some varieties are known to have that signature Peony aroma, while other varieties do not have a fragrance.
  • Peonies can produce nectar as they bloom, which is why some of them tend to be sticky and can attract ants. The reason why Peonies produce nectar isn’t exactly known, however one theory is that it helps the flower petals slide over each other more easily when the flower blooms.


Pink Peony Flower Stalk

How do I care for Peonies?

Just received a bouquet of Peonies? If you’re looking for Peony care tips to ensure they stay fresher for longer, we’ve got a round up of suggestions for you right here!

1. First thing’s first, keep your Peonies hydrated!
Prepare a clean flower vase, or any alternative vessel if you don’t have a vase laying around, and give it a good scrub down. Fill the vase with clean room temperature water.

2. Trim your Peony stems
Before placing your Peonies in the vase, trim each flower stem diagonally. Make sure to remove any leaves that may fall below the waterline of your vase as well, as leaves in water may breed bacteria.

3. Place them in a nice cosy spot
Avoid placing the flowers in a warm environment, or in an area with direct sunlight. This will cause your Peonies to either overbloom too quickly, or wilt from too much heat. In order to prolong the vase life of your Peonies, and to keep them fresher for longer, place your Peonies in a cool environment, and ensure they have enough water to stay hydrated. Peonies drink a lot of water, so keep a close eye on those water levels!

For more information like how much water to fill your vase with, and how often to change the water in your vase, view our detailed Flower Care Guide here.


What are your thoughts on Peonies?

And there you have it, from the origin of the Peony name, to the meanings of different Peony colours, and even a list of Peony fun facts and flower care tips, we hope you learned a thing or two about this gorgeous flower! What do you think about Peonies? Will you choose them to be in the next flower bouquet you send to your loved one?

If you would like to learn more about other interesting flowers, visit our Flower Dictionary.