Paeonia Itoh ‘Watermelon Wine’
Nothing makes people smile like a bouquet of peonies. Their large puffy blooms are dramatic showstoppers that make a beautiful addition to any bouquet or garden. Although pink is what may come to mind when referring to these May and early June-blooming perennials, peonies come in other gorgeous colors including white, red, magenta, and orange. Peonies are an excellent border choice for mixing with other perennials and will maintain their neat shrub-like form through summer in the Pacific Northwest. And, once established with proper growing conditions, they prove themselves hardy and easy to grow.
Peonies come in three main types: Herbaceous, tree, and the new Itoh. Herbaceous peonies (Paeonia lactiflora) are the most common with many varieties to choose from. Herbaceous peonies are peonies that grow from the plant’s crown, reach approximately 2 to 3-feet tall, and have scented flowers that are available in shades of pink, red, and white that bloom atop flexible light green stems. After a frost, the fresh growth dies back to the ground, similar to many other perennial plants.
Like the name tree (Paeonia suffruticosa) peony suggests, these plants grow from a trunk-like base. They are grafted and grow at a slower pace. Tree peonies don’t need any staking because their woody stems can stand up to the weight of their huge tree-topping flowers.
The Itoh peony (Paeonia suffruticosa x Paeonia lactiflora) is a hybrid of the first two types. Itoh peonies offer more unusual colors, such as orange and yellow and they grow to up to 3-feet tall. This exciting new class does not need staking.