Itoh Peonies

Peonies are one of the most adored spring flowers.  There are some recent hybrids that are truly spectacular.  Itoh peonies are named for hybridizer Toichi Itoh.  They are hybrids between tree peonies and herbaceous peonies, a.k.a intersectional hybrids.itoh peony keiko

The best traits of both parent plants come together to give these plants incredible garden performance.  Strong stems are capable of supporting their sizable blooms.  No more nodding flowers that can’t be enjoyed in their full glory.  The strong stems also mean they make fabulous cut flowers.  Itoh peonies have increased vigor, durability, and long life in the garden.  In addition to all those improvements, Itoh peonies produce primary and secondary buds, which means many more flowers, up to 50 on mature plants.

itoh peony mikasa

Like their herbaceous parent, they die back to the ground in winter and often have a light fragrance.   Like all peonies, they should be mulched well in the fall to stabilize the ground temperature during the winter freeze/thaw cycles.

While we’re on the topic of peonies, let’s dispel a common myth.  Peonies do not need ants in order to bloom.  Ants are often seen on peony blooms simply because they are attracted to their sweet nectar secreted by peonies as they bud.  The ants don’t harm the flowers.  They are just after the carbohydrates in the nectar.  If you are concerned about ants on your peonies when you are ready to display them indoors as cut flowers, dip the blooms in water to help rinse away potential hitchhikers.