Every spring as the peonies begin to bloom, I anticipate the next variety to open. After a few species and soft, pastel peonies bloom in April, we start getting bold pops of color with Little Red Gem, Flame and Cytherea.
By early May when we open the farm to visitors, Little Red Gem (hybridizer - Reath, 1988) is blooming. An adorable plant for its fern-leaf foliage and compact size, the vivid, single blossoms are red with what I describe as a fuchsia or magenta tone. The flowers are held high above the mounded, feathery foliage. It only grows to about 15” tall, making it a perfect peony for borders, small spaces and rock gardens.
Flame (Glasscock, 1939) is aptly named for its bright, glowing flowers. The big, single style flowers on this peony hold up well to the weather. Color descriptions vary from orange-red to pink-red, depending upon the eye of the beholder.
Another bold colored peony flower is Cytherea (Saunders, 1953). Talk about a beauty. Lower growing with big, semi-double flowers. The bright, cherry-pink blossoms are cupped shaped and exceptional as cut flowers. A lower growing plant at about 24” tall.
These three peonies are great choices for early, bold colors in peony gardens. Bonus: like many of our peony selections, they don't require staking.