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10 Shade Tolerant Peony Varieties

What could be more beautiful than fragrant peonies in the shade of large trees on a hot day? You can’t imagine a better break from the hustle and bustle. In this article I will tell you about peonies for shade, we will consider their pros and cons and much more.

I want to say right away that total shade among peonies no variety will be able to tolerate. There are only two species that will grow and flower normally in partial shade. The first is P. obovata var. japonica, the second is Paeonia suffruticosa. And all varieties that belong to these two species. They need 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. The rest of the time they can remain in the shade. 

At the same time, all other peony species need full sun all day long.

Read also: Best Hydroponic System For Apartments

Paeonia japonica

peony for shadeThe first peony on our list that can tolerate some shade is Paeonia japonica. It is a small herbaceous perennial. It reaches a height of up to 1.5 feet and a similar width. It can grow in 5 to 8 USDA hardiness zones.

It has large white flowers with a bright yellow center. It blooms in late spring, a little later in colder climates.

Paeonia japonica is easy to grow and easy to care for. It is a relatively vigorous plant. Needs some direct sun each day as otherwise, it may not bloom.

Pros Cons
Amazing white flowers Medium heat tolerance
Hardiness A small number of flowers

Paeonia suffruticosa High Noon

shade tolerant peonyThis is one of the best peonies for half a shade. Its large (6 inches) bright yellow flowers cannot go unnoticed. The flowers are semi-double and look delightful.

The plant is 4 feet tall, making it the tallest of its brethren. The width is slightly less than the width (3 feet).

This is a long-standing variety that has become a classic. Its fast growth rate will produce beautiful flowers in the shortest possible time. The excellent hardiness (4-9 zones) also adds value to this variety.

One of its drawbacks is its low intensity of scent. Although the fragrance itself is very pleasant.

Pros Cons
Big yellow flowers The low intensity of the scent

Flight of Cranes Peony

shade peonyJust look at this beauty! Huge white pom-poms 10 inches across are worth the attention of even the most refined aesthete.

The compact size makes it possible to grow this variety even in a very small garden. It does not exceed 2.5 feet in height and width. Despite its small size, it is a vigorous plant that can grow throughout most of the United States.

The disadvantage, as in the previous case, is the low but pleasant fragrance of this plant.

Like all of the peonies on this list, Flight of Cranes needs a few hours of sunshine per day.

Pros Cons
Huge white flowers The low intensity of the scent
Medium size

Island Minister Peony

peony for shadeThis variety came to us from Japan. It has already become quite common due to its age (more than 50 years).

The Island Minister Peony has large, 8-inch red-purple flowers. The color is richly dark. The flowers are semi-double and more in number than other peonies. The result is a fantastically blooming bush.

The advantages include a good temperature tolerance (4-9 zones). And relatively large size (4×4 feet). The large size gives the plant a more majestic appearance.

Pros Cons
Big red flowers Light scent
Amount of flowers

Coral n Gold Peony

peony for shadeThis is another variety from Japan that impresses with its large pink flowers. The center of the flower is brighter pink while the outer (older) petals are slightly paler. The size of the flower is 7 inches across.

Coral n Gold Peony has a large number of petals. The flowering period is in the second half of May, but can sometimes bloom in early June.

The bush is 3 feet in size, which means it is a compact plant and can be placed anywhere.

The highlight is the red young foliage in spring. This adds more value to the variety.

Pros Cons
Big pink flowers Light scent
Decorative foliage

King of Flowers Peony

shade tolerant peonyA true king! With its large red-pink flowers it stands apart among the tree peonies. The size of the flowers is 10 inches and the number of petals is very large. As a result of the big flowers, which can boast not many peonies.

Size is another advantage. Three feet tall and wide, it can be grown in any garden or even in a pot. Its excellent hardiness (4-9 zones) makes it even more attractive.

It is a very old variety, over 90 years old, and was also obtained by Japanese breeders.

Pros Cons
Big red flowers Hard to find
Compact size

Joy of Longevity Peony

shade tolerant peonyAnother unique variety has light purple (almost lavender petals). The center of the flower is dark purple. Such contrast makes the 9-inch flowers unique.

Refers to late flowering peonies. Starts blooming in the first half of June. Has a pleasant but faint fragrance.

Good hardiness allows it to grow all over the United States.

The shape of the bush is oval. Height 4 feet while width 3. It is an ideal variety for compact gardens and partial shade.

Pros Cons
Big purple flowers Light fragrant
Semi-double Hard to find

Magical Red Haired Woman Peony

shade tolerant peonyA relatively young variety whose flowers are characterized by bicolor. The petals are snow-white from the tips to the middle. From the base of the petal to the middle, the petals have red veins that contrast sharply with the white color. A very bright and expressive variety.

The size of the flowers is 9 inches. Refers to terry peonies. A very interesting and rare variety.

Shrub height up to 4 feet. Characterized by excellent frost resistance and easy care.

Pros Cons
Bicolor flowers Hard to find
Flowers size Price

Boundless Bright Sky Peony

shade tolerant peonyThis variety has a number of advantages the first of which are the flowers. The size of the flower is 9 inches across and the amount of petals is twice that of a normal peony. As a result, you get big dense balls of pure white color and it is really unique sight.

The second advantage is the size. It’s 5 feet tall and 4.5 feet wide. Yes, it needs more space, but it’s very sturdy and solid. The big flowers complete the picture.

Its excellent winter hardiness and very strong scent make Boundless Bright Sky Peony very popular with gardeners.

Pros Cons
Big white flowers Hard to find
Double peony
Very fragrant

Siloam Peony Display Daylily

shade tolerant peonyAnd last on our list is the Siloam Peony Display Daylily. Yes, it is not a peony, but it blooms just as well, perhaps even better than some peonies. The color of the petals is creamy orange, which is quite unusual compared to peonies.

The flowers are fully double, i.e. the number of petals is twice that of ordinary peonies and much more than most lilies.

The greatest advantage of this plant is the ability to grow in the semi-shade. Add to this an excellent heat and cold tolerance (3-9 zones) and you have a worthwhile alternative to peonies.

Pros Cons
Amazing bloom Medium sized flowers
Very fragrant

Coral Sunset Peony

  • Big creamy flowers.
  • Very hardy.
  • The intensity of the scent is low.