Today I saw some nice peony images in an Instagram post from Saaremaa Puukool, which is apparently a nursery in Estonia. They are from one particular favorite of mine, which is a double white lactiflora peony named Amalia Olson. As it happens I grow this one as a cut flower in quite large numbers. It may have pale pink buds, which is a small drawback when you want to sell it as ‘white’, but there are so many good qualities to it that it’s hard not to love it.


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Valge aed on iga aedniku unistus. Siin see on, valge aia kuninganna Saaremaa Puukooli pojeng AMALIA OLSON (Paeonia lactiflora). Aretaja: C. Olson/Nelson, USA. Registreeritud 1959.a. Auhinnad: Home Achievement Medal National Show in North Dakota 1959. APS Gold Medal 2011. Peony of the Year 2012. Eestis saadaval ainult Saaremaa Puukoolis! #saaremaapojengid #pojeng #saaremaapuukool #pojengid #peony #peonies #peonie #peonyflower #peonygarden #maarmastanpojenge #peon #amaliaolson #kenalugu #amaliaolsonpeony #saaremaa #visitaaaremaa #saaremaasuvi #kasvatatudsaaremaal #ehtnesaaremaatoode #saaremaaisland #saaremaal #saaremaanature #kuressaare #pojengiaeg #pojengiaed #gardenpeony #peonias

Een bericht gedeeld door Saaremaa Puukool (@saaremaapojengid) op

Now this is a peony that has sturdy stems, dark green leaflets and very large flowers that are truly well formed when open. The color when open is snow-white and it is extremely pretty. But added to that it is one of the most fragrant peonies I know and it is truly a heavenly fragrance. I simply cannot resist putting my nose in such an open flower when I pass them. It grows well, is very healthy and is surely in my top-10 list of best peonies. It has collected several awards as can be seen from the instagram post above. It hasn’t received an Award Of Landscape Merit (ALM) from the American Peony Society (APS) unfortunately. Perhaps because the flowers may fall to the ground eventually in very, very bad weather, but under normal circumstances they remain upright and the stems are more than adequate in my opinion.

A mature plant of Amalia Olson

Now this is also a peony with a ‘history’. In an APS-bulletin from long ago, December 1959 to be precise, the origin of this cultivar was described, probably by George Peyton, a man with an immense knowledge of peonies, peony varieties and peony growers at that time:

Amalia Olson

Click the image to enlarge this article about peony Amalia Olson

From all the above it is quite obvious that Amalia Olson is a peony we highly recommend. It is not too expensive as it has been introduced a long time ago and as it propagates well. It is available from several specialized peony nurseries, just have a look at your favorite nurseries’ catalogues and you’ll usually find it. In a few years’ time you may be walking around your garden and putting your nose in that perfectly formed white as well 🙂

last updated by Anya 4 years, 1 month ago
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    • #25214

      If you’d like to comment on this article, please do so below, your replies will be available both in the forum and under the article itself.
      [Read the full article: A favorite white: Amalia Olson]

    • #25217

      Thank you for a nice article! Is this variety fertile?

    • #25218

      Hello Hannah,

      Unfortunately it is not. I’ve tried several times but could never find usable pollen nor carpels. Cutting it down to promote growth of the secondary smaller buds didn’t help either, I got smaller flowers but they were still double.

      I’d very much like a seedling of it because it’s very good, but I’m afraid it’s a dead end when it comes to hybridizing.

      All the best,


      • #25220

        That is a shame, but thanx for the answer though!

    • #25503

      I planted Amalia Olson in the fall of 2016, was astonished with its perfect form and bright white color next summer. (I live in Alaska.) In summer 2018 I left also one bud to save some energy for development and the flower was not as perfect as the year before.  This summer I was surprised with the flowers – they were not pure white. I am sure the climate and other conditions affect the blooms, last summer was cool and probably the peony did not store enough energy for flowers. I am waiting for the next year, the bush is growing and I hope it will develop soon to produce perfect flowers again!

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