Beloved by growers around the world for their beautiful flowers, delightful fragrance, and interesting foliage, peonies are an integral part of almost every garden. We recently heard a very interesting question, “Do peonies do well in the shade?” Let’s find out all about shade-tolerant peony varieties.
How Is It Even Possible That There Are Varieties That Tolerate Shade?
Is there anything more beautiful for you than the thought of fragrant peonies in the shade of big trees on a hot day? We have to be honest, not a single variety of these beauties can withstand full shade. Namely, there are only some species that will normally grow and bloom in partial shade. You will learn more about them in the rest of this article.
Don’t get confused, most wild varieties actually do best in the shade. However, the secret is in the altitude at which they grow, and it actually protects them to some extent from too high temperatures, as is often the case in garden conditions.
Do Peonies Do Well in The Shade? Shade Tolerant Peony Varieties
1. Paeonia Lactiflora
Paeonia lactiflora or as others call it “Chinese peony” is a garden plant originating from Siberia and Mongolia, and in the last few decades it has experienced a great expansion in all parts of the world. It is very easy to grow, especially in rich, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils.
Paeonia lactiflora is one of those members of this family that can thrive in full sun but also tolerates afternoon shade quite well in hot summer climates. It is very important to emphasize that this variety needs a lot of sun, and by growing it in partial shade, it can still get flowers, but they will be quite smaller, and sometimes slightly paler in color.
2. Lobata Hybrids
Have you ever heard of prof. Arthur Percy Saunders? He is one of the greatest peony hybridizers the world has ever seen. He is responsible for the introduction of many new species that have a longer flowering period and bloom in different colors than before.
Without a doubt, his “Lobata Hybrids” are one of the members of this family that we are sure to live the longest. This group contains many beautiful pinks and reds, as well as unbeatable salmon, coral, pink, and deep cherry pinks that take our breath away every time we see them. In addition, they are one of the exceptions that do perfectly well in the shade.
Click here and learn more about ‘lobata of Perry hybrids’ created by Professor Saunders.
3. Lutea hybrid tree peony
The lutea hybrid tree peony ‘High Noon’ is without a doubt one of the easiest to grow and one of the most rewarding hybrid tree peonies. As for the light conditions, we must emphasize that this beauty loves full sun and partial shade.
4. Paeonia Japonica
Another beauty on this list is Paeonia japonica, a small herbaceous perennial that can thrive in the shade. It is very important to emphasize that it will not tolerate full shade, namely that it still needs a little direct sun every day, otherwise, it may not bloom. Trust us, you don’t want to miss its large white flowers with a bright yellow center.
5. Suffruticosa tree Peony
If you prefer flowers that have light purple, almost lavender petals, we believe that ‘Shimane Chojuraku’ will be your favorite. Did you know that the full name of this plant is ‘The Joy of Longevity of Shimane Prefecture’? It is an ideal choice for all compact gardens with partial shade. Also, did you know that in Japan they even put umbrellas over them when they bloom to make the flowers last longer?
Read more about flowering plants for morning shade.
Peonies are classic garden perennials that have specific light requirements. For most of them, full sun is absolutely necessary, but there are some varieties that can tolerate partial shade.
That would be it, now you know the answer to the question: “do peonies do well in the shade”. We hope you found this article useful. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section below.
Tony Manhart is the founder and editor in chief at Days in Garden. Tony’s enthusiasm and rich experience in all things related to growing plants have led him to share his knowledge with gardening aficionados all over the world. When he is not working around his garden, Tony spends his time writing tips and tricks on various subjects related to plant cultivation and soil maintenance.