Native to China where this genus is known as ‘Moutan’ meaning ‘great flower’. They date all the way back to AD536 in their original habitat in Szechuan region of Western China. The Moutan denote Spring in Chinese art. For example in pottery many vases where created depicting the phoenix as the king of the birds and the ‘moutan’ as the king of the flowers. Hard to argue with reasoning as the flowers are truly large, beautiful and regal.
They were exported to Japan in AD734 and called ‘Botan’. They were greatly hybridised producing blooms of wonderful colours and poise whilst retaining and improving on the original species. Due to their esteemed qualities gardeners planted them in special beds or large pots. They finally became highly prized in the USA and UK. The first Moutan was planted on European soil by Sir Joseph Banks at Kew Gardens in 1789.
Tree peonies need a cool sheltered spot with protection from hot afternoon sun. They benefit from frost like the herbaceous peonies, however they aren’t as reliant on the Winter chill to produce blooms. They are heavy feeders, so lots of blood and bone and lime is a must. During the Winter months a light prune only to remove old flower heads and any weak shoots.
Available May to August