The Girls Are Back In Town: Why We Love The Arrival Of Peony Season

The Girls Are Back In Town: Why We Love The Arrival Of Peony Season

With their delicate petals and intoxicating fragrance, peonies exude a timeless elegance that captivates hearts and enhances any occasion. Whether used in weddings, home decor, or special events, these blooming beauties add a unique touch of romance and sophistication to their surroundings.

The allure of peonies lie in their versatility. Available in various colours, from soft pastels to vibrant hues, they can be tailored to suit any aesthetic. From the classic, romantic pink peonies to the dramatic and luxurious red ones, there is a peony for every taste and style.

Peonies have long been celebrated for their symbolic meanings. In many cultures, they are associated with love, prosperity, and good fortune. The enchanting beauty of these flowers has inspired poets, artists, and designers for centuries, making them a beloved choice for bouquets and floral arrangements.

Peonies are rich in symbolism, making them a meaningful choice for bouquets and floral arrangements. In many cultures, they are associated with love, romance, and happy marriages. In fact, peonies are often referred to as the "flower of riches and honour" in Chinese culture and are a popular choice for wedding bouquets and decorations.

Seasonality and Availability of Peonies

Peonies are known for their short blooming season, which adds to their allure and desirability. The exact blooming period of peonies can vary depending on the climate and region, but generally, they bloom from late spring to early summer.

Here in the UK we can usually source peonies from late April to June. However, the exact timing can vary depending on factors such as the weather and the specific variety

With over 40 growers in 6 countries worldwide, our suppliers in Holland will typically start their buying season in Germany and France, followed by Italy and finally, the Netherlands. Differences in climate and soil makeup mean different varieties thrive in each country.

The south of France, known as the Midi, is perfect for growing peonies. Hot days, with plenty of sun, and cold nights are just what they need. They are kept outside in the fields without much protection against storms or rain – you might call it a laissez-faire affair. This results in these plants becoming real powerhouses with strong stems and big, gorgeous flower heads. French peonies are known for their intense, fantastic colours and huge sizes.

German peonies are grown around Bavaria and are usually of the highest quality. Due to modern technology and fertile soil they often make an appearance before the first week of May.

Italian-grown peonies begin indoors, often being planted to replace anemones as their season comes to a close. Most Italian peonies are grown around the Umbria, Lazio, and Abruzzo areas.

Rounding out the season, our Dutch growers ensure we get to enjoy our favourite varieties such as Duchesse de Nemours and Sarah Bernhardt for as long as possible.

Types of Peonies we love to design with 

Herbaceous peonies are the most common type of peonies used in bouquets. These peonies have soft, herbaceous stems and come in various colours and forms. With so many options available, the peony has something to offer for everyone. From party peonies to royal peonies, just-married peonies to punk peonies, there is no shortage of variety. With their distinct characters and moods, peonies will add a touch of magic to any bouquet.

Double-flowered Peonies:

A double-flowered peony is a type of peony characterized by its large, lush blooms with multiple layers of petals. These flowers are often densely packed, giving them a full and fluffy appearance. Double-flowered peonies are popular in floral arrangements because of their striking beauty and abundant petals, which make them visually stunning and attractive.

Popular examples of double-flowered peonies that we like to use would be Duchess De Nemours, Red Charm, Alertie & Catherina Fontjn.

Duchesse de Nemours is a great example of a double-flowered peony. Image courtesy of My Peony Society 
Duchesse de Nemours is a great example of a double-flowered peony. Image courtesy of My Peony Society.

Semi-Double Flowered Peonies:

A semi-double flowered peony has a moderate number of petals, typically arranged in several rows around the central cluster of stamens. Unlike single peonies, which have one or two rows of petals, semi-doubles have more layers of petals, but not as many as double peonies, which are densely packed with petals that often obscure the stamens.

Semi-double peonies offer a fuller appearance than single varieties while retaining the visible centre that distinguishes them from double peonies. Perhaps the most recognisable examples of a semi-double peony would be the Coral Sunset, Pink Vanguard and Blushing Princess.

Coral Charm Peonies in bloom. Image courtesy of My Peony Society.

Coral Charm Peonies in bloom. Image courtesy of My Peony Society.

Bomb-form Peonies:

Bomb form peonies have a central mass of tightly clustered petals, creating a large, rounded, and often elevated mound, known as the "bomb." This bomb-like cluster is surrounded by a layer or multiple layers of broader outer guard petals, which help support the central mound and add to the flower's overall appearance.

The visual effect of bomb form peonies is striking due to the pronounced contrast between the dense inner cluster of petals and the broader outer petals. This unique structure creates a beautiful and dramatic flower that is popular in bouquets and vase arrangements. 

Some gorgeous bomb form peonies that we love here at Mad Lilies are Angel Cheeks, Command Performance and Monsieur Jules Elie.


Angel Cheeks Peonies in full bloom. The flowers can quadruple in size, so give Angel Cheeks enough space in a vase or in a bouquet to unfold its full potential. Image courtesy of My Peony Society.

Rose-form Peonies:

Rose form peonies have a dense arrangement of petals that create a cup-shaped or domed structure, resembling the form of a rose. The petals in rose form peonies are typically overlapping and spirally arranged, contributing to the rose-like appearance.

Unlike bomb form peonies, where there is a central mound surrounded by guard petals, rose form peonies tend to have a more evenly distributed arrangement of petals across the flower. This pattern creates a more uniform and rounded appearance.

If you're looking for rose form peonies, we would recommend Jacorma, Old Faithful and Reine Hortens

Reine Hortense is a radiant pink peony with a clove-like fragrance. Image courtesy of My Peony Society.

Reine Hortense is a radiant pink peony with a clove-like fragrance. Image courtesy of My Peony Society.

Full Peonies:

"Full peonies" and "double-flowered peonies" are closely related terms, and they often refer to the same type of peony bloom, where the flower is densely packed with petals. However, whilst double-flowered peonies usually have so many petals that they obscure the central stamens, Full peonies is a broader term that generally describes any peony with a high density of petals. 

When working with our wholesalers, we are usually looking for varieties such as Madame Claude Tain, Mister Ed and perhaps the most well-known of all, Sarah Bernhardt.


Sarah Bernhardt is a full-petalled peony with large, pink flowers that bloom in the late season. They can sometimes have a bit of difficulty opening, in which case It can help to add a little sugar to the water. Image courtesy of My Peony Society.

Which Peony Colour are you?

When it comes to choosing your favoured colour of peony, the possibilities are endless. Peonies come in many colours, from soft pastels to bold and vibrant shades. The colour you choose will depend on your personal preference, the occasion, and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve.

 Pink peonies are a popular choice for a classic and romantic look as they symbolise love, grace, and femininity, making them a perfect addition to wedding bouquets and romantic floral arrangements. From soft blush pink to deep magenta, there is a shade of pink peony to suit every taste. A great choice for a pink peony is Sarah Bernhardt, one of the most iconic and beloved pink peonies in the world. This peony has beautiful, soft pink to light pink petals and is often praised for its delightful fragrance and elegant appearance.

 If you're looking to make a bold statement, red peonies are a stunning choice. Red is often associated with passion, love, and desire, and red peonies embody these sentiments perfectly. Whether used as a focal point or mixed with other colours, red peonies add a touch of drama and luxury to any bouquet or arrangement. The Red Charm peony is one of the most popular red peonies, recognised for its deep red petals and lush, double flower form. 

Coral Peonies radiate enthusiasm and energy. They are ideal for encouraging someone or congratulating them. Coral Charm and Coral Sunset are the most popular peonies in the Coral family, and not without reason. These gorgeous varieties have the thickest stems, the most foliage,  and the largest buds of all the Corals. Peonies from the Coral family are often used due to the orange colour of the flowers, and Coral Sunset is the most orange of all the Corals. The amazing colour-shifting properties of Coral Charm make them possibly the most famous of all peony varieties and still one of our favourites.

White peonies are a timeless choice for a fresh and elegant look. White symbolises purity, innocence, and new beginnings, making them popular for weddings and anniversary arrangements. White peonies can be used on their own for a simple and sophisticated look or combined with other colours to create a stunning contrast. Duchesse de Nemours has pure white, lush petals and is known for its exquisite, delicate appearance.

Yellow peonies represent friendship and happiness. They make a wonderful gift for a friend or loved one to express joy and positivity. Sunny Girl is a beautiful peony with soft yellow petals. This peony is known for its sunny and bright appearance and is often used in bouquets and arrangements to convey joy and positivity.

Choosing A Stunning Peony Bouquet

Whether you prefer a traditional, romantic look or a more modern and eclectic style, there are endless possibilities when choosing the perfect peony bouquet.

You could go with focusing on a single colour palette. For example, a monochromatic bouquet using different shades of pink peonies creates a harmonious and elegant look. Alternatively, you could choose contrasting colours to create a vibrant and eye-catching bouquet. For instance, combining pink and red peonies adds depth and visual interest to the arrangement.

When buying peonies you may wish to mix with other flowers and foliage.  Peonies have large, lush blooms, so balancing their size with other elements is key. Incorporating smaller, delicate flowers such as Daisy Tanacetum or Waxflower can help you to create a balanced and visually appealing look. Greenery, such as Achemilla Mollis or ferns, can also be added to provide texture and a natural organic feel.

Experiment with different heights and angles when placing in your vase to create a dynamic and visually exciting design. And don't be afraid to let the peonies' natural beauty shine. Their large, ruffled petals are a statement in themselves.

Our Bouquet of the Month in May is always designed to showcase our favourite peony varieties.


Our Bouquet of the Month in May is always designed to showcase our favourite peony varieties.

Popular Occasions for Gifting Peony Bouquets

Due to their timeless elegance and symbolic meanings, peonies are a popular choice for gifting on any occasion. Be it a wedding bouquet, Anniversary, Birthday or housewarming, a peony bouquet will make a lasting impression and bring joy to its recipient. In our opinion, it's very much a case of 'get them while you can' because the season is so short.

Tips for Care of Your Peonies

If you are buying peonies we recommend you select ones that are still in bud, this will allow you to enjoy every stage of their development through to bloom. Don't be put off by their tight, golf-ball size at the beginning. As they bloom they will open out dramatically and can grow to become up to three times their original size.

The rate at which they will open will depend on many things, mainly the variety and the environment, if you have questions or concerns, i.e. you need them for a special occasion then feel free to have a chat with us,  just pop into the shop or drop us a line at and we will be happy to help.

To ensure the longevity and beauty of your peonies, proper care is essential. Here are some tips to help you keep your peonies fresh and vibrant for as long as possible:

  1. Trim the stems: Before placing the peonies in a vase, trim the stems at an angle. This will help the flowers absorb water more efficiently and prolong their vase life.
  2. Remove excess foliage: Remove any leaves or foliage that would be submerged in water. This helps prevent bacteria growth and keeps the water clean.
  3. Use a clean vase and fresh water: Fill a clean vase with fresh, room-temperature water. Avoid using metal or copper vases, as they can affect the longevity of the flowers.
  4. Change the water regularly: Peonies are thirsty flowers, so it's important to change the water every couple of days. This helps prevent bacteria build-up and keeps the flowers hydrated.
  5. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat: Peonies are sensitive to heat and direct sunlight, which can cause them to wilt more quickly. To extend their vase life, place your bouquet in a cool, shaded area.
  6. Mist the petals: Mist the petals of your peonies with water using a spray bottle to keep them hydrated and fresh. Avoid spraying the flowers directly to prevent water spots.


Fresh Peonies Delivered in Surrey

At Mad Lilies we buy our peonies direct from the markets in Holland so they are usually no more than 48hrs from the field, super-fresh and just waiting to bloom. The creative design team here are the best in Surrey. Every bouquet of fresh-cut peonies that leaves our studio is handmade with the utmost care and attention to detail. We accept orders for same-day flower delivery until 1 pm Monday - Saturday. We only ever deliver your peonies by hand, not by courier and never by post. It's the only way to guarantee they arrive as fresh and beautiful as they were when they left the store.

Call us on 01737 356404 or order your peonies online here, for next day and same day delivery