Picking the perfect peony is more than just finding a pretty shade (although that doesn't hurt). Follow our guide to 20 of our favorite peony varieties to find out when they bloom, their size, and, of course, what they'll look like.


And for how to care for peonies like a pro, click over to our peony guide.

Pictured: 'Julia Rose' peony.

Jon Jenson

The silky-petaled peony is poised to steal the spotlight with its rich colors, delicious fragrance, and luxuriant foliage

Kathleen N. Brenzel

Meet Miss April, the 'Julia Rose' peony:

10 words that best describe you? Horticulturist Nicholas Staddon calls me “an absolute smoker in every way―a dazzling, breath- taking head-turner.

You’ve been called devastating. Why? I steal hearts with my blowsy excesses, according to writer Amy Stewart. And I can be very fickle, especially in the West’s warm climates.

What about your past? I’m an international femme fatale: I have roots in every port. I’m the unofficial national flower of China, where I represent beauty, peace, nobility. I’ve had flings in Europe too―maybe that’s where my blooms came to signal good fortune in romance.

But you’ve settled in the West. I’ve flowered in Oregon gardens almost from the state’s beginnings; settlers traveling West during the 19th century carried my dormant roots in their covered wagons. The cold Northwest winters invite me to bloom.

Human alter ego? Penélope Cruz

Your signature scent? It changes with my mood―anything from slightly spicy to old-rose or a hint of citrus.

You’ve worn pink on the red carpet. Any other colors? Cream, snowy white, deep rose, yellow, apricot―even shades of copper and lavender. Forget modesty: I’m ravishing in every hue.

More: For more information on where to buy varieties and how to plant them in your climate zone, visit Sunset's Planting peonies guide.