Peony (Paeonia suffruticosa)

Those who have a garden know how important it is to have a floral plant that stands out, gives you a better view and the garden is a beautiful place. Not many flowers have the ability to transform natural spaces like these. However, there is a Chinese species that can do it.

It is the Paeonia suffruticosa, peony, as it is also known. This plant has nothing to envy to any other species since it has everything a garden needs.


The place of origin and provenance is from China. For centuries the plant has been widely known, to the point of being named in the famous book of Homer’s Divine Comedy and other literary works. This is how through the centuries and up to the present time, growers have been in charge of keeping this perennial plant alive and achieving its extension to Europe and North America.

Characteristics of the Paeonia suffruticosa

It has some interesting properties that we will present this herbaceous species that has spread throughout much of the world. The first thing to mention about this species is that it is the only one that belongs to the Paeoniaceae family. It is a plant of the herbaceous category and is perennial. It is usually known under the name of peonies but they are also known through Mou Tan (Chinese origin).

This is considered a floral symbol that represents love and marriage, for a reason it is a precious element for any garden. It is said that if you have this species in the home, it will bring luck in marriage and those members who are not married. This belief is of Asian origin.

The plant has a few peculiar characteristics that distinguish it from other species. Some of them are that it has small tubers while its stem has a completely smooth texture. It also has the ability to generate small fruits whose interior is full of black seeds.

A rather peculiar aspect based on its flowers is that each flower of the plant does not have the same appearance or size. That is, some can grow in such a way that they can be semi-double or double, or they can grow simply. Of course, this will depend on the subspecies that is spoken.

Although it is not necessary, it must be remembered that peonies are decorative garden plants. Some species of this class can form clumps while others tend to have shrubby characteristics.

As for their stems, they usually have variable colors. Some may look green while others have a more reddish color and may even turn grayish. If you give it proper maintenance and have peony bulbs, as a result you will have a bush that once blooms, it will look very lush.

Moving on to what would be its leaves, they maintain alternate spaces with each other. It does not matter which subgenus it is, the leaves of Paeonia suffruticosa are of the same green color, the only thing that will vary will be its hue or intensity. In other words, they can be light green or deep green.


A plant that has been maintained through the centuries cannot be due to its simple appearance and its decorative ability. The Paeonia suffruticosa has some interesting uses that will interest you, such as:

  • Its main use is oriented to decoration in floral art. Being an alternative option to the use of roses, so they are used to make flower arrangements.
  • Despite its great beauty, this is not the only strong point of the plant. It has long been a model plant for studies and research, in such a way that it can be improved or used in Western medicine.
  • This is how it has been determined that flowers have some beneficial properties, and among them is a great capacity for antiseptic treatments. It has also been and is being used as a natural laxative and/ or purgative.
  • While it is true that its flowers have multiple uses and ways to prepare them, this is not the only part of the plant that can be used. Both its roots and the seeds of the flower are used to prepare infusions.
  • Using specific methods, you can get a topical gel that has the potential to reduce varicose veins and even speed up the healing process. You can also apply this gel on your legs when they have been under a lot of stress or feel pain.


The main thing is to prepare the place where the Paeonia suffruticosa will be planted, since the plant needs a soil that is well prepared. For this, you will have to make a hole with at least 30 cm deep and wide.

Then you have to prepare a mixture based on garden compost with a little bone meal or, failing that, general fertilizer. This will give you an incredible benefit for years to come. The secret to having a plant capable of growing and being able to see it bloom is that the hole you have made is not too deep.

An important detail that will serve you once you have planted this species is that after the planting is finished, do not overwater the plant. Otherwise, it is very possible that the excess water in the soil tends to rot the plant.

A detail that has not yet been clarified is that the plant has a great capacity to adapt, but preferably it is better to have the peony in the sun. Of course you can have it in shady places, but they tend to generate very few flowers.

For the plant to grow, the soil does not have to have too much water or moisture. They will preferably grow in soils with alkaline characteristics. In principle, it is because the substrate in this type of soil is ideal. Although there will be occasions when the quantity is excessive and a little lime needs to be added, just before planting the Paeonia suffruticosa.

Therefore, it is recommended to use compost or natural or organic fertilizers. This will help the moisture to be efficiently retained and thus the plant will benefit from it. To finish, don’t even think about watering the plant when temperatures are very high, otherwise you will end up killing the plant.

The Paeonia suffruticosa or peony is a plant that is really worth having in any garden. Not only for its ease of decoration, but for its multiple uses in case you need a natural antiseptic.

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