Paeonia japonica (syn. obovata subsp. japonica)

Japanese peony, Peony


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Choice woodland species from Japan where the small bowl-shaped white flowers are much admired and combine harmoniously with the simple rounded leaflets. An easy herbaceous species and one of the few Peonies that thrives in the shade. Looks great with Ferns, Hellebores and Hostas. This species has been submerged into Paeonia obovata by Hong De-Yuan in his extraordinary monograph 'Peonies of the World, Taxonomy and Phytogeography'. This book, along with the newly published second volume (2011) 'Peonies of the World, Polymorphism and Diversity', will remain the undisputed last answer for the foreseeable future.

That said, we will retain the epithet japonica to differentiate it from obovata as this blooms much earlier than our pink P. obovata from Japan and has an entirely different horticultural gestalt in the garden. We can hear Hong De-Yuan now "I pour my life into this unrivaled and exhaustive treatment of the genus Paeonia and this is what you take from it - horticultural gestalt? AARRRGGGHHH!" These are seedlings that are a couple years from blooming size.


Plant Type

  • Perennial / Bulb

Mature Size


Hardiness Zones

  • Zone 4b (-25 °F)
  • Zone 5a (-20 °F)
  • Zone 5b (-15 °F)
  • Zone 6a (-10 °F)
  • Zone 6b (-5 °F)
  • Zone 7a (0 °F)
  • Zone 7b (5 °F)
  • Zone 8a (10 °F)
  • Zone 8b (15 °F)

Sun Exposure

  • Part Shade - Part Sun
  • Shade

Water Needs

  • Moist
  • Moderate

Bloom Time

  • Spring
  • Deer Resistant Plants