Long-lived perennial plants, herbaceous-stemmed peonies (Paeonia spp.) produce large, often-fragrant flowers in late spring in a wide array of colors, from white to pink and red. A "single" peony refers to the form of the flower itself. Single flowers have a whorl of five to ten overlapping petals around a large central core of yellow stamens. These are in stark contrast to "double" peonies, which have large "pompom" flowers with scores of petals that hide any stamens.
Growing 34 inches tall on strong stems, the ‘A La Mode’ peony cultivar flowers earlier than many other herbaceous peonies in the garden. Its large white flowers, which are nicely fragrant, have obvious golden yellow stamens in their centers. The leaves are deep dark green.
The peony cultivar ‘America’ grows to 36 to 40 inches tall. The medium-green leaves are a rich foil for the deep crimson flowers in late spring. The petals are broad and slightly frilled, creating a bowl-like shape around the yellow stamens.
Blooming early, just before the flowering time of ‘A La Mode,’ is the pink-blooming peony variety named ‘Avant Garde.’ Medium-green leaves grace this herbaceous plant that grows 36 to 39 inches tall. The flowers are bowl-shaped, with pale pink petals that blush to rose at the edges and have deeper pink veins. The stamens in the center are bright canary yellow.
‘Dawn Pink,’ another peony variety, also has sturdy stems, which can reach 34 inches in height, and medium-green leaves. Its blossoms are pink, but the petal bases fade to paler pink where they meet the bright golden yellow central stamen bunch. The blooms are slightly fragrant.
Another sturdy-stemmed plant (exceptional for use as a cut flower), ‘Krinkled White’ grows 30 to 32 inches tall with medium-green leaves. The cup-shaped flowers have white ruffle-edged petals that occasionally have a faint bluish of pink. The stamens are golden yellow.
Blooming slightly later in spring than the peonies already mentioned is ‘Pink Princess.’ This peony with medium-green leaves is tall, upwards of 40 to 42 inches in stem length. The yellow stamens are surrounded by blush-pink petals that have splashes of dark pink.
Salmon-pink petals are the namesake of the ‘Salmon Surprise’ peony. The stamen core is gold. This selection bears medium-green foliage on stems that grow about 30 inches in length.
The 36-inch stems of ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ are topped by scarlet flowers that appear in the middle of peony-blooming season. The petals fade to bright pink around the golden stamens with age. The leaves are medium green.
Dark green leaves are produced on ‘Sea Shell.’ The 36 inch long stems bear light pink flowers with bright yellow stamens. It blooms around the same time as ‘Scarlett O’Hara.’