Botanical: Paeonia officinalis 'Rubra Plena'
General Characteristics: This herbaceous (soft stemmed) peony is a shrubby plant that, each year, will typically grow to 3' tall by mid-spring, bloom, display attractive foliage throughout the summer and early fall, and then die to the ground after frost. An old standard that features very large, very fragrant, pink double flowers. Glossy green foliage is divided into oval to lance-shaped leaflets. Each plant will flower for approximately 7-10 days. You can plant other peonies with staggered bloom times to extend the total peony bloom period to approximately 6 weeks during May and June. Remove spent flowers after blooming. Cut foliage to the ground and remove the foliage from the garden in fall after frost. Plants are long-lived, do not need to be divided and can be left undisturbed for years.
Tip: If plants do not flower, possible causes include (1) planted too deep or too shallow, (2) too much shade, (3) late frost killed buds or (4) plant is too young or has been recently moved or disturbed. Large, fully double flowers usually need staking or other support because they tend to arch toward the ground in the best of weather and can be literally driven into the ground by a hard rain.
Can be left undisturbed for many years. In severe winter climates, plant with eyes 1-2 inches below surface of soil (then top with winter mulch); Zone 6-7, cover eyes with 1 inch of soil, and mulch lightly for winter; Zone 8 or 9, leave the eyes exposed to allow as much winter chill as possible, do not mulch around eyes. Not suitable for areas where winter temperatures rarely fall below 40 degrees F. or plants will produce plenty of foliage, but be shy about blooming.