The Peony—Beauty that stands tall!
Landscape varieties for your garden.

Nice Gal peonyOne of the complaints you sometimes hear about peonies is that when they come into full bloom the stems flop to the ground with the first good rain or strong wind. These are mainly peonies that were bred for the cut flower industry, which the peony dominated for decades. Because these flowers were cut in bud stage there was little reason to be concerned about whether the stems could support a large flower in full bloom. Many of the older, common varieties of peony ended up in great-grandma’s garden and were passed down through generations of gardeners.

But in recent decades peony breeders have put more emphasis on what makes a peony a good performer in the garden. Out of the hundreds of peony varieties now available from professional growers there are many peony varieties that hold their blooms erect through all kinds of whether and make great garden landscape plants even when they’re not in flower.

In an effort to help gardeners find the varieties that perform best in modern landscapes the American Peony Society began in 2008 to recognize these stars of the garden with it Award of Landscape Merit. These are peonies that stand tall in the garden without support, put on a showy floral display and show the plant vigor, disease resistance and durability to make this peony a star performer throughout the growing season.

A committee of seasoned growers rigorously review each variety nominated for the award under normal garden conditions.

The current list of Award of Landscape Merit (ALM) winners includes peonies of many colors, flower form and plant habit. They include singles like America or Krinkled White; Japanese form such as White Cap of Do Tell; semi doubles such as Garden Treasure or Coral Sunset; and doubles such as Old Faithful or Rozella.

Here is the current list of ALM winners: America, Angel Cheeks, Bartzella,Buckeye Belle, Burma Ruby, Canary Brilliants, Charm, Comanche, Coral ’n Gold, Coral Sunset, Cytherea, Do Tell, Early Scout, Eliza Lundy, Ellen Cowley, Etched Salmon, Friendship, Garden Lace, Garden Treasure, Gay Paree, Hillary, Krinkled White, Little Red Gem, Lovely Rose, Mahogany, Many Happy Returns, Merry Mayshine, Minnie Shaylor, Nice Gal, Old Faithful, Pink Hawaiian Coral, Prairie Charm, Roselette, Rozella, Salmon Dream, Scarlet O’Hara, Sword dance, The Mackinac Grand, Topeka Garnet, White Cap.

Many more varieties likely will be added over the coming years once they pass the rigorous screening process.

So for the most care-free, great looking peonies for your home landscape, look for the ALM designation.