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Guide toWhite Peonies

Are you ready to take the big step from spring into summer? Then we have the flower for you. Appearing from the middle of April all the way through to the end of June, the peony flower is the perfect choice for walking us through the seasons.

We’re not the only ones to absolutely fall for this flower. Research last year into the most Instagrammable flowers showed that the peony came in at 5th place, hot on the heels of your other favourite flowers, like roses, sunflowers, tulips and orchids.

It’s not hard to see why either. The beautiful and elegant looks of this flower make it a centrepiece for your vase, but it also has the humility and grace not to steal the show. Simply gather up your peonies on their own for a fluffy cloud of ruffles or team them with some roses, delphiniums or even stocks for a perfect summer bouquet.

Ready to add a cloud of peonies to your home? Let us tell you all about the delicate white peonies.

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History of White Peonies

If you’re looking for a flower with a noble heritage that stretches back as far as any of us can remember, then you shouldn’t look much further than the stunning peony. Native to Asia, Europe and Western North America, this flower really made its mark back in 1000BC when the flower was mentioned growing in Chinese gardens. In fact, it’s the Chinese we have to thank for the meteoric success of this flower.

During Tang Dynasty in the 7th Century, peonies were grown in the royal gardens and were even placed under Imperial protection. Taking it one step further, the peony flower was named the national flower of China in 1903 by Empress Dowager Cixi. As short as it’s seasonality, the title didn’t last for very long – it unfortunately lost its position after the Cultural Revolution.

Varieties of the peony flower can be found growing naturally across Europe and they were often used for medicinal purposes during the 1400s. So how did this flower end up being so popular on our shores? During the 1800s Botanists were travelling the world in the search of new and unusual plants when they discovered the peony. Chinese Peonies were extremely popular during the Edwardian era and many of the hybrids that were being developed during the period appear in our homes today.

Types of White Peonies

It is thought there are over 30 different species and countless varieties of the white peony flower. Most white peonies are a single bloom with only one or more rows of petals surrounding the central stamen.

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Early Windflower

One to look out for is the fragrant Early Windflower. This flower features a row of pure white petals with a splash of yellow in the centre from the stamen, an ideal choice for your gorgeous mum.

Japanese Peonies have a more decorative centre than single and semi-double options.

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Lotus Queen

A good example is the Lotus Queen which only has a slight fragrance but makes up for it with its large white petals surrounding a large centre of very yellow stamen.

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White Grace

Semi-double peonies, such as White Grace, pack in a load more petals but you can still see the central stamen. This flower features an abundance of frilly petals that open to reveal a golden centre – perfect for adding some sunshine to your home.

If you want to take your flower power to the max, then you’d have to choose a double peony.

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Festiva Maxima

Choose the heavily fragrant Festiva Maxima which has such an abundance of petals they completely cover the centre. This variety of peonies features large white petals with tints of small crimson flecks.

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Bomb Peonies

With Bomb Peonies, the outer guard petals tend to be shorter to create a rounded ball.

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Bridal Gown Peony

Finally, a Bridal Gown peony is a big, fluffy bowl of petals with a hint of cream at the heart of the flower.

Whatever variety you choose, they’ll be sure to add a special touch to any space.

What do White Peonies Symbolise?

Like a lot of flowers, the name peony comes from Greek mythology. Although there are different stories, one version tells of a beautiful nymph named Paeonia who attracts the attention of the God Apollo. When the nymph realises that the Goddess of love Aphrodite is watching she becomes embarrassed and turns bright red. Her reaction angers Aphrodite and she turns the nymph into a peony. It's from this story that the peony earnt the symbol of shame or bashfulness.

This isn’t the only meaning for the peony. If we head back to Ancient China and the Imperial dynasty, the white peony flower earned the nickname of ‘King of the Flowers’ and was seen as a symbol of luxury and beauty. In fact, peonies were so special you could only embroider its image on the clothing of Imperial family members.

Like pink peonies, white peonies are also about love, romance and good fortune. Consider sending a bunch of mixed peony flowers to celebrate your 12th wedding anniversary – this bloom has been chosen to mark this special milestone.

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Facts About White Peonies

With a flower that has been around for centuries, there are certainly plenty of interesting facts about white peonies.

White peony flowers have been incredibly important in Chinese culture and not only for their looks. They partially cook the petals and use them in desserts or take the fresh ones and add them to a salad. You can try recreating this at home, just be sure to check out our guide to how to use edible flowers to get some inspiration first!

It doesn’t stop at the food; the white peony is one of the oldest remedies in traditional Chinese medicine. The root of the plant can be used to treat convulsions, excessive sweating, chest pains, headaches, liver problems and has even been used as an anti-inflammatory. It’s clearly not just a pretty face!

If you’re planning on growing some white peonies of your own, you’ll need to be patient. It can take up to three years for a full display of flowers to appear. Don’t worry though, once in place your plant can live for up to 100 years and still produce flowers. Don’t let a lack of space hold you back either. You can easily grow varieties of this flower in containers such as Patio Peony Dublin. It’s worth having a go because bees and other pollinating insects love this flower.

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If you want to bring a touch of glamour to your home, take a look at our choice of white peonies.