Paeonia lactiflora ‘Bowl of Beauty’

hi,please could you help my friend has a large peony plant that she wants removing could I dig it up and replant it in my garden without killing it off? its starting to flower now.i bought 2 bowl of beauty peony from crocus and they were really live up to their name best plants I have ever got,thank you.



Hello, It is possible to lift and replant most plants successfully, provided you can dig up most of the rootball without damaging it. Also, if you are going to tackle this, then I would definitely recommend waiting until the plant is fully dormant, and then make sure it is kept really well watered for the first year in its new home.



Do your potted peonies arrive with flower buds or do I have to wait years for them to settle in?



Hello, Many of our peonies in 2 or 3-litre pots flower in their first year(they look spectacular on the nursery), but we cannot guarantee that they will be in flower (or bud) when they are sent out.



Growing plants for a wedding Dear Crocus, I am a very happy customer ….. I love your site, plants and service. I learnt about you first from Arabella Lennox-Boyd. But now I am writing for some advice please. My sister is getting married in Oxfordshire on the last weekend of May. I would love to grow the flowers for the wedding. I have a big garden with empty beds and a green house at my disposal. Could you give me some advice on types of cut flowers that would be in bloom at the end of May? Some pointers as a place to start my research and buying would be fantastic. Thank you very much, Best wishes, Kate

Kate Olivia Higginbottom


Thank you so much Helen – amazing! I’ll send you photos of the finished results. Best wishes and thanks again, Kate


Crocus Helpdesk


Kate Olivia Higginbottom

Planting Peonies Hi, I received my RHS garden magazine a few days ago and I am interested in the Peonies. I just have a question regarding Peonies – if I buy them now when is the best time to plant them? Regards Giovanna



Hello Giovanna, Ideally these should be planted as soon as you receive them into fertile, moisture-retentive yet well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. I hope this helps. Helen


Crocus Helpdesk

Paeonias starting to look bit unwell- are they ok? Hi, I ordered some Paeonias in April…..of the four that I bought I am bit worried as to me thye don’t look very healthy. Would you be able to give me some advise please? Are they Ok? Thanks and with kind regards

Maria Hagbro


Hello there, These plants are starting to die back now and this is a natural part of their life cycle. The leaves will continue to deteriorate in autumn and disappear altogether in winter, then in the Spring the plants will put on lots of new, lush growth. Best regards, Helen Plant Doctor


Crocus Helpdesk

Peonia advice Hello I just wanted a quick bit of advice before I make a purchase. I’m hoping to plant some peonies in a raised bed on an allotment this September. I was thinking of purchasing the following: Paeonia Buckeye Belle, Paeonia lactiflora Sarah Bernhardt, Paeonia lactiflora Bowl of Beauty I just wanted to check how big a bed I should have, how deep the bed should be and how far should I space each specimen. Many thanks, Simon

Simon Swift


Hello Simon, There are no hard and fast rules. You can see the eventual width of these plants on our site, which is between 80 – 90cm, so if you want to space them with small gaps in between you should aim to plant 1 per m2. If you don’t mind them touching and intermingling, you can plant them closer. As for the depth, they do not really need to be grown in raised beds as long as the soil is good and does not remain waterlogged for any length of time. If the raised bed in going over soil, then the plants roots will work their way down into this anyway. I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor


Crocus Helpdesk

Help with leaf problem on my Paeonia please Hi, I bought a Paeonia lactiflora ‘Adolphe Rousseau’ and have potted it into a large container with (washed) gray slate covering the soil. For some reason the leaves are being eaten away at an alarming rate, with scarred, brown lines throughout. I have looked at the ‘blight’ disease but they look eaten rather than blotchy. Any Ideas, help please!? Yours, Will

W Bone


Hello Will, I’m afraid I have not been able to determine what has been ‘at’ your Paeonia from your description, but if you think it is being eaten, then I would spray it with a good, systemic insecticide such as Provado, which will kill off most predators. I’m sorry not to be more help. Helen Plant Doctor


Crocus Helpdesk

Can I divide my Peonies? Could you please tell me what to do with my Peonies, now that they’ve finished flowering. I would like to move and divide them if possible, as they have outgrown the space where they were first planted. Thank you Val

david gregory


Hello Val, Herbaceous Peonies, should be left until they have died back and then lift and divide them in the autumn or early spring. I hope this helps.Helen Plant Doctor


Crocus Helpdesk

How do I look after my Paeonies? I have two newly established Paeonies (2nd year – still no flowers) and the leaves have now turned brown. Am I meant to prune them? Is there any other advice regarding their general care?

Bets Ingram


Paeonies can take a few years to establish and produce flowers, so I would not be too despondent. As for general care instructions, it all depends on what type of paeony you have – a tree paeony or a herbaceous type. If your paeonies still have a woody stem at this time of year then they are more than likely tree paeonies. The herbaceous paeonies die right down, so any foliage now would have collapsed due to the frosts The later need very little care. Do not prune the plants at all, but remove the dead foliage in autumn to tidy them up. In early spring apply a balanced slow-release fertiliser around the base of the plant and mulch with well-rotted compost or manure. If you have a tree paeony, you will need to treat it a little differently, but you will still need to remove the dead leaves, making sure the remaining stem remains intact. Depending on the size of the plant you have bought, they can take up to to four years to start flowering after planting. Sometimes a newly planted tree peony will appear to make very little growth in its first season, but all its activity happens underground as its energies are going into producing a good root system. Providing the foliage looks reasonably healthy, there is nothing to worry about and this may just be a ‘settling in’ period. Occasionally the main stem may die back a little. This might be a little worrying, but wait until the following spring when vigorous growth should resume from the lower part of the stem or even from below soil level. Tree peonies are heavy feeders and they respond well to a generous, early autumn top dressing of blood, fish and bone, a slow release organic fertiliser. Its high potash content encourages flowers to develop. A light sprinkling of a general fertiliser such as Growmore can be applied in the spring if you wish. They also respond well to pruning. Ultimately you should aim for a broad, multi-stemmed shrub of up to 120-150cm in height, which will not need staking. Chinese and American types have a naturally branching habit and will need less regular pruning than the Japanese and French types. While the plant is still young, don’t be tempted to prune, apart from removing dead wood during the first two years to help get the plant established. After this if your plant forms a good shape, no regular pruning is needed. However, if your plant has few stems and is poorly shaped, then prune hard in late winter or early spring, just as the growth buds are swelling. This may mean that you sacrifice some flowers in the coming year. If this is a big issue, you can also prune it directly after flowering but the regrowth will be slower.



This perennial dies back to below ground level each year in autumn, then fresh new growth appears again in spring.

  • Position: full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: fertile, moisture-retentive yet well-drained
  • Rate of growth: average
  • Flowering period: June to July
  • Hardiness: fully hardy
    Fascinating pink-tinted flowers with a creamy centre appear from early to midsummer over the mid-green leaves. Like a giant anemone, the centres of these extraordinary, scented flowers are packed full of tiny, strap-like petals. An excellent specimen plant for the middle of a border in full sun or partial shade.
    This paeonia has been field grown, however in order to keep the roots hydrated and promote fresh new growth, we have potted them up. Therefore, your plant may not have a well developed root system just yet, so you should not worry if the soil falls away when you are planting it out.
  • Garden care: Deadhead after flowering. In early spring apply a balanced slow-release fertiliser around the base of the plant and mulch with well-rotted compost or manure.

A few months ago I attempted to create analogies between certain plants and actors/actresses. Looking back, some of my comparisons may have been a stretch, but one that really worked was comparing a peony to Meryl Streep. Peonies are reliable performers each and every year and Ms.Streep continues to astound with each of her performances (although I vow to never watch Mamma Mia). Peonies are classics, never go out of style and the same can be said for Mary Louise Streep (have you seen Doubt? A performance like no other). Have I lost you? Sorry about that … we move on.

Each and every spring, I can be found on my hands and knees desperately searching for the emerging “fingers” of the peonies:

I know they’ll be there but it is still exciting and means the spring is on it’s merry way.

My personal favorite is peony Bowl of Beauty. The pink blooms with their creamy white center are otherworldly:

Some facts for peony Bowl of Beauty because I’m that kind of guy, even if it was all lifted from other web sites (at least I’m doing the heavy lifting, right?):

    • Survives in zones 3-8, although I have read that it can survive to zone 2
    • Prefers full sun but I’ve been successful in the past growing these in partial sun
    • Peony Bowl of Beauty (or BOB) matures to a size of 3′ x 3′
    • BOB blooms for only 2-3 weeks in late spring but what a display it is.

  • When planting, and especially if bare root, make sure to plant in the fall if possible – this allows the plant to send out feeder roots, even during the winter, to help it get established. Spring plantings may encounter stress if they’ve missed the chance to establish these all important roots.
  • When planted in the ground, the highest crown bud should be no more than 2 inches below the ground. This makes it easier for the plant to go dormant, which is a must for all peonies. Also, like with most plants, do not cover the crown with mulch as it can cause root rot rather easily.
  • Peony Bowl of Beauty is one tough, maintenance free plant once it is established. They totally dig being neglected (a specialty of mine) and there are many on record that have survived for more than 100 years
  • Peonies Bowl of Beauty prefers well draining soil but mine are in heavy clay that does not drain all that well and they still thrive.
  • While peonies are easy to care for, they do require some patience since they may not bloom for the first few years after they’ve been planted. Mine have taken about two years on average – but hot damn it’s worth the wait.
  • I’m not a big cut flower guy (although I’ve cut peony Bowl of Beauty for my wife on numerous occasions), but from what I’ve researched, you shouldn’t cut the blooms on plants 3 years old or younger. When cutting, do so in the early morning and choose those where the petals are just starting to separate from the bud. Like the ones seen below:

  • The cut stem should be at least 18 inches long and submerged into cold water immediately. Then, only the leaves near the bud should be kept on the stem.
  • Good companions for peony Bowl of Beauty are those plants that bloom both before and after the peonies do. These include hellebores, campanula, daylillies and ornamental grasses. Bulbs planted at the base work real well as they cover up the emerging foliage in the earlier part of spring. I’ve got my peony Bowl of Beauty plants next to Campanula ‘Joan Elliot’ and in front of a large Panicum:

  • There is a belief, old wives tale, that in order for peony blooms to open, they must first be covered with ants as they are responsible for initiating the bud to open. I put my detective hat on and from all that I’ve read, it is believed that the ants are drawn to the nectar secreted by the buds but do not have any impact on whether or not the bud actually opens. Personally, I enjoy the “about to open” buds almost as much as the flowers themselves. It is like a promise of what is yet to come:

I hope to add some additional cultivars next season (as always, where is the question) and may even invest in a large sized tree peony. We’ll see. Until then, I’ll drool over my peony Bowl of Beauty.

For now, I’ll just continue to dream about better days as we’re inundated with rain and wind.

Stay thirsty my friends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *