The Itoh Peony
Have you seen the new Itoh peonies yet? They are a cross between the tree peony and the common herbaceous peony. The main differences are that the Itoh stems are much sturdier, the Itoh’s bloom for 3-4 weeks and can have 30-60 blossoms per plant and up to 6″ wide, depending on the variety. Itoh blossoms are exquisite, coming in more colors like yellow, apricot, coral, purples and then the usual array of pinks. If Itoh flowers are protected from the hot afternoon sun, they can last as long as 14 days in your garden. They are very fast growing, maturing to about 3 ft tall by 3-1/2 ft wide. Planting in the morning sun is preferable although they can be planted in filtered to full sun. The lush mound of Itoh foliage is another plus as it makes a nice looking shrub and often turn color in fall. Deer generally avoid them. It is recommended that for a real WOW, plant 3-5 in a cluster although one single specimen alone, or in a pot puts on quite the show also. The downside is that they are more expensive then the herbaceous peonies, but once established they viturally are carefree and can last up to 50 years. Consider them an investment.