'Felix Crousse'
As long time favorite plants, herbaceous peonies bring fragrance and soft color to the spring garden, and then provide attractive foliage until fall. Traditionally, peony flowers have been white, pink and various shades of red, and come in a variety of forms from those with five broad petals, to those with a mass of petals and petal-like structures. The heirloom varieties that have been around over 100 years tend to be white or pink and very full of petals.

Here are five pink heirloom peonies that have been grown since the 1800s. The are all hardy in zones 2-7 and do best with full to half day of sun. All the peonies described can be purchased from catalogs and/or from on-line sources.

‘Felix Crousse’
The intense raspberry red color touched with silver and satiny sheen have made this mildly fragrant flower a standout. A popular cultivar for over a century it is still easy to find in the trade.

    Breeder and Date of Introduction: Crousse, 1881
    Height: 32”
    Type: Bomb-type double (smaller petals from mound in center of larger petals)
    Bloom Time: Midseason

‘Edulis Superba’
Several shades of pink can be seen in these very fragrant, large flowers. The central mass of petals tends to be a little lighter than the larger outer ones, adding to its charm and old fashioned look.

    Breeder and Date of Introduction: Lemon, 1824
    Height: 36”
    Type: Double
    Bloom Time: Midseason

'Monsieur Jules Elie'
‘Monsieur Jules Elie’
The center petals are tightly packed and are surrounded by a color of larger ones. Lightly fragrant, the flower heads may become so heavy they have to be staked.

    Breeder and Date of Introduction: Crousse, 1888
    Height: 36”
    Type:Bomb-type double
    Bloom Time: Midseason

The oldest of the five favorites, ‘Humei’ is one of the three peonies available to American gardeners in 1810. the cherry pink flowers are cinnamon-scented.

    Date of Introduction: 1810
    Height: 32”
    Type: Double
    Bloom Time: Late

'Madame Ducel'
‘Madame Ducel’
The mildly fragrant flowers are baby pink with a silver sheen.

    Breeder and Date of Introduction:  Etienne Mechin, 1880
    Height: 30”
    Type: Double
    Bloom Time: Midseason

The pink heirloom peonies described offer various shades of pink from light to dark. They tend to be similar is form and four of the five are midseason bloomers. To extend the length of the bloom time for a peony bed, plant them with some of the white blooming old heirloom peonies described in my post “Five Favorite White Heirloom Peonies over 100 Years Old.” There are also many heirloom cultivars that were developed later in the 1900s that would be good companions for these older ones.

Herbaceous Perennials pointer

By Karen