Intersectional (Itoh) peonies
Hybrids between tree and herbaceous peonies, the foliage of these plants dies back in winter to leave a low, woody framework. The flowers, largest of all the peonies, are produced over a longer period. They are grown like herbaceous peonies and need similar conditions and, although expensive to buy, make impressive feature plants for a small or large garden.
These vigorous plants form low, spreading mounds of foliage that emerges from short, thickened stems. The flowers up to 20cm (8in) in diameter usually have distinctive blotches (‘flares’) at the base of each petal and a wider colour range than other types of peonies – from golden yellow to copper, white, pink, bright red and purple.
Intersectional peonies need fertile soil, ideally improved with additions of garden compost, in a sunny position.
Like other peonies, these hybrids will not perform well either in very wet, poor and/or very dry soil, or in a shaded position. Being deep-rooted peonies, they do not make good plants for containers.
Did you know?
Intersectional peonies are sometimes called ‘Itoh’ peonies in honour of the Japanese breeder Toichi Itoh, who first developed the hybrids in the 1940s.
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