Thin-leaved peony: delicate foliage and spectacular flowers

Among the variety of peonies, there are well-known to most, even non-specialists, and there are those that only true amateurs know about. Recently, the fashion for a thin-leaved peony has returned - an outwardly simple, but very refined flower used not only by ordinary summer residents, but also by landscape designers.

What is a thin-leaved peony (narrow-leaved)

The fine-leaved peony is a wild plant, but now it is so rare in nature that it is listed in the Red Book in many countries. However, over the past decades, many varieties of this peony have been bred, and it can increasingly be found in gardens and parks.

The appearance of the plant and flowers, use in the design of the site

In some countries, for example, in North America, the thin-leaved peony is more popular than other types of peonies, and most cultivars are bred in the USA and Canada. It is a perennial herb belonging to the genus Peony. In our country, he is known as a raven, azure flower, red lazoric. In the past millennium, it could be found almost throughout the entire territory of our country: even in Siberia, this peony is able to grow and bloom at the earliest possible date. However, due to its medicinal properties, the plant was uncontrollably exterminated, and now lives mainly in the forests and forest-steppes of the Voronezh and Belgorod regions.

Southeast Europe is considered the birthplace of the thin-leaved peony.

The thin-leaved peony is distinguished by the openwork structure of the leaf apparatus, which is why it is called the fern peony in the USA. It begins to grow in the earliest spring: immediately after the snow cover melts, pinkish sprouts appear from the ground. Like most other peonies, it can grow in one place for at least 10-15 years. The root system is similar to that of other varieties and consists of potato-like tubers and more or less thin roots of medium length.

Seedlings appear in early spring

The bushes are almost spherical. They grow over the years, but rarely exceed half a meter in diameter. At the end of summer, the aboveground part dies off. The main decoration of the bush is not even the flowers, but the openwork leaves: thin, sometimes even threadlike (about 2 mm wide), strongly dissected. They have a rich bright green color, which, even after flowering, makes the bushes look very impressive.

Flowers can be pink to burgundy; most often it is a variation of red. Relatively small (about 10 cm in diameter), they consist of five petals and many golden anthers. Many cultivars bloom with double flowers. There is only one flower on each of the flowering stems. Flowering is short-lived (4–7 days in the wild to two weeks for some cultivars) and usually occurs in May. The flowers have a strong, pleasant scent. If they are not plucked, in the second half of summer, fruits are formed - boxes with black-brown seeds.

All flowers on the bush bloom at the same time

Despite the short flowering, the thin-leaved peony is widely used in landscape design. At the same time, both single planting of bushes and their various compositions are possible, including with the use of other flowers and shrubs. It can be conifers, any herbaceous peonies, annual flowers.

Plant characteristics, optimal conditions for growth and flowering

In order for the thin-leaved peony to bloom well, an illuminated place should be chosen for it. It may be partial shade, but the bushes will grow completely in the shade, and flowering is questionable. It is very good if the shade on the peony falls in the hottest afternoon hours. At the same time, the thin-leaved peony is recognized as the most heat- and drought-resistant among all known peony species.

The winter and frost resistance of the plant is also high, but in most regions it is more reliable to cover the root system for the winter, for example, with coniferous spruce branches. In nature, it grows on the slopes of ravines, on the edges, not picky about neighbors. It does not tolerate stagnant water, so it cannot grow in lowlands. In general, it is a completely unpretentious plant.

Video: fine-leaved peony in nature

Reasons for popularity

The popularity of the thin-leaved peony is associated with both its exceptional decorativeness and useful properties. The bush adorns the site from mid-spring to the end of summer: for some time with flowers, but mainly with openwork foliage. The most beautiful bush is during budding and the simultaneous opening of all the buds. At the same time, the buds are surrounded by leaves, which adds aesthetics to the entire bush.

Even buds that are not fully opened are beautiful

Almost all parts of the thin-leaved peony have healing properties. Both the aerial part and the rhizomes contain flavonoids, anthocyanins, ascorbic acid, and other useful components. Therefore, peony is used in pharmaceuticals for the manufacture of drugs: expectorants, pain relievers, and others. In addition, the plant at the time of flowering is an excellent honey plant.

Objective flaws and difficulties

From the point of view of agricultural technology, the disadvantage of the plant is that the peony reacts very badly not only to swampiness, but even simply to an excess of moisture in the soil. Therefore, watering the plant should be done with great care. When planting, it is imperative to create a reliable drainage layer in the planting pit.

In addition, the thin-leaved peony is a real "slow-witted": it can grow even from a small piece of rhizome, but after any planting or transplanting, even with a good seedling, it "sways" for a very long time and gains strength.

For all the usefulness of a plant used for medicinal purposes, it must be remembered that it is toxic. Therefore, it is very risky to prepare tinctures and decoctions on your own, although some amateurs neglect this, use various parts of the peony according to "grandmother's recipes."

Popular peony varieties

The thin-leaved peony is also beautiful in the wild, but breeders have created many varieties, the flowering of which is observed for a longer period and is often more spectacular. Among the most famous varieties are the following.

  • Rubra Plena. The variety is distinguished by high doubleness of scarlet flowers and increased decorative effect of the bush, which persists for a long time. The filamentous leaves are dark green in color. The peony is among the very first to bloom.

    Rubra Plena peony blooms very early

  • Tiny Tim. A non-double variety, flowers have red petals with jagged edges, about 8 cm in diameter. It blooms early, bred for use in rock gardens. The bush is not tall, only about 30 cm. Unpretentious in terms of soil composition.

    Peony Tiny Tim - one of the smallest

  • Early Scout. The flowers are bright red with a cherry tinge, simple but large: about 12 cm in diameter. Leaves are dark green. It blooms at the end of May, has increased frost resistance.

    Early Scout peony need not be covered for the winter

  • Eaglet. Domestic variety, known for more than half a century. Non-double, red flowers with a diameter of 10 cm, in a sunny place are lighter. Bush up to 60 cm high, with slightly deflected stems.

    Eaglet - a variety from the USSR

  • Little Rhyme. Designed for rocky gardens and alpine slides. Flowers are non-double, purple-red, about 12 cm in diameter. Leaves are grayish-green, erect shoots. It blooms early.

    Peony Little Rhyme is usually planted on slides

Growing features

The thin-leaved peony is propagated by seeds and dividing the bush. It is much easier to buy a seedling (cut) than to get it by seed. It is important that its tubers are healthy, resilient, and free from rotting. For planting, they choose partial shade: in the brightest sun, flowering passes especially quickly. The best soils for this peony are loams with a neutral or slightly alkaline reaction of the environment.

The best planting dates are late summer or early autumn. A planting pit is prepared in advance with a depth and width of about 70 cm. A layer of drainage material (pebbles, gravel, pebbles) is at least 15 cm. Otherwise, the planting (composition of fertilizers and operation technique) does not differ from planting other herbaceous peonies. The replacement buds should be 3–7 cm deep.

The key to flowering is the desired planting height

The peony is watered regularly, but without excess: they do this if the surface layer dries up. Shallow loosening is necessary, preferably mulching of the soil. Starting from the third year, top dressing is applied. In the spring - urea, in the summer - complex fertilizer, in the fall - humus. Diseases and pests rarely overpower this peony. Fungal diseases can occur with irrigation flaws, copper-containing preparations usually cope with them. Peonies are transplanted once every 5-10 years.

The thin-leaved peony is beautiful both at the time of flowering and outside it, since it has very beautiful foliage. Growing it is no more difficult than growing other types of peonies, so you can find it in gardens and parks more and more often.

Types of peonies, varieties and their cultivation

According to Chinese beliefs, a peony is a flower of love. Today it is so loved among our people that it grows, perhaps, in every garden.

The variety of varieties and ease of care captivate. It blooms no worse than a rose, is fragrant, and has no thorns! It is also easy to propagate. Beautiful flower! Peony is great for design compositions, looks great in a bouquet. The most common are herbaceous peonies, including for cutting.

According to the structure of the flower, the varieties of peonies are divided into:

  • non-double, having only one row of wide petals (Golden Glow, Nadia)
  • semi-double (Legion Hankor)
  • Japanese (Moon of Nippon)
  • anemone (Longfellow)
  • terry hemispherical (Pearl placer)
  • pink (Robert Outen)
  • crown (Kansas)

Choosing a landing site

Before planting a shrub on a garden plot, you should take into account some of the nuances of growing it in the open field.

Peonies do not tolerate excess moisture. Only during the formation of buds and before they should bloom, abundant watering is recommended. But stagnation of moisture at the rhizome should be avoided. This can provoke rotting of the root system and lead to the death of the plant.

Peony Thin-leaved will not take root on acidic soil and may soon die. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to alkalize the soil: lime, mineral fertilizers, wood ash.

  • Illumination of the area.

Before planting, choose a place where there will be plenty of lighting and sunlight. Peonies can live well in shaded areas, but on the sunny side they grow and bloom more abundantly.

Peonies do not tolerate drafts and strong winds. Therefore, you should take care of the breeding site in advance, where such weather conditions will not be terrible for the plant. This can be: a local area, a far corner of the garden.

Many summer residents care about the aesthetic appearance of their plots. Based on the fact that the flowering of peonies stops already in July, and by August the bush dries up altogether, it is better to plant this plant between perennial and long-flowering brethren.

Among other flowering plants, the dried bush of the Thin-leaved peony will be invisible.

Classification of flowers of herbaceous peonies

This plant has very large flowers of various shapes and colors. The dissected leaves are arranged on long and sturdy stems. According to the structure of flowers, they are divided into:

• terry (semi-pink, pink, spherical, crown)

The color of peony buds can be of a wide variety of shades: white, pink, red, purple, ruby, yellow.

Types of peonies section Moutan

To the first subsection - Delavayanae - include 4 types:
1. Peony Delavey (Paeonia delavayi). The country of origin is China. Regions - Sichuan, Tibet, Yunnan.
2. Yellow peony (Paeonia lutea). According to Western sources, it is considered synonymous with the Delaway peony.
3. Peony Lyudlov (Paeonia ludlowii). Homeland - China, Tibet.
4. Potanin's peony (Paeonia potaninii). Western sources consider Potanin's peony to be synonymous with Delaway's peony.

To subsection Vaginatae also include 4 types:
1. Tree peony, or shrub (Paeonia × suffruticosa). Cultivated in temperate regions.
2. Peony osta (Paeonia ostii). China - Anhui, Henan.
3. Paeonia qiui *. China - Hennan, Hubei.
4. Peony Rock (Paeonia Rockii). China - Gansu, Henan, Hubei, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Sichuan.

Western researchers also refer to the Moutan section:
• Paeonia cathayana *. Grows in the provinces of Hennan and Hubei.
• Paeonia decomposita. There is another name for it - Sichuan Peony, as it grows in the Chinese province of Sichuan.
• Paeonia jishanensis *. China - Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi.
• Paeonia × yananensis *. China - Shaanxi.
• Paeonia × baokangensis. Grows in China.

* The names of some types of Chinese peonies, marked with an asterisk, retain their Chinese spelling and do not have Russian equivalents.

3. Foreign peony

Peony foreign (Paeonia peregrina) - the best of the forest species of peonies. Leathery, finely dissected, emerald-bright, glowing due to a light silvery coating, the leaves create elegant thick pillows up to half a meter high. Against their background, large, bright pink, up to 10 cm in diameter, flowers seem dazzling, although all their beauty is sometimes difficult to assess due to the drooping shape.

Foreign peony (Paeonia peregrina). © Daderot

Thin-leaved peony (narrow-leaved): growing, reproduction

Narrow-leaved peony (Paeonia tenuifolia) or funnels, azure flower, red lazoricum is a flowering herb of the Peony family, a rare species listed in the Red Book. Under natural conditions, the flower can still be found in the south of Russia: in the Tambov, Voronezh and Belgorod regions. In culture, it has been grown since the end of the 18th century.

As soon as the last snow melts, delicate pink shoots appear from the ground, which very quickly begin to grow, reaching a height of 50 cm. The narrow-leaved peony blooms at a time when many small-bulbous plants and daffodils with tulips have already faded. At this time, the shoots of herbaceous peonies are just beginning to sprout from the ground.

Bushes of narrow-leaved peony have a spherical shape and openwork strongly dissected filamentous leaves. At the tops of the shoots, buds are formed, which turn into not very large (up to 8 cm in diameter), not double flowers of a bright crimson color.

In the middle of the flower there are golden yellow anthers, beautifully in harmony with the color of the petals. The most delicate aroma emanates from the petals, which cannot be compared with any artificially created one.

Blooming lasts several days, during which it is a stunning sight.

There are also known double varieties of narrow-leaved peony (P. tenuifolia Plena, P. tenuifolia Rosea) with oval flowers and anthers, which are hidden between the petals. In these varieties, flowering lasts up to 2.5 weeks. After flowering, a seed box with small black seeds is formed in place of the flower.

Growing and caring for a thin-leaved peony

The narrow-leaved peony grows well under the sun and in partial shade. Loves fertile earth with an alkaline reaction. In the wild, it is often found on calcareous slopes. He does not like acidic soil, does not grow on it for a long time, dies over time.

If the soil is acidic, it is recommended to add a glass of dolomite flour or lime into the planting hole, 2 tbsp. wood ash, mineral fertilizers (superphosphate - 100 g, potassium sulfate - 50 g). This nutrition will be sufficient for several years.

With poor drainage and planting in lowlands during winter thaws or spring floods, the flower can get wet. During spring return frosts, there is a possibility of damage to flower buds. The narrow-leaved peony is quite winter-hardy, therefore it is cultivated without any shelter. It is resistant to many diseases, but it can sometimes be damaged by aphids.

Plant care consists in regular watering, top dressing with carbamide and ammonium nitrate (about 50 g per bush) over spring snow. During flowering, it is fed with mineral fertilizer, and at the beginning of autumn with phosphorus-potassium fertilizer.

By the month of July, the bush becomes an adult and disintegrates. By the end of summer, all of its terrestrial part dies off, new shoots will appear only next spring.


The narrow-leaved peony is propagated by seeds, cuttings or root cuttings.


A good cut is a pair of adventitious roots 1 cm thick, about 5-6 cm long, and with 3-4 developed renewal buds. Such a division has an optimal supply of nutrients, which are sufficient for rooting and primary growth.

It is worth noting that dividing a bush is not only a method of reproduction, but also a rejuvenation of an adult plant.

Planting pits are located at a distance of 60-70 cm. Organic matter is placed at the bottom of the pit. Delenki during planting do not deepen. Renewal buds should be located no more than 5 cm from the ground.


Seeds quickly lose their germination, so they are sown mainly immediately after harvest or in late autumn, but in the latter case they are stored in the refrigerator all summer. Seedlings will appear next spring, but the seeds can germinate in 1-2 years. A good result can be obtained by sowing incompletely ripe seeds.

It is effective to sow seeds in boxes with a nutritious substrate or "before winter" in open ground. With such a planting in the spring, you can get high-quality planting material. But gardeners rarely resort to seed reproduction, since it takes 5-6 years from sowing to flowering plants.

You can propagate by cuttings, but this method is relatively long and not always effective.

In the flower garden, the thin-leaved peony goes well with wormwood, eremurus, perennial flax, and numerous cereals.

This culture is actively used in landscape design. It goes well with cereals, flax, broom bushes. The narrow-leaved peony adorns the alpine slides. Experienced flower growers recommend planting several peonies at once, combining early and late varieties.

Thin-leaved peony is a beautiful plant that is actively used for decorative purposes. To grow a culture, you should strictly follow the recommendations of experienced florists.


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