In the world’s grand parade of perennials, peonies take the stage, boasting lavish blooms and a lush, shrubby herbaceous demeanor that’s hard to overlook.
In the magnificent parade of the world’s perennials, peonies stand tall, draped in luxuriant blooms and donning a lush, shrubby attire that simply can’t be missed.
The red flowering varieties, though, are the real showstoppers. They add a special sparkle to your garden’s garden’s perimeters, plots, or even as cut flowers. This isn’t just about the red’s unbridled power, fiery zest, or the radiant vibrancy of this hue…
It’s the beautifully orchestrated harmony it strikes with the surrounding green, creating an extraordinary spectacle that pairs effortlessly with the Paeonia’s timeless, old world charm.
Scratch beneath the surface and you’ll uncover a treasure trove of blooming peony variants. From petite to grand, with colossal blooms in varying silhouettes, you’re spoilt for choice.
Some have single, some have semi or fully double, others anemone shaped blossoms. Adorned in glossy, silky, or velvet petals, each variant unfurls a unique appeal. With waxy, smooth or even velvet petals, they all have something unique to offer you.
Dive deeper into the color red, and you’ll find it’s not just a color, but a palette of hues often overlooked by the untrained eye… From crimson to ruby, cardinal to cherry, and scarlet, red blooming peonies cover a vast spectrum of tonalities. Whether you prefer early, mid, or late season blooms, these captivating red blooming varieties are are bound to steal your heart.
Keeping in mind these unique nuances, and variations in foliage texture and color, we’ve handpicked a selection of the most breathtaking peonies with red flowers. This is your guided tour to making an informed choice for your green haven!
Let’s explore the enchanting world of red peonies and their blooming times.
Soon, you’ll appreciate how these red-blooming peonies can inject a spark of life and beauty into your flower beds and borders. But before that, let’s delve into what they have in common regarding care and maintenance.
Peony Growing Tips
All peonies, red, yellow, white or pink, require similar care; so, we can see what they all have in common before we look at single and double varieties in scarlet or ruby to grow in your garden.
Pest resistant and healthy, peonies are low maintenance and easy to care shrubby perennials that never disappoint. So, let’s see the best red varieties you can choose from.
12 Red Peony Varieties That Will Set Your Flower Garden Ablaze with Color
And here they are: these are all red flowering varieties, but they all have different personalities, looks, and decorative characteristics to offer you:
And now, without further ado, here they are: these are all red flowering peonies, each boasting its own unique persona, aesthetic appeal, and ornamental features to grace your garden:
1: ‘Buckeye Belle’ Peony (Paeonia officinalis x lactiflora ‘Buckeye Belle’)
‘Buckeye Belle’ is one of the most popular red peony varieties with garners all over the world. Semi double and of the brightest scarlet to fire color you can aver see, the semi double blooms reach about 4 to 5 inches across (10 to 12.5 cm), which makes them very showy indeed.
The petals are velvety as well, adding texture to their vibrant shade, rounded and very harmonious in shape. The crown of pistils in the center is white with a pink blush, with pale cream yellow anthers.
It is also prized for its strong and straight stems, which make it an ideal cut flower. With dark and fairly smooth, almost semi glossy pinnate leaves, it also offers you a contrasting backdrop for its floral display. To top it off, it’s a proud winner of the American Peony Society Gold Medal.
2: ‘Early Scout’ Peony (Paeonia lactifolia ‘Early Scout’)
‘Early Scout’ is a cultivar of early blooming peony with an interesting shade of red! The gently dented petals of the single flowers present a very deep tonality of ruby, almost wine, a very unusual hue to achieve.
Each bloom is about 3 inches in diameter (7.5 cm) and you will see a dense tuft of saffron yellow anthers in the center.
Each blossom will last 7 to 10 days, and this shrubby beauty may start its season a bit earlier than others in the same genus. While it is a fern leaf variety, it is also a hybrid of Paeonia tenuifolia, and it retains its foliage.
The pinnate leaves, in fact, form a dense clump with their elongated leaflets, mid green but with a purplish hint at the margins. It too has won the American Peony Society Gold Medal.
3: ‘Flame’ Peony (Paeonia lactiflora ‘Flame’)
‘Flame’ is a variety of peony with very interesting blossom color; it is on the crimson side, quite bright and with some coral shades in it.
While the shrub is fairly large, the flower heads are quite small, between ½ and 1 inch across (1.2 to 2.5 cm), but lovely and vibrant.
A generous bloomer, it will also show you dark golden yellow pistils at the very center, in a round clump that butterflies love; they last for about a week or 10 days each, and they are soon replaced throughout the season.
Single and cupped, the blooms will appear on top of dense foliage that remains attractive till frost, of a deep green tonality and with clear veins in sight. It is more suitable for borders and beds than as a cut flower.
4: ‘Henry Bockstoce’ Peony (Paeonia officinalis x lactiflora ‘Henry Bockstoce’)
Meet a giant of red peonies: the hybrid cultivar ‘Henry Bockstoce! Yes, because its flowers rally exceed any expectation in therms of size, up to a massive 8 inches across (20 cm)!
But its record breaking characteristics don’t end here… It has fully double blossoms of the deepest and most intense cardinal red ever, globular and with frilled petals – a real spectacle!
And there is even more… The blooms have an intoxicating and strong scent, making this one of the most fragrant varieties of the Paeonia genus! The stems are very strong, and despite the weight and size of the heads, they rarely need stalking, and it is a superb cut flower…
The leaves have broad and pointed mid to dark green leaflets that form very dense clumps, quite large for our shrubby perennials.
5: ‘Coral n’ Gold’ Peony (Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral n’ Gold’)
From dark and double to bright and single: ‘Coral n’ Gold’ peony almost shines with its luminosity! The rounded petals form perfect cups, with their smooth margins and overlapping in a ring, while the tonality is so full of light that it is coral red, but almost pink.
A rare hue to obtain, it is enhanced by the very dense and decorative golden pistils in the center of the blossom.
Large, and reaching 4 to 5 inches across (10 to 12.5 cm), they really glow with their own unique beauty against the mass of deep and dark green foliage.
However, this is a soft stem variety, which is more suitable for garden uses in borders of beds than as a cut flower. In fact, it won the Award of Landscape Merit by the American Peony Society in 2009.
6: ‘Illini Warrior’ Peony (Paeonialactiflora ‘Illini Warrior’)
Let me introduce you to a very deep, even moody variety of red peony, ‘Illini Warrior’. In fact, its flowers have a distinctively dark shade of carmine, and this shady elegance is heightened by the velvety surface, which also gives it a luxurious and lush personality.
The single blooms have perfectly smooth and rounded petals that form well shaped cups of about 4 to 5 inches in diameter (10 to 12 inches across).
The thick ring of bright yellow pistils gives you a luminous contrast, and you can also see the big, pale and bright pink, almost white stamens in the very middle of this magnet for pollinators.
It is also mildly fragrant and the bright green, finely textured foliage completes the elegant but lustrous effect of this cultivar.
7: ‘Red Charm’ Peony (Paeonia lactiflora x officinalis ‘Red Charm’)
‘Red Charm’ must be the holder of the Guinness Book of Record title as the largest flowered variety of Paeonia ever… In fact, its anemone shaped flowers can reach an overwhelming 9 inches across (22 cm).
Of a bright and intense vermillion shade, the central, smaller petals are dented and with a ruffled appearance, while the broad ones on the outside are flat and spread out with their broad sides to frame the whole display!
It has very strong stems that make it ideal as a showy cut flower, and you won’t miss its very strong fragrance as well.
The elongated and soft looking mid or even bright green leaflets that form its dense foliage complete the unique fiery and bouquet personality of this impressive cultivar. Naturally, it is a winner of the Gold Medal by the American Peony Society.
8: ‘Topeka Garnet’ Peony (Paeonia lactiflora ‘Topeka Garnet’)
If you like deep and elegant tonalities, ‘Topeka Garnet’ may be the peony variety you have been looking for.
Its single flowers, in fact, have broad and large, gently frilled petals in garnet, of course, but you may also notice some ruby reflexes. And they are velvety, which gives them a very plush texture and luxurious look, of course.
What its more, they are much bigger than the small central tuft of bright golden yellow pistils, which gives you an effect of lots of intensity and emotion but with a spark of light. About 4 to 5 inches across (10 to 12.5 cm), the single blooms form very open cups that invite lots of pollinators.
The dense and finely textured herbaceous foliage may range from emerald to deep green, and it is quite glossy. This cultivar has won both the Award of Landscape Merit and the Gold Medal by the American Peony Society, in 2009 and 2012 respectively.
9: Fernleaf Peony (Paeonia tenuifolia)
I have a little surprise for you: fernleaf peony, with red blooms, of course! This is not a cultivar but an actual natural species, Paeonia tenuifolia.
The single, deeply cupped flowers are scarlet red and very eye catching, single and with gently dented petals, but broad and welcoming…
The dark yellow tuft of anthers in the middle is quite attractive too, especially for bees and butterflies. It will also start blossoming earlier than other varieties, in mid spring, and each flower head is about 4 inches across (10 cm).
But the big twist cones now… It forms round clumps of needle like, fine, soft looking foliage, blue green in color, that look like fluffy clouds! Native of southeastern Europe, Turkey and the Caucasus, it will certainly impress your for both color and texture in your borders.
10: ‘Burma Ruby’ Peony (Paeonia lactiflora ‘Burma Ruby’)
‘Burma Ruby’ is a red variety of peony with a very special look… It has very glossy, smooth and rounded petals that open from a globe shaped head to form a deep and showy cup, about 4 or 5 inches across (10 to 12.5 cm). But the fact is that they look like oriental poppies rather than peonies.
However, maybe the giveaway is the dense and thick ring of bright golden yellow pistils deep in the blossom that surround the white and bright pink stamens…
The actual shade is fire to ruby, but not very decided, and in fact, you will also spot tonalities of scarlet in it.
Perhaps, it is due to the fact that the blooms are so bright that sunlight gives you interesting reflexes.
The foliage is mid to dark green, but with the first blossoms, it will still have the dark purple blushes it displays when young. This cultivar has won both the Award of Landscape Merit and the Gold Medal by the American Peony Society.
11: ‘America’ Peony (Paeonialactiflora ‘America’)
Regarded as one of the best red cultivars of peony, and simply called ‘America’, this variety could not lack from our list… The single flowers are massive, 7 to 8 inches across (18 to 20 cm), and super showy indeed!
With a gently cupped shape, velvety and lightly waved petals, they put on a great spectacle for two months, each lasting about 10 days.
What is more, they are fragrant as well! But let’s come to the main point, the color! They are scarlet red, with a very intense shade; however, towards the margins you may see blushes of deep magenta, especially if you look at them in bright sunlight…
An ideal cut flower but also impressive in beds and borders, it can give you up to 10 blooms at a time during its season.
The stems are strong, and the foliage deep and dark green, giving you a fascinating visual contrast. It is an old winner of the Gold Medal by the American Peony Society, in fact it won it back in 1992.
12: ‘ChocolateSoldier’ Peony (Paeonialactiflora ‘ChocolateSoldier’)
We conclude with one of the darkest peonies in the world, if not “the” darkest of them all: ‘Chocolate Soldier’! In fact, you will never see a deepest shade of chocolate, almost burgundy red shade than this!
Stunning for its unique tonality, it will contrast it with a thick ring of bright yellow pistils that frame four large stamens, white but with rosy tips!
Butterflies and bees will come galore to visit its blossoms, all through the season. Yet another very attractive characteristics of this cultivar is that the petals are broad, round but and spoon shaped, with a very gentle undulation, small dents and a velvety texture.
This gives you perfect bowls, and each is about 4 to 5 inches across (10 to 12.5 cm). Difficult to beat for elegance and the sense of luxury it provides, the stems are strong and upright, and this makes it a great cut flower.
Red Peonies: All Red But All Different
These 12 peonies are the best varieties that come with red colored blooms; but we also wanted to give you a wide selection of shapes, sizes, petal texture and tonalities. This way. Your choice gets more specific, and the effect you achieve far more professional!
Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers’ markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.