Carl Van Staalduinen's family have been growing and selling flowers on their North Carolina farm for a while now. Over the past few decades, he’s mastered the specific and slow art of cultivating peony buds, which require long, cold winters. Now, in addition to cut flowers, The Terra Ceia Farms sells and ships whole peony plants for people to grow at home. If you buy older plants from The Terra Ceia Farms, by year two, they’ll look like they’ve been there for a decade. Here are Van Staalduinen’s top nine selections for growing in the South.
This medium-size bloom has been popular for nearly two centuries and is loved for its strong fragrance. Luckily for its fans, it's a prolific bloomer.
With dark green foliage and deep reddish-pink petals, the 'Felix supreme' makes quite the bold statement. Expect it to hold its intense color through maturity. Producing 20 or more flowers per plant, this variety has very sturdy stems with lush foliage.
A favorite for cut flowers, the 'Shirley Temple' has blush petals that fade to white. This variety blooms early, and is very fragrant.
This selection has strong stems, and is considered fairly drought tolerant. While visually stunning, it has no fragrance.
‘Monsieur Jules Elie’
If peonies like the cold, this selection in particular loves it. Giant blooms make for an irresistible cut flower.
Quite elegant, this selection has a golden center wrapped up in deeply hued petals. It's sturdy and late blooming, and is truly a classic that has been around almost 100 years.
A perky, cheery pink variety with a sunny yellow center that blooms in early May. It's quite prolific too, producing 20 or more flowers per plant.
The best bet for Southern gardens, this kind is reliable and unfussy. It's a historic favorite, originating from France in 1851.
Expect fragrant, light-pink blooms later in the season from this heirloom variety, which is another good option for planting in the South.