In the Spotlight- Itoh Peonies

Cary, NC- Cora Louise Itoh Peony Spring is in full bloom at Garden Supply Co. Everywhere you look you'll find lush, beautiful plants and flowers, full of color and vibrancy. And although everything is lovely this time of year, I'm always keeping my eye out for the latest and greatest arrivals to the garden center. This week, what really caught my attention were the Itoh Peonies from Monrovia. These plants definitely make my Top 10 gift-giving list for Mother's Day this year. Here's why.

Considered an old-fashioned flower, peonies have long been a favorite spring-blooming plant, prized for their large showy blossoms, light aromatic fragrance, and lush green foliage. Although reminiscent of Grandmother's garden, peonies remain extremely popular with gardeners today. Those who admire the colorful and exotic flowers of tree peonies, put prefer the perennial growing cycle of its herbaceous counterpart, will love the Itoh peonies. This plant is a cross of an herbaceous peony with a tree peony. The cross combines the best traits of both parents, namely great vigor, large distinctive flowers, strong stems, and long lasting blooms.

Itoh peonies resemble tree peonies with a domed, vigorous growth habit and large double flowers with disease-resistant lacy, dark green foliage. Like herbaceous peonies, the Itoh hybrids are winter dormant providing decades of enjoyment in the garden. Itoh peonies can provide up to 50 blooms in a single season due to their ability to produce primary and secondary buds. They will grow two to three feet tall and wide. They offer an increased color range, greater vigor, and excellent resistance to peony blight.

The Cora Louise Itoh Peony, seen above, has large semi-double flowers that open a pale pink, quickly fading to white with striking dark lavender flares. The blooms have a soft pleasing scent and are a wonderful addition to any spring bouquet. This variety can produce up to 50 blooms in a single season and will grow 24 to 32 inches tall and wide.

Kopper Kettle Itoh Peony

'Kopper Kettle' has large eight-inch, copper-orange, semi-double flowers with a darker center and occasional yellow streaks in the petals to add to the beauty of these blooms. With its distinct flower color and handsome dark green foliage, this brilliant beauty is a showstopper! Hurry, as only a few Kopper Kettles are left in stock.

Yumi (Beauty) Itoh Peony

This large, double flower, measuring seven to eight inches, is spectacular with its masses of clear yellow petals forming a perfect flower with a light and very pleasant fragrance. Blooms are held on strong stems just above a compact mound of dark green, trouble-free foliage. Plant is very hardy and prefers full sun to dappled shade. Excellent dark green foliage, it lasts well into autumn.

Looks absolutely stunning when paired with the double blossoms of this 'Multi Blue' Clematis.

And lastly, we have Keiko (not pictured). The large, semi-double to double flowers measure up to six inches and are held on strong stems above a compact mound of 24 to 30 inches tall and wide, dark green foliage. As the flower matures, the dark lavender pink petals slowly fade to a soft pink, revealing a cluster of yellow stamens in its center. The flower is lightly fragrant. Prefers full sun to dappled shade.

And there you have one of my Top 10 picks for Mother's Day this year. Stop by the garden center and let our friendly experts help you pick the gift Mom is sure to love. See you all soon!