The Itoh Peony

Gardeners Resources

When only the very best will do!

We are so excited about these amazing plants.  They are herbaceous, so they die back to the ground every year, their foliage looks similar to a tree peony but the flowers, oh the flowers.  They are similar to those of tree peonies with ENORMOUS single, semi-double and double forms in a variety of stunning colours that can reach 20cm (+7″) across and a mature plant can produce up to 50 blooms each season.  While ordinary garden peonies only bloom for a very short time, the Itoh will bloom for weeks and many will produce secondary blooms further down the stems.  They have also inherited the tree peony’s strong stems so no bending over in wind and rain… no staking required.
I could rave on but you just have to see them for yourself.  I have my favourites but there’s an Itoh out there for everyone!
Obviously peonies with these characteristics have great ornamental value; in the 1990’s ‘Bartzella’, an improved yellow form of the original hybrids, was selling for more than $1000.00 for a single division!  But thanks to recent developments in tissue culture, the Itoh hybrids are being made available at much more reasonable prices today.
Easy to grow and remarkable in beauty, an Itoh peony makes a perfect addition to any garden.  It also makes a beautiful and meaningful gift.  We’re happy to report that these beauties are now available at your local garden centre.

Out of the west …
Available for shipping to your local garden centre:  ‘Callie’s Memory’, ‘Cora Louise’, ‘First Arrival’, ‘Hillary’, ‘Julia Rose’, ‘Lollipop’, ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, ‘Pastel Splendor’, ‘Pink Double Dandy’, ‘Raggedy Ann’, ‘Smith Family Yellow’, ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ and ‘Yellow Doodle Dandy’

The BC nursery sells/ships in Canada – the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and in the USA – the Pacific Northwest and the Western Mountain States.

Out of the East …
Available for shipping to your local garden centre is:  ‘Bartzella’, ‘Cora Louise’, ‘First Arrival’, ‘Going Bananas’, ‘Julia Rose’, ‘Kopper Kettle’, ‘Lollipop’, ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, ‘Morning Lilac’, ‘Sequestered Sunshine’, ‘Singing in the Rain’, ‘Smith Family Yellow’ and ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’

The Ontario nursery sells/ships in Canada – the province of Ontario and other provinces to the east (under special conditions), open to garden centres and in the USA – the Northeast and Great Lakes Region.

All you ever wanted to know about the Itoh Peony … Additional information for plant geeks!

Back in the early 1900’s lived a man who tried to accomplish the impossible.  It was generally believed that crossing the beauty of the tree peony with the hardiness of the shrub peony was not possible since the two came from very different parentages.   But Dr. Toichi Itoh took it upon himself to make the impossible possible and made the quest for such a cross his life’s work.   Finally in 1948, after failing 20,000 times, Dr. Itoh succeeded in creating the first ever cross between P. x lemoinei, a hybrid tree peony, with P. lactiflora ‘Kakoden’, a white flowering herbaceous peony which was used as the seed parent.  The results of this first cross were 36 seedlings, some of which had the dominant characteristics of the tree peony and became the first “Inter-sectional” hybrids, named so because of the cross between section Moutan (tree peonies) and section Paeon (herbaceous peonies).

In 1964 Dr. Itoh’s first crosses came into bloom.  Unfortunately Dr. Itoh passed away in 1956, 8 years prior to the first blooms appearing.  He never saw the results of his years of work.

Of the original 36 there were 6 that were considered to be outstanding.  They became the first herbaceous peonies to have deep yellow, double yellow flowers.  In the late 1960’s an American horticulturist discovered Itoh’s work and arranged to bring some of them back to the United States where he had 4 of the hybrids patented:  ‘Yellow Crown’, ‘Yellow Dream’, ‘Yellow Heaven’, and ‘Yellow Emperor’.  Continued work on these original varieties has produced some amazing results.  Click here for some of the beautiful Itoh Paeonia listed on our website …