‘Sarah Bernhardt’ Garden Peony


‘Sarah Bernhardt’ Garden Peony

Paeonia lactiflora 36" tall.

Introduced in 1906.

Fragrant flowers open with narrow red lines shot onto light rose-pink. Matures to delicate pink with a slight creamy-silvery edge. Can a pink be both warm and silvery? This one is. One of my favorites with exactly the right amount of doubling—appears richly full but not crammed.

Red shoots appear in spring and form a bushy clump, about 3x3', of lustrous dark green deeply lobed foliage. Fat spherical buds on sturdy stems above the foliage gradually open into large beautiful flowers from late spring to early summer. May take 3-5 years to establish before blooming and resents being disturbed or left in a pot for more than one winter. Wait several years until the plants have many steps (therefore many eyes) before dividing.

Late season blooms. Z3. (bare-root crowns with 3-5 eyes)

733 ‘Sarah Bernhardt’
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L733A: 1 for $9.75
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L733C: 3 for $23.00
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Additional Information

Garden Peonies

Plant 2–3' apart with the eyes (where the growth shoots meet the root) no more than 1–1½" below the surface in well-drained soil, full sun to partial shade.
Peonies are extremely long-lived so amend the soil richly when you plant. Compost, very well-rotted manure, bone meal and azomite are all recommended. After that they need only a bit of weeding and feeding to flourish.
Mature plants often need staking or tying because flowers and buds can be quite heavy. For big plants, I’ve been using a chicken-wire method that Mary Fowler recommended. Cut a flat circle of chicken wire 2 or 3' in diameter and place it on the shoots when they are 8–10" tall. The shoots lift the wire, grow through it and use it for an invisible support.
Remove spent flowers after blooming, then cut dead foliage to near ground level in fall.
Plant along the driveway; a heavy snowbank doesn’t bother them.

Herbaceous Perennial Plants

When you receive your order, open the bags and check the stock. Roots and crowns should be firm and pliable. Generally, a little surface mold is harmless and will not affect the plant’s future performance. If they are slightly dry, add a little water or, if they are going to be planted or potted up soon, wet the roots. If you do not plant or pot them up immediately, store them in a cool (35–40°) location for a short time.

Do not plant bare-root perennial plant crowns directly outdoors before danger of frost has passed. Wet and/or cold conditions for an extended period may cause rotting.

Pot up rootstock using well-drained potting mix in a deep 6" pot or a 1-gallon container. Avoid coiling the roots in under-sized containers.
Grow newly potted perennials for a few weeks in a protected location in indirect light at 50–60°.
Transplant outside once they show some top growth and the danger of frost has passed.

For more info:
About planting bare-root perennials.