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All You Need to Know About the Peony Meaning

The Peony is a popular flower prized for its graceful beauty and delicate fragrance. The Peony meaning, while varied, is generally of an uplifting and happy nature. That’s why this beautiful flower is often seen in home decor and celebration decor. 

Peony Meaning

History of the Peony Meaning

The Peony originated in China, eventually becoming native to Europe and North America as well. The flower was grown for its use in traditional medicine in China, Japan, and Korea. The roots of the plant were used for convulsions, swelling, and pain. 

In Europe the Peony’s beauty captured the imagination of many Impressionist painters and can be seen in the work of Renoir, Delacroix, and Manet. During the Victorian Era, people were fascinated by the relationship between ant and unfurling of the Peony flower. As a result, the Peony meaning became associated with female purity and chastity. 

During the same time period in North America, the Peony flower meaning was unfortunately much darker. It was believed that bringing the Peony into your home would summon fairies. These fairies would then place a curse on those in the home that would last a lifetime. Thankfully, this association no longer exists and the Peony is a much-loved flower in all of North America. 

Peonies Meaning in Greek Mythology

The Peony is such an extraordinary flower that it appears in two Greek myths. In the first myth, Paeon was the physician to the gods. Paeon created a liquid from the Peony to cure Pluto, which made Paeon’s teacher, Asclepius, jealous. Upon discovering Asclepius’ plot to kill Paeon, Zeus protected Paeon by turning him into a Peony. 

The second myth tells the tale of the nymph Paeonia who caught Apollo’s eye.This angered  Aphrodite who turned Paeonia into a red peony.

Modern Use of the Peony

In China the Peony meaning has been elevated to the official symbol of the entire country. The Peony is used as a symbol for many of the country’s festivals. In China, the name translates to “most beautiful flower”, which may be why the Qing dynasty of the 1900s made the Peony its national flower. The Peony appears in many pieces of home decor and art. 

In North America, the Peony is the official state flower of Indiana. Throughout North America the Peony is a staple in the outdoor garden thanks to its big, showy blooms and easy care needs. As cut flowers, the Peony is often used in home decor and in wedding decorations. 

The Netherlands is the biggest producer of Peonies for the cut flower market. Alaska is also a big producer of Peonies thanks to the country’s many hours of daylight in the spring and summer. 

Peony Flower Meanings

In general, the primary Peony meanings are happiness, romance, honor, prosperity, good fortune, and wealth. 

The Peony is a very popular choice to use in wedding bouquets, either in an arrangement or by themselves. The Peony is also the traditional flower for the 12th wedding anniversary. Alternately, the Peony is often given at graduations, engagements, and to celebrate a new job. 

Peony Flower Meaning By Color

Peony Flower Meaning By Color

In addition to the Peony meanings already discussed, different flower colors have their own separate sentiments. 

White Peonies: White Peonies symbolize shame, shyness, and apology. These are the flowers you give when you want to say “I’m sorry.”

Red Peonies: As is typical of the color red, these Peonies symbolize passion and love. In Chinese culture the color red is considered lucky and joy. Use these flowers to wish someone happiness and good fortune.

Yellow Peonies: New beginnings and a fresh start is what yellow Peonies are known for. These flowers are commonly gifted as arrangements for a housewarming, though they can be given to someone who’s just gone through a breakup.

Pink Peonies: Pink is the color of love for both romantic and non-romantic relationships, making it a popular flower to give on both Mother’s Day and birthdays. Pink is also a common color used in bridal bouquets. 

Peonies are arguably one of the most recognizable flowers in the world thanks to their billowy blooms of delicate petals. They are synonymous with romance, femininity, and the beauty of nature. No matter what color of Peony you choose, these beautiful flowers are sure to be well received.

Peony Meaning FAQ

Do Ants Help the Peony Flower to Open?

While ants do play a role in the blooming of the Peony, it’s how you may think. Instead, the buds secrete a sweet nectar that lures the ants to them as a bribe in exchange for protection. The presence of ants keeps other insects that would feed on the tender buds away. 

How Many Different Varieties of Peonies Are There?

There are over 6500 different varieties of Peony to grow and love.

Is the Peony Flower Considered Toxic to Pets?

Yes, the Peony is toxic to pets and should be kept away from them.

Does the Peony Have Any Medicinal Properties?

Yes, the Peony helps to boost both immunity and mood. 

Are Peonies Long-Lived Plants?

Yes, Peonies are perennial plants that can live up to 100 years if cared for properly.