Why Do Some Peonies Smell Bad

One day I came face to face with an ant. Surprise! I knelt down to smell a luscious, fluffy peony. Fortunately for us both, I wasn’t smelling to my absolute limit.

All peonies are aromatic, according to Harvey Buchite of Hidden Springs Flower Farm, and the majority of them smell like roses, water lilies, or citrus. Depending on temperature, humidity, and even the age of the flower, its scent might alter during the day. The scent of the peony also dissipates along with the volatile essential oil.

William Cullina attributes this enigmatic smell to “simply our Pavlovian response to ethylene” in his book Understanding Perennials. All pleasant, intoxicating floral smells include ethylene, which when inhaled “produces a mild, delightful high.”

The exception may be certain solitary or semi-double flowers that smell like raw chicken left in a hot car. Although these peony forms seem stunning in the outdoors, they are not flowers that belong in a crystal vase.

Amazingly long-living plants, herbaceous peonies have been divided and shared by gardeners for millennia. The most common garden plant in America at the end of the 19th century was a hybrid with pastel and white double flowers. The blossom’s astounding size was also a disadvantage, as the first severe rain filled their petals with water and caused them to become so heavy that they flopped down and did not stand up again.

Professor of Chemistry at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, A.P. Saunders created hybrids with stronger stems and jewel-like colors. He included tree peonies into his pieces and was successful in creating rich, bold hues like Argosy, a vivid yellow, and the amazing black-red Black Panther. They are still available for purchase.

I purchased a tree peony with deep crimson blossoms a couple years ago. I was taken aback when these vibrantly colored flowers were followed by more delicate, gentle pink peonies. A BOGO was mine!

It turns out that getting two tree peony for the price of one isn’t such a deal. The majority of tree peonies are grafts that are grown on a herbaceous peony’s root. The tree peony will be “nursed during its first few seasons” by the herbaceous root. The nurse, however, has the potential to drain nutrients from the tree peony if it starts to grow on its own.

My issue can be resolved, according to the professionals at Martin’s Nursery on the Birmingham Pike and Tree Peony Garden in Centre Hall, by consistently removing any herbaceous leaves.

When growing peonies, powdery mildew must be taken into account. Don’t immediately schedule a funeral if you wake up one morning to find a white powder covering the leaves of your peony. Peonies are not killed by powdery mildew, and tree peonies are rarely attacked by it. But once you have it, you are obligated to keep it.

Next year, you have a variety of preventative options at your disposal, including neem oil, rhubarb tea, and biofungicides.

Potassium bicarbonate is advised to be taken every seven to ten days, according to the cooperative extension office in New Jersey.


Hyacinth blooms, which bloom in dense clusters, have an extremely fragrant scent that is earthy, sweet, and powerful. They are a favorite of both florists and gardeners and come in a variety of colors, including purple, pink, lavender, and white. As the hyacinth blossoms, its perfume intensifies and becomes more seductive.


Many people relate the delicious aroma of freesias to that of fresh strawberries. They are among the most well-liked flowers in the entire globe because to their delicate, multicolored petals and lovely, airy aroma. Freesia fragrance is frequently used in soaps, lotions, shampoos, and perfumes. Freesia’s sophisticated scent complements other, flashier flowers like peonies and roses. Anyone would be surprised with a sweet and fragrant bouquet if it contained freesias.


When seeking for a flower with a beautiful scent, roses are frequently the first choice because of their deep, opulent fragrance. But there are numerous fragrances that roses can have. Red and pink roses in particular have a richer, more perfume-like aroma that many people are accustomed to. However, roses with lighter hues can smell more delicious and lemony. Since ancient times, people have loved and cherished roses, which were highly prized for their exquisite and enticing blooms. It was believed that the seductive scent of roses helped people unwind and focus.


Peonies have a fresh, sweet perfume that can fill a space in addition to being a lush, stunning flower with calming, lovely colors. Peonies come in a variety of scents, from sweet and rose to lemony, some of which are stronger than others depending on the kind. The most fragrant peonies are usually the double, white, and pink varieties.

Sweet Pea

Sweet Peas are another flower with a perfume that is frequently used in lotions and other bath products. The exquisite Sweet Pea exudes grace and elegance with its paper-thin petals that come in shades of white, pink, and purple. Sweet peas blend well with other fragrant blossoms because their perfume is not overbearing.


One of the strongest-smelling flowers in existence is the lily. These enormous, striking flowers are ideal for any occasion and available in a variety of hues. The potency of a lily’s perfume varies depending on the kind. Lilies with the strongest scents are Starfighter lilies, while Sonata lilies have a more mild, delicate perfume.


The herb known as lavender has lovely clusters of purple flowers and a calming, calming, and pleasant aroma. Lavender aroma has been utilized for generations in oils, scented waters, soaps, and perfumes.

As in the case of our Peony Paradise bouquet, an arrangement of several fragrant flowers is not only a stunning sight to behold but also a satisfying and overwhelming delight to smell. A present like this will make the receiver feel extra special if it includes roses, lilies, and peonies.

Do all types of peony smell?

Peony flowers offer a brilliant burst of color to the environment and are beloved by most gardeners for the beauty of their magnificent petals and their bold foliage that changes colours with the seasons. One of nature’s most beautiful perennials, they are practically careless once established, produce some of the nicest cut flowers, are deer resistant, and survive for years.

Furthermore, Mother Nature has been extraordinarily kind to the Paeonia species, as many of the peonies are also beautifully scented, which adds even another benefit to your enjoyment of cultivating this wonderful garden perennial!

  • Peonies have a variety of scents, from pink and sweet to lemony and peppery.
  • Some peonies have strong scents that can be enjoyed at a typical viewing distance, while others have milder scents that need to be smelled closer to the flower to be appreciated. These mildly scented peonies might be used better inside, where their scent won’t be overpowering.
  • The age of the flower, temperature, and humidity can all have an impact on how the smell changes throughout the day. Early in the morning, when the sun first warms the blossoms, they are frequently at their most fragrant; later, when the day heats up, they may become just moderately fragrant or even completely unnoticeably fragrant as the flower’s volatile essential oils evaporate.
  • The majority of single and red peonies lack aroma, with a few outliers, whereas double, white, and pink peonies typically have the strongest fragrance.

Here are some fragrant peonies that are great for cutting and bringing within, as well as being the star of your spring garden.

What scent do peonies have?

Peonies actually have a mild, clean perfume that is gently fragrant and fresh without being overwhelming, cloying, or hiding an unmistakable odor of decay.

How are peonies revitalized?

You’re hosting a dinner party and have purchased or cut a number of peonies that are still in the bud stage. What do you do when the buds haven’t bloomed the day before your party? Trim the stems and place them immediately into warm water to hasten the process. Place the flowers in a warm area with direct sunlight, vase and all, and check on them occasionally. You can move them to the desired location after they begin to open.

With our suggestions, you can put off wilting flowers as long as you can. These five suggestions should each help your cut peonies thrive for a few extra days. Additionally, if you want them to endure even longer, plant peonies in your garden this year so you may take advantage of them all season long!

What flower is infamous for its foul smell?

The titan arum, the first of two flowers on this list known as corpse flowers, holds the terrible title of “the worst-smelling flower in the world.” You guessed it—it smells like a foul, decaying corpse.

Why do some flowers have a foul odor?

Even the most beautiful flowers can have germs. Over time, when stems are left unattended in water with a foul odor, bacteria begin to accumulate.

Which peony is the most common?

It is challenging to select a favorite peony. There are some instantly identifiable powerhouse names, such as Sarah Bernhardt and Kansas, that send shivers down your spine as you anticipate their time-tested beauty. However, learning about the beauty of less well-known kinds like Moonstone and Jacorma will leave you speechless and yearning of the day you can touch them in your hands once more.

Most Requested, Instantly Recognizable and Supremely Reliable

  • This peony probably needs no introduction at all because she is well-known and adored all throughout the world. Her name is Sarah Bernhardt. Since 1906 (Lemoine), Sarah Bernhardt has been a beloved peony and one of the most trustworthy cut flowers available. She is dependable in the field and has a long vase life. Even after drying, this peony still works well and keeps its distinctive pink hue. Her dependability and capacity for success in a range of contexts make her a favorite among florists. The beloved pink peony of your grandmother has quite large, light to medium pink blooms that are gently fragrant. *Tip Continue reading to discover the BONUS DISCOUNT CODE for our online store’s most popular peony, Sarah Bernhardt!

Secondly, Duchesse de Nemours The Duchesse de Nemours, known as the “Queen of White Peonies,” provides a bloom form and smell to which all other white peonies are held in comparison. The enormous, creamy white guard petals and distinctive aroma, which is reminiscent of excellent perfume, are possibly the most adored characteristics. Buttermilk yellow light emanates from the base of the inner, ruffled petals of the double, globe-shaped flowers, which are creamy white overall. tight, little buds that flower swiftly and have an opening diameter of 4-6 inches. This heirloom cultivar has a large, extraordinarily fragrant bloom and is more than 150 years old.

Kansas 3. The American Home Achievement Medal and the American Peony Society Gold Medal were given to Kansas in 1942 and 1957, respectively, after it made its triumphant debut in 1940. Due to its brilliant and effervescent brilliance, Kansas has been regarded to as the crown jewel of peonies and is frequently featured in pictures. Because it lasts a long time in vases, floral designers enjoy it, and many people adore it for its vibrant color. Large, double rose-shaped blooms with a deep fuchsia hue that ranges from raspberry to watermelon are a popular choice for adding a strong punch of color to arrangements. The Kansas bud harvest stage differs noticeably from other stages. It requires a skilled farmer’s touch to time the harvest correctly because it must be cut at a much softer stage than most other types for it to fully blossom in the vase.

Festiva Maxima 4. Since 1851, both amateur gardeners and commercial producers have favored this well-known white peony because it sets the bar for perfection. This flamboyant variety has endured the test of time for good reason; it possesses all the qualities we look for in a peony, including fluffy, fragrant blossoms with long stems that linger both in the yard and in vases. A huge, loosely formed, all-white bloom that is totally double and fully developed, with a few red flecks on some inner petal tips. The enormous, tightly packed buds swiftly expand to an average diameter of 6 to 9 inches and have a potent, enduring aroma. A rare gift loved by a select few, a trace of blush in some blossoms is not unusual in chilly growing areas!

Red Charm 5. The benchmark red peony used to compare all other red peonies. Red Charm is a bomb-shaped bloom with large guard petals encircling a soft ball of ruffled petals at its center. Its color is frequently characterized as a deep crimson or merlot. Red Charm, which Glasscock first released in 1944, received the Gold Medal from the American Peony Society in 1956. It is challenging to surpass “Red Charm” for the field, vase, and exhibition because this peony is well recognized and adored all over the world.

Lesser Known Gems That You Won’t Forget

First Jacorma This huge bloom has many ruffled petals and a dark pink color that does not deteriorate with age. It also has a subtle, alluring aroma. a late-bloomer with a massive bud that opens into a massive bloom. Born in the Netherlands, the name is an acronym for the DeVroomen family’s Dutch names Jan, Cor, and Marie.

Marie Lemoine, 2. A stunning white peony with stamens tucked inside the petals giving off a honey golden light. A delicate, agreeable scent to go with the huge bloom on the strong, sturdy stem. On occasion, the inner petals’ edges will develop a delicate scarlet edge. This cultivar resembles a very huge Duchesse de Nemours when in bud form. An excellent late-season bloomer that was worth the wait. By Calot, in 1869, Marie Lemoine was created in France.

3. My Heart

When brides and floral designers think of blush peonies, they picture this treasure. My Love originally hit the market in 1992, and ever since then, it has been hailed as a brilliant debut. Many people have described this flower as having a mother-of-pearl flush when it first opens, fading over time to become completely white. Elegant long stems and lustrous green leaves make it a good choice for arrangements and large-scale constructions. The big, full flowers emit a delicate scent. My Love is a lovely, passionate flower.

Paul M. Wild 4.

This large, totally double, ruby red peony has silky blossoms, keeps its color for the duration of the vase life, and has a wonderful smell. Although it is a deep red, the overall hue is more raspberry than burgundy. The totally double bloom and smooth, tulip-shaped bud of Paul M Wild make it a very appealing addition to your garden and vase.

Pecher 5.

The most fragrant varieties of double form peonies typically come from Pecher, who doesn’t let you down. One of the most fragrant and enjoyable peony a grower will ever have the pleasure of experiencing is this one. When left to flower on the bush, the bloom, which is sometimes characterized as light pink or blush, gradually fades to a near-white color as it ages. The inner petals of Pecher occasionally have exquisite brilliant pink speckling. Under the countless layers of delicate petals, semi-double seed pods with pink tips can be seen. This type is a wonderful addition to the collection of any peony aficionado because of the huge color range brought on by several bloom stages, the unique smell, and the lengthy flowering season. It is not unusual for Pecher to have flowers from early to late in the traditional peony bloom season.

On the basis of attractiveness alone, it is impossible to choose a preferred peony variety. However, by taking into account a few elements like the planting location, the growth environment, the characteristics that are most desirable to the grower, and the intended purpose of the peony flower, we may reduce the number of possibilities. Our farmers are ready to assist you choose the best variety to suit your needs, whether you desire a special variety in a striking color that might only last a few days or a robust standard that can withstand a variety of summer weather conditions.

Use the discount code THEPEONYJOURNAL in our online store to receive a 20% discount on Sarah Bernhardt peonies shipped all season long—this offer is only available to readers of The Peony Journal!