Peonies usually have a sweet scent, but the smell can change depending on the type you grow. Some peonies, for example, will smell more like oranges and lemons than others. You can usually expect a peony to have a smell that is very refreshing and similar to that of a garden rose. Other than that, some peonies have smells identical to citrus fruits. This gives most gardens a light, tropical scent.
Different varieties of these flowers not only have varying degrees of fragrance, but they can also have distinctive aromas. Many people grow peonies outside, which have a strong smell, but they prefer to bring in less strong flowers.
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Factors That Affect The Smell of Peony
The structure of the flower and the plant’s genes both affect how a peony smells. Peonies with more than the average number of flowers, such as those with two petals, are called double-flowered peonies. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a double-flowered peony will always smell stronger than a single-flowered one, no matter what kind of peony you want to grow.
Also, remember that peonies’ smell can change, or at least get stronger, depending on what time of day you smell them. For example, peonies may smell better in the morning than in the evening. This means that pollinators who want to get the most out of the nectar will probably catch the sweet smell of the flowers soon after dawn and rarely later in the day.
The weather can also greatly affect how peonies smell and how strong their scent is. A strong wind will likely spread the plant’s pollen and smell all over your garden. Your peonies might not smell as good on a warm, sunny day with little wind.
When the weather changes, so do the temperature. Some people think the strong sunlight that hits peonies in the early morning helps to make them smell stronger.
People also think that by the end of the day, any oil the flower made might have evaporated in the sun, making it smell less fragrant. This science may be true for many flowers, but the peony is a great example.
Some gardeners’ observations also show that the smell of peonies can be affected by their color. For example, most people agree that a pink or white peony is likely to smell stronger than most others. What you do may be different!
It is hard to figure out how strong and fragrant a plant’s floral bouquet is. Also, people may have different ideas about what makes a peony smell nice and what doesn’t. What we do know for sure is that the peony is one of the flowers with the strongest smell.
When Does Peony Start to Smell?
Peonies don’t smell until after bloom, but they make nectar to attract pollinators a little while before their petals start to smell. Growing and caring for this plant will take a long time. It can take up to three years for a single peony to bloom.
The good news is that if you take good care of your peonies, they can live for decades, even up to 50 years. Some studies say that peonies can live up to a hundred years.
Do Peonies Smell Good to People?
Even though each person’s sense of smell is different, peony is one of the most popular scents from the backyard garden. If you just look around, you can probably find peony-scented sprays and colognes in perfume shops. It has also become very popular in aromatherapy, with companies like L’Occitane making it a top candle scent.
Peony scents you can buy for your skin or spray around your home are often delicately mixed with the scents of other sweet-smelling flowers. For example, a touch of jasmine or lavender may make the scent of peony a little stronger.
As was briefly said, bringing peonies inside can be an art. Peonies with two flowers tend to smell the sweetest, but their scents are very strong. A single-flowered peony will probably smell less strong outside, but putting it in a vase could fill your room(s) with an enticing scent.
This is why many people buy peony-scented (or peony-inspired) products instead of the “real thing” to use inside. Some gardeners even suggest carefully cutting the petals off healthy peonies and scattering them inside to give the room a light scent. Several people agree that, in this case, it is best to leave peony plants growing in the garden.
Even though most peonies have a strong smell, each plant has its unique scent. Let’s look at a few different kinds and talk about how they might smell.
Do Animals Like How Peonies Smell?
Many pollinators like the way peonies smell, especially bees, who can’t resist the extrafloral nectar of a peony. This is a popular plant for pollinators because it smells great and lives up to its promise of having lots of nectar.
Peonies are also great for bringing hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden. Not only do these flowers smell good, but their shapes are also perfect for pollinators to eat. When possible, hummingbirds like flowers that look like tubes, and butterflies like flat flowers that they can land on while feeding. Peonies, fortunately, are neither too big nor too small.
Peonies are usually very popular with garden pests and a wide range of insects. For example, ants and mites are likely to eat it when they come to the garden. If you want to keep these little bugs out of your garden, use a natural repellent or bring birds that eat insects to your yard (such as hummingbirds or woodpeckers).
Highly Fragrant Peony Varieties
Alexander Fleming Peony
The Dr. Alexander Fleming peony is another highly fragrant peony with a unique scent. The flowers are pink with white petals, and the fragrance of this variety is similar to jasmine but with a touch of citrus. This flower can be hard to find in stores, but it’s worth seeking out if you’re looking for something special in your garden scent.
One of the most fragrant peonies, the Festiva Maxima peony, has a fragrance that is citrusy and floral. The petals are bright pink with yellow centers, and the fragrance will be strong in early summer and late autumn. This flower can become quite scarce over time, so if you like its scent, it’s important to buy some when they’re available.
The fragrance of the Seashell peony is delicate and sweet. The petals sit close together on this flower, lending to its perfume. This variety blooms in shades of pink, white, and lavender, making it Perfect for a bride’s bouquet or baby’s room.
Duchesse de Nemours Peonies
The Duchesse de Nemours peony is a flower grown for hundreds of years. It is one of the most beautiful and fluffy flowers of its kind. This flower is a sharp white burst for the eyes, and it smells crisp and fresh, a little like mild jasmine. This peony is very popular because of how it looks and smells and how powerful it looks.