Peony 'Festiva Maxima'

Peony 'Festiva Maxima'

Maximum impact.

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Recognised as one of the best and most fragrant white Peonies on the market, it is sensational. The large, fully double, early season blooms have chance red streaking and grow up to 17cm across.

Peony ‘Festiva Maxima’ was bred over 150 years ago and still holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit. It was bred by Miellez in 1851. It makes great cut flowers and produces so many it is best that the bush be staked.

Why not spoil yourself and enjoy an abundant spring to summer display of intoxicating loveliness. Peonies look exotic and temperamental and yet they are remarkably hardy and grow well in cool to temperate Australian gardens.

The exotic flowers of Peonies have been cherished since the 5th century and during their long and illustrious history, Peonies have been the flower favoured by Emperors and Gods. Fortunately, they are now accessible to the common gardener where they can be enjoyed in climes with cold winters.

Peonies are vigorous, long lasting garden plants that will likely outlive with opulent blooms that make wonderful cut flowers. Once established, you can enjoy up to 50 in a season.

You will have to be patient to enjoy the flowers of Herbaceous Peonies as they establish their roots – they have big blooms to fuel. Mature plants can have a rootball that weighs almost 30kg and stretches up to 90cm. But the wait will be justified for many years to come as they are extremely long lived.

Peonies are heavy feeders, so you need to fertilise them regularly. They like lime, and lot’s of it, so be sure to indulge them. Plant your Peonies just beneath the surface with around 2cm of soil covering them. Too deep and they won’t flower for you.

Peonies need cold winters (3-7C nights at least for around six weeks) for best flowers. As a general rule, if apples can grow in your climate, so can Peonies.

If your climate doesn’t get that cold, but you still want to try your luck, and why wouldn’t you? One option is Tree Peonies as they need a bit less cold. To give them the best chance in warmer climates you should seek out a cool spot to give them the best chance, with shelter from the hot afternoon sun and you should mulch well (but not too close to the tuber it needs to remain shallow). Pop some large blocks of ice around them for a week or so in July. If they aren’t going dormant, to have the winter rest they require, you can force them into it by cutting them back hard in early winter.
Our Tip: for best vase life, pick your Peonies when the buds are supple and squishy, rather than hard to the touch. A light squeeze of their buds is quick and easy to do. Cut the stem so two sets of leaves remain on the plant, then it can continue to grow and prosper, funnelling energy into the root system.

Supplied as: Bare rooted
Size: na



Botantical name

Paeonia lactiflora






Early Season; Spring to Summer


Cool to Mediterranean


Australia wide

Frost hardiness

Fully Hardy


Full Sun to Semi Shade

Supplied as

Bare rooted



Water needs