Intersectional peonies, also known as Itoh peonies, are a relatively new category of peonies that have captured the hearts of gardeners around the world. These unique peonies are a hybrid of tree and herbaceous peonies, combining the best of both worlds. They were first bred in the late 1940s by Toichi Itoh, a Japanese breeder, and later popularized by Richard Andersen, an American breeder who introduced many cultivars, including the beloved 'Bartzella'.
What makes intersectional peonies so special? For one, their foliage is beautiful and often stays healthier than other types of peonies. They also have a longer bloom time and can produce more flowers per stem. However, they do require well-draining soil and can be susceptible to crown rot if planted too deeply.
At Natchez Glen House, we have observed that intersectional peonies tend to spend more energy on creating foliage and branching structure as opposed to flowers, compared to herbaceous peonies. However, this may vary depending on the garden and growing conditions.
Some popular cultivars of intersectional peonies include 'Bartzella', 'Julia Rose', 'Garden Treasure', and 'Cora Louise'. 'Bartzella', in particular, has been a favorite of gardeners for its large, lemon-yellow blooms and strong stems.
Intersectional peonies are relatively low-maintenance and only require basic care. They prefer full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil. They should be planted with the top of the rootball just below the soil surface and watered regularly, especially during dry spells.
Overall, intersectional peonies are a wonderful addition to any garden, offering unique beauty and a long bloom time. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, consider adding these stunning peonies to your collection.