Floristry Blog

Peony Flowers Symbolism and Colour Meaning

Peony Flowers Symbolism and Colour Meaning

Posted by Flower Station on 20th May 2022

The radiant peony is a centrepiece in contemporary and classic bouquets. It’s easy to see why – this bloom has a fragile, humble beauty that lets it steal the show without being overbearing.

Peonies are loved for their elegance, alluring fragrance, breathtaking colours, and symbolism. This famed ornamental has long been a favourite flower among florists,  wedding planners, home decorators, gardeners, and flower enthusiasts.

More than simply looking fabulous and standing the test of time, though, the peony is also full of meaning.

History of Peony Flowers

The Peony is an ancient flower and it traces back to 1000 BC. It originated from China and reached Japan by the eighth century. European explorers discovered the beauty of peony flowers and brought them to Europe in the early 1800s.

All along Europe and Asia, the different parts of the peony were thought to have curative abilities. They were used to treat bladder ailments, stomach pains, other internal afflictions, and even night tremors. The Chinese also include the flower petals in their food and drinks to add a unique flavour to their delicacies.

The word “Peony’ originates from the Greek word “Paeon”. In Greek mythology, Paeon was the physician to the Gods who angered his teacher Asclepius after he extracted a milky liquid from the root of a peony that cured Pluto. Because he was outsmarting his teacher, out of jealousy, he threatened to kill Paeon, but Zeus saved him by turning him into a beautiful flower, the peony.

In another myth, the peony is tied to a nymph named Paeonia. Paeonia is beautiful and attracts the attention of Apollo, who begins to flirt with her. When Paeonia realises that Aphrodite is watching them, she becomes bashful and turns bright red. In anger, Aphrodite transforms the nymph into a red peony. This is how the peony came to symbolise bashfulness.

What do peonies symbolise?

Peonies symbolise the feeling of love, honour, and innocence. In China, peony flowers are considered the “king of all flowers” because they were used by the kings. Due to this reason, Peonies also symbolise wealth, elegance, and regality. It is generally used in the celebrations of the Chinese New Year. In Japan, they represent the spirit of bravery and good fortune.

There are even some superstitions surrounding peonies. Some people believe a peony bush that is loaded with flowers is good luck – but once those flowers fade or dry up, you need to brace yourself for disaster. An odd number of flowers is also considered bad luck. Yellow peonies are often given to wish someone luck with a new beginning.

Peonies Colour Meaning

Different colour peonies represent different meanings.

Pink Peonies

Pink peonies are some of the most commonly given. They symbolise good luck and prosperity making them perfect for bouquets and event decorations. The pink peony flower meanings also represent love at first sight. They symbolise the beauty of marriage and are often used in bridal bouquets and wedding decorations.

Red Peonies

Red peonies symbolises passionate love and romance, such as the famed red rose. Red peonies make ideal gifts for wedding anniversaries and long-term romantic relationships. They’re also appropriate as a gift for a romantic partner when you are planning on building a life together and hope for wealth and prosperity. For example, you may be buying a home together or starting a family.

White Peonies

White peonies symbolise purity, innocence, hopefulness, and faith. They are ideal for bridal bouquets or christenings or other spiritual events. White peony flowers also represent honour and commitment to one’s spiritual faith.

When to Give Peonies

The symbolism and beauty of peonies makes them suitable for almost any occasion, and because they come in a wide variety of colours and varieties, there are many options when gifting. They’re ideal to congratulate someone on an achievement or graduation, for a new mom as a symbol of fortune and prosperity, for a romantic partner or to someone getting married as a wish for a long and happy marriage together.

Fun Facts about Peonies

  • Peonies are the Official Flower of the 12th Wedding Anniversary.
  • The peony is the State flower of Indiana, USA.
  • The majority of peony plants in gardens today are hybrids of original true varieties
  • In China, partially cooked petals of peony flowers are used as a dessert. Whereas, fresh peony petals are used in salads.
  • The white peony is one of the oldest remedies in traditional Chinese medicine. Peony root is the part valued in Chinese medicine to treat conditions such as convulsion
  • Peony flowers can live to be 100 years and still produce flowers.
  • The white peony is one of the oldest remedies in traditional Chinese medicine. Peonyroot is the part valued in Chinese medicine to treat conditions such as convulsion
  • The Chinese name for peony is “sho yu” which means “most beautiful.”

Check out our Peony Flowers collection for the most beautiful gift for your loved ones!