Paeonia 'Cora Louise'
Common Name: peony 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Paeoniaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White with magenta-purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer

Culture

Easily grown in rich, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Add compost as needed before planting. Remove spent flowers after bloom. Cut foliage to the ground and remove from the garden in fall after frost. Plants are long-lived, but do not need to be divided and can be left undisturbed for years.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Paeonia is a genus of about 30 species of herbaceous perennials and subshrubs from Europe to Asia and in Western North America. Hebaceous types die to the ground each year where the subshrub (tree peonies) have woody stems.

Itoh peonies (sometimes called intersectional peonies) are a hybrid cross between tree peony (P. lemoinei) and garden peony (P. lactiflora). This cross was first achieved by Toihi Itoh in 1948. Itoh peonies combine the large and showy flowers of tree peonies with the herbaceous stems and growing habits of garden peonies. Deep green foliage is divided into lance-shaped segments. Foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season. Plants die back to the ground after fall frost.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for Paeon, physician of the gods and reputed discoverer of the medicinal properties of plants in this genus.

'Cora Louise' is an Itoh peony selection that features large, lightly fragrant, semi-double flowers held on sturdy stems. Mature plants will reach around 2.5' tall and spread to fill a 3' area. The 8" wide blooms are white with splashes of deep magenta-purple at their centers. This is a mid-season peony and blooms from late spring into early summer.

Problems

Peonies are considered to be relatively pest free. Botrytis blight and phytopthora blight are sometimes problems. Ants on peony buds are common and totally harmless. If plants do not flower, possible causes include: (1) planted too deep or too shallow, (2) planted in too much shade, (3) late frost killed flower buds or (4) plant is too young or has been recently moved or disturbed. Large blooms may need staking or other support because they tend to arch toward the ground in the best of weather but can be literally driven into the ground by a hard rain. Staking is less of a concern with Itoh peonies which have stronger stems than garden peonies. Deer and rabbits tend to avoid this plant.

Uses

Peonies are a standard of the perennial border, both as specimens and in groups. Also effective as accents or herbaceous hedges along fences, sidewalks, driveways or walls. Flowers are extremely showy, and foliage remains attractive from spring to fall either alone or as a frame or backdrop for other perennials. Excellent cut flower.