Peony ‘Do Tell’ is a stunning variety that stands out in the garden with its anemone-shaped blossoms and award-winning charm. The large flowers captivate onlookers with soft shell pink outer petals that encircle a dense center of deep rose and golden-yellow staminodes. This plant’s beauty and frilly blooms earned it the Gold Medal from the American Peony Society in 2004, as well as the Award of Landscape Merit in 2009, underscoring its superior garden performance.

A vibrant peony blooms in a sun-drenched garden, surrounded by lush green foliage and delicate, fluttering butterflies

I appreciate the resilience and longevity of ‘Do Tell.’ They thrive year after year, often outlasting many other perennials, because they have no real natural enemies and are not demanding in their environmental needs. Cultivated since 1946, their consistent, showy June displays are a testament to their enduring appeal and hardiness in various garden zones. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, incorporating ‘Do Tell’ into the landscape contributes rich color, a gentle fragrance, and an enduring presence to your floral repertoire.

Peony Profile: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Do Tell’

🌷 Introduction to Peonies

I have a particular fondness for the Paeonia lactiflora ‘Do Tell’, a herbaceous peony that’s won the hearts of many gardeners, including mine. This peony variety is a star in the garden with its attractive foliage and stunning blooms.

💥 Essential Care Tips

Grown in lush mounds, ‘Do Tell’ peonies flourish in hardiness zones 3-8, signaling their versatility in various climates found across Europe, Asia, and the USA. As a member of the American Peony Society, I’ve learned that peonies require specific conditions to thrive:

🔆 Light Requirements

They prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade. However, too much shade may reduce flowering.

Soil Preferences:
• Well-drained soil
• Rich and moist
• Slightly acidic to neutral pH is ideal

I’ve found that proper planting is crucial. For instance, the peony graft’s buds should be planted at a depth of no more than 2 inches in northern gardens to ensure the plant emerges after winter.

Regular watering helps peonies establish, but it’s important not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. It’s this balance of care that brings out the full potential of the ‘Do Tell’ peony, a Gold Medal winner noted for its resilience and landscape appeal.

Planting and Care Guide

When planting and caring for the ‘Do Tell’ Peony, the key is to ensure proper location, suitable soil conditions, and regular maintenance. Proper attention to these factors contributes to the health and flowering success of this beautiful peony variety.

Choosing the Right Location

I would select a spot that receives full sun to light afternoon shade. Good air circulation is also important to prevent diseases.

🔆 Light Requirements

Peonies prosper in a location with full sun to part shade, ideally 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.

Soil and Water Requirements

I always make sure the planting location has well-drained, fertile soil. The ‘Do Tell’ Peony prefers moist, but not waterlogged conditions.

🚰 Water Requirements

The soil should be kept medium moist, especially during spring and early summer when the plant is growing actively.

Maintenance and Support

For ‘Do Tell’ Peonies, I find that low maintenance is generally true. However, they occasionally need staking or support when in full bloom to keep the flowers upright.


Fertilize in early spring with a high-phosphorus fertilizer to promote healthy blooms.

Pests and Diseases Management

I’ve observed that ‘Do Tell’ Peonies are virtually pest-free and rabbit resistant. Despite their resilience, it’s vital to watch for peony wilt and honey fungus, the common diseases affecting peonies.

⚠️ A Warning

Ensure good air circulation and practice proper cultivation to prevent these diseases.

Peony Varieties and Their Characteristics

I find peonies to be one of the most captivating perennial flowers with a rich variety in color, form, and fragrance. Whether you are an experienced gardener or a hobbyist, understanding the characteristics of different peony varieties can be instrumental in achieving a vibrant and lush garden.

Popular Types and Their Cultivation

Among the herbaceous peonies, Paeonia lactiflora ‘Do Tell’ stands out for its unique orchid-pink, anemone-shaped flowers. The guard petals are soft shell pink, and the center petals subtly transition to a lighter shade, creating a stunning display. These plants flourish in full sun and well-drained soil, and as they mature, they can reach up to 36 inches in height and spread up to 36 inches. The foliage of ‘Do Tell’ peonies is glossy and emerald green, providing a lush background to the delicate flowers from late spring to early summer.

Cultivating these peonies requires minimal care. They should be planted in an area that receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. A well-prepared site with good organic matter content and proper drainage will ensure healthy growth. It is also essential to provide support for these tall plants, especially when the large flowers are in bloom, to prevent them from drooping to the ground.

Award-Winning Varieties

Several peony varieties have been recognized for their exceptional qualities, and two such accolades include the Gold Medal and the Award of Landscape Merit from the American Peony Society.

The ‘Do Tell’ peony earned the American Peony Society’s Gold Medal in 2004, reflecting its outstanding attributes: striking color contrast and vigorous growth. Another notable accolade, the Award of Landscape Merit, was conferred in 2009, highlighting the variety’s superior landscape qualities.

When choosing award-winning varieties, focusing on attributes like fragrance can also be rewarding. For example, perfumed selections like ‘Diana Parks’, which offers large ruffly, shaggy crimson flowers, can act as both stunning visuals and olfactory delights in a garden setting. My advice is to always check for award accolades as a benchmark for quality when selecting peonies for your garden.

Designing Your Garden with Peonies

Peonies, with their lush foliage and stunning blooms, make an exceptional addition to any garden. In this section, I will guide you through effectively integrating peonies into various garden elements to enhance your outdoor space.

Incorporating Peonies into Garden Beds and Borders

When I plant peonies like ‘Do Tell’ in garden beds and borders, I ensure they are spaced adequately to reach their full size, typically up to 36 inches in height and spread. These perennials thrive in full sun to partial shade and perform well when used to create a border along a walk or driveway. Their impressive size and attractive foliage establish a lush backdrop for other flowers.

Utilizing Peonies as Specimen Plants

Peonies as solitary specimen plants serve as a focal point, drawing the eye with their large, fragrant blooms. ‘Do Tell’ peonies, showcasing delicate pink flowers, emerge in late spring. I suggest spotlighting these beauties in a visible area of the garden, where they can bask in full sun and receive ample admiration.

Peonies in Landscape Design

Peonies contribute to the overall tapestry of a garden’s design throughout the seasons. I prefer to plant them in groups to create a more dramatic effect in spring when they burst into bloom. 🌸 Additionally, their foliage adds value to the landscape in summer and even into fall, when it takes on a golden hue. For a harmonious landscape design, I mix peonies with other low maintenance, long-lived perennials and shrubs that will provide continual interest. This practice not only ensures a succession of blooms but also facilitates a friendly environment for pollinators like butterflies 🐝.

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