5-Star Plants for Your Flower Garden: Sarah Bernhardt Peony

Sarah Bernhardt Peony - Longfield Gardens

‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peonies are loved by gardeners the world over. This variety has won almost every peony award possible, including the coveted Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. Today, well over a century after it was first introduced, Sarah Bernhardt is still a top ten favorite.

What Makes This Classic Peony So Special

You don’t need to be a peony expert to identify this heirloom beauty. Sarah Bernhardt’s enormous, pale pink buds are distinctively marbled with flecks of red. They open into a bowl of plush, soft pink petals, some with smooth edges and some with frilly ones. As the flowers continue to mature, they open wider and the edges of the petals take on a silvery sheen. Come in close and you’ll find that Sarah Bernhardt is also wonderfully fragrant. It’s a scent you want to bury your nose in. A combination of baby powder and rose petals.

Sarah Bernhardt Peony - Longfield Gardens

With its romantic good looks and great fragrance, it’s no wonder Sarah Bernhardt is in high demand as a wedding flower. Brides often request it by name, so these early summer blooms are a must-have for floral designers and a reliable money-maker for cut flower farmers. Though its flowers are soft and dreamy, Sarah Bernhardt is a vigorous plant, with deep green foliage and strong, sturdy stems. As with other peonies, young plants take a couple of years to settle in. But once established, they bloom reliably for generations.

Sarah Bernhardt Peony - Longfield Gardens

Extend the Peony Season With Sarah Bernhardt

Another reason to love this classic double peony is its bloom time. Sarah Bernhardt’s buds open a week or two after most other varieties. Extending the peony season for as long as possible is always a good thing. If you have room in your garden for several peonies, it makes sense to choose varieties that bloom at different times. Though weather makes it impossible predict exactly when a flower will bloom, you can use this list as a general guide:

EARLY: Buckeye Belle, Coral Charm, Paula Fay, Red Charm, Top Brass, Festiva Maxima

MIDSEASON: Duchess de Nemours, Felix Crousse, Lady Alexandra Duff, Henry Bockstoce, Joker, Sorbet

LATE:  Bowl of Beauty, Felix Supreme, Nick Shaylor, President Roosevelt, Elsa Sass, Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt Peony - Longfield Gardens

We offer peonies for spring planting and ship them from March through May. To see our complete selection (which includes Sarah Bernhardt) click HERE.

To learn more about growing peonies, read: All About Peonies, How to Stretch the Peony Season, 5 Tips for Growing Peonies and How to Grow Peonies in the South.