The tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa ANDREWS) is a slow-growing, deciduous shrubby plant with large, beautiful flowers. The species originated in China, where it has been grown in gardens since ancient times, so becoming an important symbol in its own right in Chinese art and culture.
Peonies probably first arrived at the Alhambra in the mid-19th century. Today they can be found in the High Gardens of the Generalife, the Paseo de las Adelfas (Oleander walkway), the gardens of the Partal Palace and the Carmen de Peñapartida. It normally blooms here in April, although this year has been so warm that it has started already. Given that the climate in Granada is different from that of its native China, the peony requires special care: well-drained soils, regular watering, frequent fertilizing and planting in places where it is protected from both the winter cold and the harsh summer sun. This is why we normally plant it in south-facing beds protected by hedges or under the shade of a tree.
Today peonies can be grown with single, semi-double or double flowers. The petals can be white, pink, red, purple or yellow and the flower normally has a pleasant scent.