Peony Flower Meaning and Symbolism You Should Know

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Peony Flower Origins and Meanings


Peony flowers have long been known for their attractive scent, elegance, and dazzling beauty. They are large in terms of flower heads and so make a striking addition to any garden or flower arrangement.

There are around 20 to 40 species of this plant. They come in all sorts of colors and belong to the genus known as Paeonia. They are native in different parts of the world including Europe, America, and Asia. However, you can find them in gardens across the globe.

Peony Flower Meaning and Symbolism You Should KnowPin

The origin of the name of these flowers is thought to service from a few different sources. One story is that they are named after the physician to the Greek gods, Paeon.

Paeon allegedly healed Pluto with the root of a peony. This made his mentor, Aesculapius jealous and so he tried to murder him. Zeus saved Paeon by turning him into a peony plant.

Another mythical tale about the origins of the peony is that they are named after the nymph Paeonia. Apollo flirted with the nymph and upon realizing this the nymph turned red. Aphrodite was jealous and so turned the nymph into a red peony.


Some of the meanings around the peony are quite different from the origin stories we detailed above. Many people regard them with romantic meaning, thus gifting them to someone is a sign of romance. They are also thought to have meaning for prosperity and compassion.

If you have a full blooming peony bush, then many people think that this means you will have good luck. On the other hand, if your peony flowers fade or dry up then this could mean that disaster is on its way. Likewise, a bush with an odd number of blooming flowers means that bad luck is coming.

The general meaning of them, when given as a gift, for example, is usually positive. They can represent love, friendship, new beginnings, and can even be used to convey an apology.

Some people also give them at weddings to symbolize prosperity and a long, happy marriage. To properly understand the meanings behind peonies, check out what each of the colors symbolizes.

Red Peony Flower Symbolism

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Red is the color of love, romance, and passion. The same can be said for red peonies. These make the perfect substitute for roses if you want something a little more unique for your romantic partner. They make the ideal gift for a date night or Valentine’s Day surprise. Let them know you love them with a bunch of red peonies.

Or better yet, surprise them by planting some in their garden so they get a reminder of your love together every year!

White Peony Flower Symbolism

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Peonies are generally a very positive gift to give someone. White peonies, believe it or not, have a slightly deeper meaning. They are thought to be the ideal flower for expressing shame or sorrow.

With this in mind, if you are apologizing to a friend, perhaps for missing an important anniversary or date, these could make the perfect apology gift.

Although they are white they can be very eye-catching, and some varieties also have colorful centers, such as the Festiva Maxima peonies that have bright red in the petals.

Pink Peony Flower Symbolism

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Pink peonies are actually the symbolic flower of choice for the 12th wedding anniversary! They represent all things romantic, as you may know from the meaning of them we explored at the start.

They represent happy partnerships, honor, and fortune and are a perfect reminder of all the things that make marriage worth it. There are so many different types of pink peony, all in different shades.

Yellow Peony Flower Symbolism

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Yellow peonies are gorgeous flowers to give to someone as a symbol of new beginnings. For example, if your pal is starting a new job or has just moved into a new house, buy them some of these yellow flowers.

They are bright and like sunshine in plant form and are sure to brighten up any day. They come in all shades of yellow and have a deliciously sweet scent. These yellow peonies are also a sign of good luck!

Cultural Meaning of Peony Flowers

The peony is important here in the United States. In fact, it is actually the official flower of the state of Indiana. It often adorns bridal bouquets in Europe and America. However, it is also appreciated around the world.

Peony flowers are also regarded as a special bloom in many countries around the world, not just in Western Culture. They have been used in medicine and holistic treatments for hundreds of years, and have different symbolic meanings in many different cultures.

In China, peonies are very highly coveted. They are called the ‘queen of flowers’ or ‘king of flowers’. Some reports actually suggest that there was a time in history where peonies were regarded as the national flower of China. Nowadays this is the plum tree, but this just shows the esteem to which the flower is held.

In China, they have always been representative of wealth and honor, and as such, they have become associated with royalty in the country. This is perhaps because they were found in the gardens of the Imperial Place during the Sui and Tang dynasty eras.

They also have similar symbolic meanings in Japan where they are thought to symbolize good fortune.

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