The Tree Center

Take 20% Off Entire Order with Code HOLIDAY20

Mr. Ed Peony

Paeonia lactiflora 'Mr. Ed'

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.

How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me

The Mr. Ed Peony is a vigorous plant, and one of the very first peonies to bloom. The very large blooms have a center of many petals in a ball, with a broad bowl of flatter petals surrounding them. The blooms are normally light pink, fading to cream around the edges, but some blooms are pure white. When not in bloom it makes an attractive mound of foliage almost 3 feet tall and wide, and in fall the leaves turn scarlet and orange, before dying. New stems return in spring. Grow this plant in beds with shrubs, or in borders with flowers. Plant it along the bottom of a wall or fence or bordering a path or driveway. The flowers last well when cut.

  • Enormous flowers of many petals on strong stems
  • Richly perfumed, pale pink or white flowers
  • Perfect for gardens or cut flowers
  • Durable and easy to grow for shrubs and borders
  • Grows almost anywhere in the country

The Mr. Ed Peony will grow well in zones 3 to 8, and may grow in zones 2 and 9 in some parts of the country. It should be planted in full sun or with some light partial shade, but deeper shade will reduce flowering. The soil should be rich and well-drained, or any type, and use plenty of organic material when planting and as mulch. Pests and diseases almost never cause problems, and both deer and rabbits don’t eat it.

Plant Hardiness Zones 3-8
Mature Width 2.5-3
Mature Height 2.5-3
Soil Conditions Well-Drained Soil
Sunlight Full Sun to Partial Shade
Drought Tolerance Moderate Drought Tolerance
Zones 3-8

Peonies are wonderful shrub-like plants for all gardens, but especially those in the coldest parts of the country. They die down to the ground in fall, but all summer, after blooming, their attractive leaves perform just like any spring-blooming shrub would, plus they have brilliant fall colors. Late May and early June, when most peonies bloom, is a highlight of gardens in the north. To get the peony season off to a flying start, grow the Mr. Ed Peony. Not only is it among the very first to bloom, its big pink blossoms are a huge hit, and it has the unique ability to give both pink and white flowers on the same plant – a real two-for-one peony special.

The Mr. Ed Peony is a rounded bush, with branches that grow fresh from the ground each year, reaching about 2 ½ feet tall and wide, or a little more. New shoots in spring come from the base, and their red coloring and exotic form – like clenched hands – adds early interest. The new leaves expand rapidly, and they are divided into several large lobes, with broadly serrated edges. The foliage is always attractive though summer and into the fall, making this plant a useful green addition to your beds even when it is not in flower.

By the middle of May you will see the beginning of the blooms, which develop rapidly as the days warm. Each stem ends in a fat bud, and there are also several additional buds that grow below the main one, opening a little later. These help to extend the blooming season to several weeks. Before long the flowers will be fully open, and each one is a large ball of many petals, over 8 inches across. The flowers are of the ‘bomb’ type, and they really are an explosion of beauty, with a mass of smaller petals in the center, surrounded by a bowl of larger petals. Usually the flowers are a beautiful light and clear pink, fading to cream at the outer edges, but Mr. Ed has some tricks up his sleeve. Sometimes this plant produces pure, snow-white flowers instead, and these may have a thin dark-pink edge to some of the petals, so one plant can be a whole bouquet of different flowers.

Speaking of bouquets, once your plant is established, and producing plenty of blooms, you can cut some stems and use them for vases, where they will last a full week indoors. Cut the blossoms just as the petals are starting to unfurl, for the longest life indoors.

Grow the Mr. Ed Peony among shrubs in a border, or among flowering plants – it fits perfectly anywhere. Whatever your garden style, from formal to Asian, this plant is an ideal addition. Grow it alone, or in a group of three in larger beds. Plant a row along a pathway, or at the foot of a wall or fence. It fits into a courtyard garden too, and peonies tolerate urban conditions well.

The Mr. Ed Peony is completely hardy and reliable in zones 3 to 8. In the west it will also grow in zone 9, and even in zone 2, with some mulching over the winter. Wherever you are you can grow this fabulous plant. It is very easy with soil too, growing well in any well-drained soil at all. It does enjoy lots of rich organic material in the soil, and it is not very tolerant of drought, although established plants with deep roots will survive regular summer dry periods just fine. Plant in full sun, or in partial shade, preferably with continuous clear sky overhead. In other words, don’t plant below overhanging trees, but some shadow from buildings or distant trees is fine. Pests and diseases are normally not problems, and peonies are not eaten by deer or rabbits. Choose your planting spot carefully, because peonies are difficult to move. Your plant will take a couple of years to establish itself, but once it does it will grow vigorously into a full bush with many stems, each one topped by blooms. Mulch over the plant in fall with some compost or similar rich organic material and cut back the stems close to the ground once they collapse in late fall. No other care is needed, but you may want to trim spent flowers back to the first leaf, for neatness.

The Mr. Ed Peony is a selected form of the Chinese peony, Paeonia lactiflora. This plant was introduced into western countries a long time ago, and it has been popular ever since. There have been several notable breeders of peonies, and Carl G. Klehm was one of the greatest. His grandfather started a nursery in Arlington Heights, Illinois, in 1852. His father was a founding member of the American Peony Society. His nursery became the largest grower of cut peonies and plants in the country, and in the 1950s his son Carl began peony breeding. He produced many new peony varieties, and the origin of the variety called ‘Mr. Ed’ is very interesting. Carl took a plant of an old French variety called ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’, and treated its seeds with colchicine, a plant extract from a bulb, that causes the number of chromosomes to double. The resulting plant is always larger and more vigorous, and so it was with ‘Mr. Ed’. This fabulous peony was introduced in 1980, and it is always near the top of peony lover’s lists. Order now, because these plants never stay in stock long, and they will soon all be gone.

Back to top

Mr. Ed Peony

Paeonia lactiflora 'Mr. Ed'

Add size/qty