- Common Name: Herbaceous Peony, Paeony
- Position: Full sun
- Soil: Well-drained to moist but well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil
- Flowers: June
- Hardiness: Fully hardy
- Habit: Herbaceous perennial
One of the best loved of all garden peonies. Large double flowers of apple blossom pink. The flowers are very sweetly perfumed and this peony is one of the best for cutting.
Sarah Bernhardt is a taller variety of peony often growing to 95cm, so ideal for the back of the border. It may require staking. Flowers are freely produced often to the end of June so it is great for extending the flowering season.
Always a favourite!
Who was Sarah Bernhardt?
The Sarah Bernhardt peony was introduced in 1906 by the French breeder Monsieur Lemoine and named after Sarah Bernhardt, a French actress - some say the most famous actress the world has ever known.
She had a famous coffin in which she often slept instead of a bed, as she reckoned it helped her understand her many tragic roles. Whilst performing in la Toscana in 1905 she jumped off a parapet and injured her knee which led to her leg being amputated. The saying "doing a Sarah Bernhardt" refers to having a melodramatic moment, a tribute to Sarah's extraordinary talent for tragic drama.
One thing we do know for sure, is that Sarah's namesake, just like the icon herself, is a beauty of a peony and one of our most popular blooms!
Paeonia lactiflora 'Sarah Bernhardt'
How to plant and care for peonies
If you have never grown a peony before, or just need a few tips or reminders, read our care guide here!