Paeonia mlokosewitschii

Paeonia mlokosewitchiiCommonly known as “Molly the Witch” (its specific name is a mouthful, try to pronounce mlock-oh-zih-VITCH-ee-eye three times) this species peony is early to bloom, which in our neck of the woods, means late April through the beginning of May. It emerges with attractive biternate glaucous foliage with a red tint. The single soft yellow chalice blossoms are 3-4″ across and in varying shades of pale lemon through buttery yellow. Plants usually reach a height of 2′, and are an unusual showy accent plant for mid spring.

“Molly the Witch” is native to the Caucasus, and is hardy in zones 6-8 ( some accounts say colder, but we like to err on the safe side). It appreciates a rich, but well drained neutral to slightly acidic soil in a spot that gets a good 4-6 hours of sun or more. Its scarcity in the trade is due to the fact that plants are very slow to increase . This means a limited number of divisions. Propagation from seed is slow. It often takes a year or more from sowing  to germination, and then may take up to 4-5 years from germination to flower.