This description is for Paeonia lactiflora: The large, vivid flowers of Paeonia lactiflora make it one of the most attractive bushy herbaceous perennials to have in your garden. An early summer bloomer, these blossoms dot dense dark green foliage, which comprises severely divided, smooth, leathery leaves that seem to be five lance-shaped leaflets. Though lush and attractive, the foliage quickly fades once the large, bowl-shaped pink, white or crimson flowers bloom. Some cultivars, like Duchesse de Nemours and Sarah Bernhardt, produce double flowers. Known as the Common Garden Peony, it thrives in humus-rich, moist but well drained soil, and as a tall plant may need support. A superb choice for beds and borders, pruning away dead foliage in autumn encourages growth.