The Houki Tree Peony produces huge, sweetly fragrant, ruby-red flowers with vivid golden stamens on a perennial shrub in the beginning of May, before herbaceous peonies bloom. Its woody structure provides support for gigantic dinnerplate-sized flowers on a plant that grows from 4-5' tall. After they bloom, tree peonies provide structure to the garden with deep green leaves in summer, and bronze and purple foliage in fall. Native to China and cultivated for millennia, these deer-resistant plants thrive in Zones 4-9. Tree peonies can be grown further north, but they have substantial die-back and behave more like an herbaceous peony, sprouting from the base every year. Tree peonies grow slowly, producing 1-6" of new growth each year, and care should be taken not to prune them back like you would herbaceous peonies. The branches can be brittle—they are often referred to as woody shrubs—so they should be placed in an area with little traffic. Given well-drained soil and dappled sunlight, they will live for generations. Paeonia suffruiticosa 'Houki'