Why is my peony not blooming?

8 questions that will help you find the cause (and solution)
for the lack of blooms on your herbaceous peony

  1. Is the plant too young?
    • It may take up to 3 years for a plant to mature and produce blooms.
    • Solution: Be patient.
  2. Is your plant in the right location?
    • Shady spot or too moist soil may harm flowering.
    • Solution: Move the plant to the best location possible with at least 6 hours of sun, in a well-drained, rich, slightly acidic soil.
  3. Are the eyes at the right depth?
    • Depending on your zone, the colder you are, the deeper you plant the red buds (eyes) at the bottom of the plant, from 2 inches in zone 3, to 1 inch in zone 5, to the surface level in zone 7.
    • The soil may have caved in leaving the buds too high, subjected to frost.
    • The buds may have been buried under a layer of new compost.
    • Dried old foliage may have been accumulating on top of the crown, favoring molds.
    • Solution: Replant if necessary.
  4. Do you water sufficiently or too much?
    • Peonies need moderate watering. Too much will create a favorable environment for rot and fungal diseases. Not enough will harden the soil, wilt the foliage and buds may dry up.
    • Solution: Water in the morning to allow between 1 and 2 inches of water. It is better to water well at once, and let the soil dry up, than spray a little every day.
  5. Is the plant too big, malnourished, with rotten or diseased roots?
    • Peonies may sit undisturbed for many many years in the same spot. Sometimes, they may develop too many stems. The soil may become compact or it may not have enough nutrients.
    • Solution: Fertlize adequately. It could also be time to rejuvenate the plant.
  6. Have you fertilized your lawn?
    • Grass fertilizer is high on nitrogen (the first number in the formula) which encourages the foliage and not the blooms.
    • Solution: Fertilize with a better solution lower in nitrogen, such as a blossom booster 10-30-20.
  7. Is the plant taken over by weeds?
    • Grasses and other weeds take all nutrients and water and may compact the soil.
    • Solution: It could be time for a weeding, and eventually to replant or rejuvenate the plant.
  8. Do the foliage or bloom buds show signs of diseases?
    • Peonies are prone to some diseases, the most alarming being peony botrytis blight. The floral buds will dry up and the leaves may be splashed with brown.
    • If the plant develops white mildew later in the season, do not panic because it should not alter the flowering the next season.
    • Solution: Remove the damaged foliage, leaving enough for the plant to still produce photosynthesis. Do not put sick sick leaves in the compost pile. Be sure to clean the plant thoroughly at the end of the Summer.

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1 Comment

  1. GramaRar ( instagram
    October 25, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    WOW your Peonies are fabulous!