Plants - Perennials

Peonies on parade

With careful planning, you can extend your enjoyment of garden peonies for up to seven weeks

Why won't my peonies bloom?
A Canadian Peony Society Checklist

  • Planted too deeply: If the eyes are more than five centimetres underground, lift and replant.
  • Too young, or moved and divided too often: Allow the plant more time to develop; leave in the same spot for at least five years.
  • Large clumps transplantedwithout proper division: Divide and replant.
  • Undernourished: Buds form but don’t develop. Top-dress with compost, away from the crown of the plant.
  • Over-fertilized: Plants have deep green foliage but form no buds. Water thoroughly (about one hour) to wash away excess nitrogen.
  • Too much shade: Plants are tall and lanky; replant in full sun or part shade.
  • Not enough moisture: Water to bottom of roots (established plants will bloom even when severely drought-stressed, although not profusely).
  • Root competition from neighbouring trees or shrubs: Replant outside their neighbours’ root zones.
  • Root system undermined by gophers or moles: Install a wire-mesh barrier around the bed.
  • Buds develop but fail to open: May be waterlogged or damaged by late frost, disease or drought.

[If diseased, remove and dispose of all foliage. During periods of drought, water regularly. If plants are growing in too wet an area, move them to a spot with well-drained soil. Adding winter mulch can also be helpful in preventing damage, although a late frost may be harmful if it occurs after buds have formed. —Eds.]

Top photo: 'Friendship' (week 4 or 5) by Tracy Cox


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