The Q&A Archives: Peony buds dry up and fall off

Question: I have a peony that is very healthy looking but when it gets buds on it, they dry up and fall off. The plant is about 3 years old and only has had 2 small flowers on it. Can you give me any ideas on what I might being doing wrong or how I could correct the situation? I water it well and fertilize every 2 weeks with liquid Miracle Grow. It gets sun most of the day and some shade in the afternoon. Also I have a lot of outdoor potted plants and, by August, they get pretty sick looking. I also fertilize them every 2 weeks with liquid Miracle Grow and pinch them off so they'll stay bushy but they still end up sickly looking. Any suggestions would be helpful to me.


 Peonies are funny birds -- exasperatingly tempermental if given the wrong conditions or planted just a teeny bit improperly but extraordinarily vigorous, floriferous, durable, and long-lived in the right situation.    Insufficient blooms or buds not opening can be caused by several factors:    1) Bud blast, a  physiological  disease caused by dry conditions during formation, a lack of potassium in the soil, root-knot nematodes, or plants being set in the ground a little too deeply ( eyes  set no more than 1-2 inches below the surface).    2) Insufficiently cold winter. Peony lovers who live in the south or west almost always suffer this fate.    3) Or simply too much shade (less than 6 hours per day) or not enough water.    Fertilizing every two weeks is much too much, by the way.    Potted plants always have a hard time dealing with August. The pot gets too hot, the soil too dry, and the plants too large. Try larger pots smaller plant varieties, plants that like shade (where you can grow them out of the sun), or a richer, more moisture-retentive soil mix.

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