The Q&A Archives: Sick Peony

Question: I have beautiful peonies but for some reason one of the plants this year came up extremely spindly....only three shoots and as of today only about 3" high. Should I try nursing it along or do you think it is hopeless? Thank you for your response.

Answer: The symptoms you describe are usually associated with a soil problem, such as insufficient nutrients. Since peonies prefer a deep rich soil, you might try a generous top dressing of compost or well-rotted manure this fall and again early next spring. In you might also apply a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 according to the package instructions.

If it still doesn't respond you might dig the plant and examine the rootmass to see if anything unusual may have happened to it, as well as checking for signs of disease. In any case, be sure to remove and destroy all of the spent stems and leaves after the hard frost knocks them down this fall. Good luck with your peony!

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