The Q&A Archives: feeding

Question: Hello! I have purchased an Alexander Fleming Double Peony plant about 6-8 weeks ago from a local nursery. The plant looks pretty bad now, leaves and branches died, (a had it an a full sun area, as the tag sad) and I hope it will come back in spring.Could you help me what should I do to keep it healthy for next spring flowering? Should I keep it in the original pot and dirt it came in, what kind of fertilizers should I use, any other advise to keep the plant alive and growing. Thank you for all your help you can give me, Klara

Answer: Peonies are generally planted in full sun, but because of your growing area, the summer sunshine might have been too intense for your peony. The first sign of distress will be crispy brown leaves, followed by leaf drop and stem dieback. Try to find an area in your garden that will provide some protection from hot afternoon sunshine.

Peonies don't like to have their roots disturbed, so it's best to transplant it in the fall, after the foliage has died down and the roots are dormant. Typically this is after the first frost of the season. But with your distressed peony, you can probably transplant it now. Be sure to amend the planting site with lots of organic matter so the soil will drain well, yet hold just the right amount of moisture.

After planting, water well to settle the soil. The tops of your plant will die down completely this winter. When it does, cut everything off at ground level. In the spring, new stems and healthy new leaves should emerge. When new growth begins, feed lightly with a 10-20-20 fertilizer.

Best wishes with your peony!

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