Answer: 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. The brownish portions of the plants indicate a fungal disease. Benomyl or Benlate are labeled for controlling fungal diseases on peonies. If you can correct the growing conditions and eradicate the fungal diseases, your peony should provide lots of lovely blooms in your new garden.
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