The Q&A Archives: Peonies

Question: I planted my peonies 3 years ago but still i don't get flowers. What seems to be the problem and what shall i do??

Answer: Planting too deeply can keep your peonies from blooming but so can excessive nitrogen (which results in lots of foliage at the expense of flowering). Peonies really resent being moved, so if you moved them within 2-3 years they're probably just sulking. As soon as they're firmly established they'll begin to bloom (possibly this year). For general growing guidelines: Peonies grow from thickened, tuberous roots. They like most soils, but perform best when you first prepare the soil by digging down at least 1 1/2 feet and amending the soil with aged-manure or compost. This will give the roots the rich, loose soil they crave and will result in better top growth and abundant flowers. Plant the roots in the fall, making sure that the buds are no more than about two inches below the soil surface. If you plant them deeper, they may fail to bloom. Add a support stake to the hole while you're planting so you can tie the stems as they grow. (Sometimes the flowers get so heavy they pull the stems down.) Peony clumps should be divided only when absolutely necessary because they resent being disturbed once they become established. Divide in the fall, after the foliage dies down. Peonies require regular summer watering; make sure that the entire rootmass is thoroughly saturated when you water each week. If your plants do not bloom this summer, dig and replant them in late fall. I hope they bloom for you this year!

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