The Q&A Archives: Peonies

Question: I have 4 peonies that I put in 3 years ago. A friend gave me some plants when he thinned his bushes out. the first year after I put them in they did not flower, last year they did, this year they have not and it doesnt look like they have any buds on them. They are in the sun, other than not blooming they look great! Why are they not blooming?

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. 3) Or simply too much shade (less than 6 hours of sunlight per day) or not enough water. The only suggestion I can offer is to make sure your plants are receiving exactly the conditions they require, or adjust as necessary. Once they're happy, they'll bloom for you.

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