Peonies forum→What is wrong with my peony?

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Name: Anna
Massachusetts (Zone 6b)
Houseplants Bookworm
Whatsmyplant
Jul 8, 2021 6:07 PM CST
Peony didn't really bloom this year. A bud formed and turned smooshy and brown and then fell off. Then, a flower formed a little bit and then all of the petals fell off before it could form a full bloom - plop on the ground.

The leaves look like the photos. It is crowded where it is, but I don't think that's the issue, because it is always crowded. What do you think is going on? Can I save it or can I just pull it out of the ground?
Thumb of 2021-07-09/Whatsmyplant/5c1d30


Thumb of 2021-07-09/Whatsmyplant/2711f4


Thumb of 2021-07-09/Whatsmyplant/075b35


Thumb of 2021-07-09/Whatsmyplant/4e8733


Thumb of 2021-07-09/Whatsmyplant/e92371

Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
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SoCalGardenNut
Jul 8, 2021 9:05 PM CST
Most likely botrytis, I had this happened to me this year.
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Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
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anyagoro
Jul 8, 2021 11:20 PM CST
Anna, How old is your peony? I would not give up on it, just cut the most effected leaves and wait until next year.
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
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SonoveShakespeare
Jul 9, 2021 12:08 AM CST
This reminds me, I have a peony plant that has powdery mildew on it's leaves.

I tend to give my perennials around my back deck a little sprinkle (or as I call it a rain) with the hose after I water and rain my potted annuals on the deck. Would that be the cause of powdery mildew on one of my peony plants???
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Name: Anna
Massachusetts (Zone 6b)
Houseplants Bookworm
Whatsmyplant
Jul 9, 2021 9:55 AM CST
SoCalGardenNut said:Most likely botrytis, I had this happened to me this year.


Thank you so much! It appears to be exactly what it is! Now I know what to do. I am going to cut it back. I sprayed it from above allowing the spores to grow. I had no idea I was supposed to cut them back as well. I am new to gardening.

I am so glad I found this forum. Thank you so much for your help!

Name: Anna
Massachusetts (Zone 6b)
Houseplants Bookworm
Whatsmyplant
Jul 9, 2021 9:56 AM CST
SonoveShakespeare said:This reminds me, I have a peony plant that has powdery mildew on it's leaves.

I tend to give my perennials around my back deck a little sprinkle (or as I call it a rain) with the hose after I water and rain my potted annuals on the deck. Would that be the cause of powdery mildew on one of my peony plants???


It says here not to water the leaves from above, which is what I did!

https://www.gardeningknowhow.c...

Name: Anna
Massachusetts (Zone 6b)
Houseplants Bookworm
Whatsmyplant
Jul 9, 2021 9:58 AM CST
anyagoro said:Anna, How old is your peony? I would not give up on it, just cut the most effected leaves and wait until next year.


Yes, it says here to cut the leaves. All new information for me! Thanks for your help. Smiling

https://www.gardeningknowhow.c...


Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
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SonoveShakespeare
Jul 9, 2021 10:01 AM CST
Whatsmyplant said:

It says here not to water the leaves from above, which is what I did!

https://www.gardeningknowhow.c...


Thank You! Anna.
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Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
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LizinElizabeth
Jul 24, 2021 8:43 AM CST

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I don't think your problem is botrytis, Anna. Look up peony blotch, also called peony measles. It's still a fungal issue like botrytis but not as bad. I don't think your problem with the bud/bloom if from peony blotch though so there could be another issue or it could be weather related. Your post made it sound like this is an established plant, is that correct? Some lactifloras especially don't like it when the temps rise too fast, if you had a hotter than normal spring—or the opposite, a later than normal freeze once buds started to form—I'd expect to see issues with blooming.
Fungal issues can be more prevalent overall when plants are overcrowded and don't get a lot of airflow. Mulch contributes to the problem as does overhead watering and too much fertilizer. You might want to treat the area with a pre-emergent fungicide really early next spring and even something gentle like the milk/water drench once foliage is forming to treat preventatively, once the damage is there you really can't do anything to make it look better but most of the time it doesn't kill the root. I wouldn't ignore a fungal issue though—they're unsightly to begin with but the foliage damage prevents proper photosynthesis so the roots aren't getting fed as well on top of the ugliness. Hope it does much better next spring!
LizB
Name: Anna
Massachusetts (Zone 6b)
Houseplants Bookworm
Whatsmyplant
Jul 25, 2021 9:39 PM CST
LizinElizabeth said:I don't think your problem is botrytis, Anna. Look up peony blotch, also called peony measles. It's still a fungal issue like botrytis but not as bad. I don't think your problem with the bud/bloom if from peony blotch though so there could be another issue or it could be weather related. Your post made it sound like this is an established plant, is that correct? Some lactifloras especially don't like it when the temps rise too fast, if you had a hotter than normal spring—or the opposite, a later than normal freeze once buds started to form—I'd expect to see issues with blooming.
Fungal issues can be more prevalent overall when plants are overcrowded and don't get a lot of airflow. Mulch contributes to the problem as does overhead watering and too much fertilizer. You might want to treat the area with a pre-emergent fungicide really early next spring and even something gentle like the milk/water drench once foliage is forming to treat preventatively, once the damage is there you really can't do anything to make it look better but most of the time it doesn't kill the root. I wouldn't ignore a fungal issue though—they're unsightly to begin with but the foliage damage prevents proper photosynthesis so the roots aren't getting fed as well on top of the ugliness. Hope it does much better next spring!


Thanks for your reply. I have not cut it down. I left it so far because I'm about to dig some daylillies up and don't want to dig up the peony by accident, esp since it seems to have spread or created a new plant, if that is possible. Should I spray it now? I will definitely spray it next year, like you suggested. Smiling

Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 1, 2021 5:21 PM CST

Moderator

It's so late in the season, I wouldn't bother treating them unless you start to have rotting stems and those I'd treat by cutting them back to healthy looking pieces with sterilized cutters. Treating when fungal issues are already wide spread doesn't do much good, the treatments are preventative rather than restorative. This fall cut all herbaceous foliage and stems down to an inch of the ground, I'd wash whatever you use to cut them with a bleach/water soaked cloth between cuts and ABSOLUTELY between plants, try not to let infected foliage touch the ground and dispose of it in the trash, don't compost or keep on site.
LizB
Name: Anna
Massachusetts (Zone 6b)
Houseplants Bookworm
Whatsmyplant
Aug 4, 2021 12:23 PM CST
LizinElizabeth said:It's so late in the season, I wouldn't bother treating them unless you start to have rotting stems and those I'd treat by cutting them back to healthy looking pieces with sterilized cutters. Treating when fungal issues are already wide spread doesn't do much good, the treatments are preventative rather than restorative. This fall cut all herbaceous foliage and stems down to an inch of the ground, I'd wash whatever you use to cut them with a bleach/water soaked cloth between cuts and ABSOLUTELY between plants, try not to let infected foliage touch the ground and dispose of it in the trash, don't compost or keep on site.


Thanks. I like the idea of using bleach. I had been using alcohol. Smiling

Name: Tracey
Midwest (Zone 5a)
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magnolialover
Aug 16, 2021 8:52 AM CST

Moderator

I use alcohol for this as well, either way kills bacteria and spores. Whatever you find easiest and most convenient. I choose alcohol as I have less incidental mishaps with staining my clothing.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Dragonflies Butterflies Bulbs Birds Bee Lover
Annuals Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 17, 2021 3:43 PM CST

Moderator

Could probably use peroxide as well, this last year all 3 were relatively scarce on the store aisles. Sure hope this year doesn't get as bad!
LizB

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