Peonies forum: Goners?

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Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Apr 4, 2018 9:13 AM CST
Four of my peonies are not up yet, hope I am just over nervous, but I don't think so. Coral n gold and Joker are pretty new, not bloomed before so I was really looking forward to seeing them. They were up last year by this time, even had buds, but we had a weird year last year for peonies. A couple of mature peonies did not bloom, and the other ones did not bloom well. Lavon was just planted last fall, so maybe it will yet show up? Another new one, Magical Mystery at our, is another possibile loss, but I have decided I did not label it and am watching the plant I am almost positive it is. I divided an old Sarah Bernhardt last fall and planted in several places so causes my confusion, but the leaves on this plant are different. It has a couple of nice big buds, so won't have long to wait. Oh. And Blonde vision, but that one is my fault from last summer. Anyway, I don't think I have ever lost a peony before. I don't see signs of digging or anything, so trying to think why this would happen. We have had a ton of rain, but that is spring for you. Never killed any before, they are not sitting in puddles and a couple others nearby are fine.
Any thoughts anyone?
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Apr 4, 2018 9:23 AM CST
It has been rather cool so far this spring. I am not seeing much activity with my peonies either.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Apr 4, 2018 11:04 AM CST
Our temp dropped from 74 yesterday afternoon to 33 this morning. Don't worry about peonies' slow growth this Spring. I expect many freezing nights until early May.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Apr 4, 2018 11:37 AM CST
Holy Cow, Jerry. That is one huge change in one evening. I didn't think Illinois was that volatile.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Apr 4, 2018 2:47 PM CST
Here we say if you don't like the weather today, just wait until tomorrow when it changes.
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Apr 4, 2018 3:19 PM CST
They say that here in Kentucky too🤣 it was 32 here this morning, and 71 yesterday before that nasty storm last night bringing in the cold front. Tornado touched down just north of us. No peonies in bloom, but some still look a bit droopy today. Ah, spring.
I probably should be more patient, hopefully they will all spring up soon
Last year Coral n Gold and Joker were quite a nice size, I think would have bloomed if not for the odd weather, and still looked good in the fall.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 4, 2018 8:02 PM CST
I would not give up just yet. We have not had the heat we normally get by this time of the year.
I would keep track of the dates when the emerge to use as a comparison from year to year.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Apr 5, 2018 8:21 AM CST
It has been very off and on type of year. January was exceptionally warm. Then cold for a month. March was mostly cooler than normal when I think about it, only by a few degrees, but I guess that will do it.
I do keep records of when they bloom, but will definitely add emerge dates to keep me from panicing so much next year

MTruss3
Apr 7, 2018 6:27 AM CST
We had a little snow this morning and it will continue until after lunch. The temperatures are supposed to drop into the 20s after the snow. We packed the peonies with pine straw but do we need to cover them after the snow fall when the temperatures drop down?
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 7, 2018 7:14 AM CST
Welcome! M Truss,
How far up are your Peonies? Are they leafed out with buds? What zone are you in? Are these just Peonies in your garden beds, or rows of Peonies?

My early season Peonies are leafed out with buds. They will suffer the most damage and may not bloom. I am going to cover them as best as I can. I have some frost blankets that I will use, 5 gallon buckets, etc. My peonies are in garden beds.

LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Apr 7, 2018 5:11 PM CST
If they're short enough to be covered with pine straw they should be fine. Once they leaf out and the stems get taller some varieties can be damaged but most take some snow and 30s temps just fine. Temps in the 20s or below damage more, the further developed the buds are the better chance of damage. I had several Itohs that typically bloom well not even develop buds last year, think because of a very cold blizzard in May. Thankfully the damage doesn't kill the plant, damage is typically only for the current growing season....
LizB
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Apr 7, 2018 7:33 PM CST
I have been out covering them the best I could. They are all in garden beds. A few are their full height and large buds, but they are in all stages. I covered the ones I especially wanted to see bloom, the new or newer ones. Many of my true lilies are up as much as 10 or 12 inches, I tried to get as many as I could covered, but was running out of stuff to cover them with. The sun came out late this afternoon and it seemed to warm up a bit. Hoping that might keep it from getting quite so cold.
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Apr 8, 2018 6:34 PM CST
Luckily, we've not had any snow since the peonies started growing. I covered some of my peonies in the garden when we had temps in the 20's, but many others weren't covered, and they've done fine.

I did get some damaged leaves and buds on my potted peonies that were covered, but overall, the plants are also fine.

alilyfan, I would gently check the soil around where you planted your peonies. Sometimes they'll wind up deeper than you planted them, and they just need some of the soil moved from over them.

Last year, my Buckeye Bell and one of my Kansas were a no show, and this year, they're up and doing well with buds. My Command Performance buds were also damaged, and the plant didn't put up good stems. This year it is doing well with 3 stems with buds.

Welcome MTruss3, and I hope that your peonies are okay. I'm steadily learning that peonies can take much colder temps that I expected. I agree with Liz, I've used pine straw as a cover over the years, and the plants were fine.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
May 3, 2018 7:35 PM CST
Well, I finally got tired of waiting, although I had missed one no show. I had not missed it til it started growing Monday. I found another that barely came up, it is a late one, but it will not bloom this year, just a few inches tall. just dug up coral sunset-i don't think I had missed that one either 3 weeks ago when I first started this thread. Coral Sunset has been here at least 6 years, blooming 5 years. The roots were rotted, all except just a bit. I cut off all the rot, seems like a bit is still alive, but no sign of an eye. Did not really know what to do, so just let it dry a bit and replanted it. I dug up Joker an Coral n Gold, rotten also. I don't think Coral n gold has a chance, what was not mushy was really hard, but I did the same with it. Joker did not have any eye either, but there was a good firm piece that had no mush, I feel most confident about it. I bought a Coral Sunset from Lowe's, I hope it really is what the tag said. I really did not know you could kill a peony. I accidentally sprayed one with weed killer once, it sulked the rest of that season, but bloomed fine the next year.
None of these plants are very close, and several Sarah Bernharts and old unnamed peonies in the general area, they look great. Oh well, maybe next year will be better.
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3b)
Cat Lover
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anyagoro
May 4, 2018 12:18 AM CST
Alilyfan, it is so sad to see the peonies rot Crying I know what you feel Group hug The three rotted are hybrids and especially Joker is very easy to rot to my experience. They need a very good drainage unless someone has a different experience. They had a terrible season at the Solaris last year, a lot of rain and man peonies rotted. What they did to save the peonies:

To disinfect the roots are dug, divided and all roots are removed leaving the crown. Crowns are power washed and then submerged in bleach solution (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) for 45 minutes and then washed again and dried. After all this the crowns have no stems and look almost white. The bleach kills nearly every disease organism. After all of that they get planted in a clean field. We had so much rainfall this year that one of our older field plantings had to be entirely dug and cleaned up. It all works very well though thankfully! All the roots get removed. Sounds odd but the plants quickly regrow new young roots that have no disease. Old storage roots often harbor disease and are of little to no help. Plants do not look good the first year, but by the second year are vigorous growers. Many peony farms do this.

I planted a few peonies last year that almost completely rotted but I did not know about treating them with bleach. Not sure they will show up this year.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 4, 2018 7:00 AM CST
Alilyfan, I am so sorry to hear about your peony losses due to rotting. Some varieties seem to be more susceptible than others esp. the hybrids. The Joker peony actually has adventitious roots so your root will certainly produce eyes if you bury it in the soil, maybe in a well drain spot.

Wow Anya, thank you for that information! I find it very helpful. It is best to be ruthless and get rid of all bad roots than to keep some and get higher probability of diseases.
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
May 4, 2018 7:18 AM CST
I think I will get them back out and do the bleach treatment. I knew there was something else I should do to treat them bit it was just not coming to me. I had read about the bleach. I knew I should take the time to look it up. I was pretty brutal in cutting off the rot.
Thanks so much!
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
May 4, 2018 7:22 AM CST
I should say, I thought this would be an ideal place to plant peonies, it is a sloped hill, i wanted to plant them among my iris, not had any iris rot here. I am just really surprised, but we have had a lot of rain this spring, and last year out rainfall was much above average
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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fwmosher
May 4, 2018 7:27 AM CST
I have been afraid to look at my Peonies and Japanese Peonies. But as I am now adding new plants to beds that contain Peonies, I started peering gently through last years dead "fronds" and everyone I have checked shows signs of life. I'm still leaving the old "fronds" for protection for another week yet. I did see one Japanese "Houka" that looks like it got pushed up by the frost (or perhaps operator error in planting depth), and I don't see any buds anywhere. My two "Yellow" Peonies which I thought were gorgeous until I saw a picture of Frankrichards16 yellow ones (wow and huge) are still alive. We will see!
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
May 4, 2018 7:30 AM CST
Lily fan, that is so sad. I hate to lose a Peony, but it does happen to all of us.

Is your soil clay? You can unwittingly create a "pot" in clay soil if you just dig a hole straight down into clay. Water will collect there and cause rot over the winter.

LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.

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