Peonies forum→Peony buds don't open

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Name: Judy
Aurora, Illinois (Zone 5b)
May 26, 2018 10:37 AM CST

I have a Henry Bockstoce peony. Each year, the buds begin to open then stop. It is planted near other peonies that do well. Is there a reason for this? Also, at this point in the season, this is the only peony that has any color to the buds at all here. It is on the west side of my stucco house. Perhaps the heat from intense afternoon sun affects it?

Today, I'm going to cut some buds and see if they will open in the house.
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Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan (Zone 5b)

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
May 27, 2018 4:31 PM CST
There is no reason that I know. They look like they will open.
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
May 27, 2018 8:04 PM CST


The refracted heat from the house could easily be the culprit, a lot of later blooming cultivars don't open here because summer hits too early. Provide some shade in the afternoon, maybe a beach umbrella that you can open over them for several hours, and see if that helps.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
Forum moderator
May 27, 2018 9:04 PM CST


Are you sure that they are getting enough sun? I see the Hostas planted next to them, and if they were in full sun they would burn up.

You might want to move Henry in the Fall to a spot that gets 8-10 hours of sun. If it gets any shade, it should be in the afternoon. Peonies open their blooms in the morning and for a big intensely double type like Henry, that is when it should be getting the full sun.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Judy
Aurora, Illinois (Zone 5b)
May 27, 2018 9:22 PM CST
Thank you. The sun hits around 11:00. Then it's pretty intense. But i agree that morning sun is necessary.. I will move him in the fall. Three years of this is enough!
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
May 28, 2018 5:06 AM CST
I got Henry last year and not sure how it will behave for me, but rumor says that it is a little bit finicky. Your bush looks very good, but knowing that the flowers are huge it may be strained to fully develop all of them. I would rather disbud half now and see what happen. If other half develops nicely I would just fertilize it with bulb fertilizer in the fall and next spring and leave it for another year in the same place.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
May 28, 2018 6:07 AM CST


I have 'Henry Bockstoce' and in my experience, the bud turns red, you think it will open, but it takes a whole. 'Red Grace' acts the same way here. You have this nice colored bud for over a week, thinking "any day now", only to feel like you have waited and eternity. Hilarious! Then finally it opens up into that beautiful specimen you've been waiting for.

That said, this year has been miserable as far as weather conditions here for us in the Midwest. If you have now had this intense heat like we have, so early in the season after cold wet conditions and freezes during bud development, then this could also be playing a hand in your peony flower development.
Name: Judy
Aurora, Illinois (Zone 5b)
May 28, 2018 7:58 AM CST
Thanks for the info on Henry B. There are never a LOT of buds. After 3 years of this, I think I'll move him in the fall. He has made it clear that this isn't the location for him. I appreciate knowing that this is a finicky plant and there isn't something terribly wrong with it.

Funny thing, 10 ft away on the same west side of the house is a lovely Mrs. FDR who is very prolific.

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