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How to Get Peonies to Bloom


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It can be very frustrating when your peonies fail to bloom following planting. Getting peonies to bloom year after year is not really difficult; however, the secret to them not blooming may lie in HOW the peony roots (or tubers) were planted. You may not have planted the peonies yourself, but inherited them when you moved to a different residence. There are also other important reasons as to why peonies won’t bloom after planting. Hopefully, you can pinpoint and correct any problems your peonies may have after reading this article.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • A spade or small shovel
  • A sunny garden location
  • Fertilizer
  • Ability to spot Botrytis fungus
    1. Garden Spade

      One of the first things to check if your peonies are not blooming is the depth of their roots. If their roots (or tubers) are deeper than 4 to 6 inches from the ground’s surface, you should remedy that. To do this, take your spade and dig CAREFULLY around the entire plant to see how deep it was been planted. Gently lift the peony plant up, but not totally out of the hole. If it’s too deep, put some of the soil into the hole under the plant. Keep filling in the soil until you’ve accomplished this all around; pack the soil gently, then water thoroughly. When you’re finished, the eyes on the roots shouldn’t be more than about 1-1/2 to 2 inches from the surface. Peonies are really, really PICKY about how deep they are planted in order to bloom!

    2. Peonies Need Sunshine

      Do your peonies get enough sunshine every day? If they don’t get sun at least 6 to 8 hours a day, they will likely not bloom for you. They are not shade plants, so you may need to move them to a sunnier location. It’s best to relocate peonies in the fall or early spring.

    3. Variety of Peony Colors

      Peonies will often not bloom if they don’t have proper nutrients. Feed your peonies either in the spring or the fall with a reliable 5-10-5 fertilizer. Don’t OVER fertilize them or use a high nitrogen fertilizer, as this causes them to produce more foliage and less blossoms. Never place fertilizer on or too near the crown of the peony plant!

    4. Your peonies may be suffering from Botrytis Fungus if they don’t bloom! Unfortunately, this is a common affliction to peony plants and usually happens when spring weather is wet for an extended time. The symptoms of Botrytis Fungus are: spots on the leaves, buds that won’t open, or stems that appear rotted. If any of these signs are present you should remove the affected buds and foliage and place them in your waste container. Then cut back the entire plant in the fall and dispose of it. In the spring, apply an appropriate fungicide to prevent a recurrence of this fungus.
    5. Group of Blooming Peonies

      Are your peonies plants too crowded? If so, they may not bloom or may have smaller and fewer blooms as the years go by. If this is the case it’s time to divide them, especially if they’ve been in the same place for a long time. Divide peonies either in late fall or early spring for best results.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don’t plant peony tubers deeper than 4 to 6 inches.

  • Divide peonies if they are too crowded.

  • Watch for Botrytis Fungus or rotting leaves.

  • Make sure your peony plants get 6 to 8 hours of sun daily.

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