Peonies can be demanding plants, but avoiding common pitfalls will ensure years of steady bloom.
Most common in gardens are two types of peony. The herbaceous peony is a tuber that grows much like a perennial, while the tree peony is more of a small shrub.
A peony’s reluctance to bloom may be due planting in too much shade, setting the tuber too deeply, moving the plant too often, overfertilizing or underfertilizing.
Peonies can also falter when they become old if they are not divided to be refreshed. They are also susceptible to disease, like botrytis blight, as well as insects like thrips. A hard freeze after the plants have begun to bud in the spring may kill off that year’s buds and prevent the plant from blooming.
Unlike other perennials, peonies often need up to five years to mature enough in one spot to produce blooms. The larger the tuber, the sooner the plant will bloom, but rarely before two years.
Ants are very attracted to the nectar of peony flowers, and some believe that the ants’ attempts to obtain this nectar assist the peony flower in opening up fully. The ants will often disappear once the flower has opened.