Why peonies don’t bloom: 6 most common reasons


Peonies are the decoration of any homestead plot, in theory.

But if the plant constantly blooms poorly or does not bloom at all for many years, it is time to sound the alarm. Perhaps he did not like something or an inexperienced florist misses some important nuances of cultivation. Let’s sort it out together.

So why isn’t the peony blooming? Several reasons could have a detrimental effect on your plants, the main of them lie in the illiterate care of this culture. Let’s look at each one.

Reason 1. Peony growing in the “wrong” place

The first reason for the lack of flowering of the peony let’s call the wrong choice of its planting place. If the plant is basically uncomfortable, and all its forces are spent on survival, you will agree – it is not up to flowering.

So before you start this culture on the site (in principle, like any other), find out more about its preferences. In the case of the peony, the choice of planting location should be carefully considered also because it will “live” in one place for many years.

What is the right place for a peony to grow and bloom? First of all, sunny – even a couple of hours of regular daily shading can lead to a sharp deterioration in the quality of flowering of this culture. Also, you need to ensure that the area with peonies is protected from constant winds and draughts.

In the second place, you must remember that the soil for peony should be slightly alkaline and necessarily well-drained – stagnant water in waterlogged areas or close groundwater also has a negative effect on the plants – their roots will quickly rot.

Peonies should not be placed in the root system of trees and large shrubs, as their development can be affected by the lack of moisture and nutrition.

Planted near the wall of the structure (closer than 1.5 m), peony bushes in the heat can suffer from overheating, in winter and spring – from snowdrifts or drips.

Bought a peony seedling in spring and don’t know what to do with it next? This article is for you!

Reason 2. The peony is improperly planted or transplanted

Proper planting (or transplanting) of peonies is another key to their good flowering, so treat this procedure responsibly.

For planting, choose healthy plant dividers without cracks, growths, traces of damage, spots of incomprehensible color. The dividers should have 2-4 buds of renewal and at least 2-3 light adventitious roots longer than 5 cm (it is through them that the plant will feed at the beginning).

The planting hole for the peony should be large enough (not less than 60×60 cm) – where the plant will be able to form a powerful root system. In the pit should be a layer of drainage, and on top – specially prepared fertile soil mixture (garden soil, 1-2 buckets of compost or humus, 200 g of superphosphate, and 300-400 g of ash).

Do not plant the bush either too deep or too close to the surface. The optimal depth is when there is a 5-7 cm layer of soil above the top bud. The buds may eventually be above the soil surface, then they will be adversely affected by spring frosts and summer heat. If this happens, dig the peony, deepen the hole and lower the plant with the root ball into it. If the growing bush is too deep, it should be carefully lifted and the soil should be poured under the roots.

Remember also that the older the peony bush becomes, the weaker it blooms. Therefore, if you want abundant flowering, every 8-10 years peonies should be rejuvenated by digging out, dividing so that each peony has 3-4 buds, and replanting.

Reason 3. Peony lacks nutrients

Why peonies don’t bloom and what to do about it

Spring and summer peonies need to be given plenty of nutrients during their growing season – only then will you get regular, lush blooms.

You can only ignore nutrition in the first year or two of a peony’s life if you put enough fertilizer in the planting hole from the start. The rest of the time, peonies need more fertilizer every year, otherwise, they will not bud or will not open completely.

Lack of fertilizer is easier to tolerate than an excess of it (especially nitrogen, which in excessive amounts affects the build-up of green mass to the detriment of flowering).

The first root feeding of peonies is carried out at the beginning of growth, as soon as the red sprouts have sprouted, sprinkling nitrogen and potassium fertilizers under the plant, which arrive at the roots with meltwater.

The second fertilization can be done during the budding period, applying a full mineral or organic fertilizer. Fertilizer can be applied only after rain or watering.

The third, most important fertilization, when the buds of renewal form, is after flowering (two weeks later) when the plant is again offered potassium and phosphorus.

To admire the spectacular flowering of peonies throughout the season, young and adult bushes once a month is fed and foliar method. To do this, peony leaves are sprayed (or water from a watering can with a fine sieve) with a solution of complex mineral fertilizer.

Reason 4. Peony does not have enough moisture

We have already written that peony does not tolerate stagnant water at the roots, but “drink” very much. Especially abundant watering should be in the spring during budding and at the end of the season, when the buds of renewal are established, as well as in dry, hot weather.

Remember that there are hardly any suction roots at the base of the peony – they are all located further from the center of the bush, on the periphery! Therefore, watering should be carried out in a circular area at a distance of 20-40 cm from the center (this distance is the longer, the older, and larger the bush).

Experienced flower growers advise digging a circular groove around the bush to a depth of about 10 cm and water along with it.

For one plant when watering, 3-4 buckets of water are used. As for other crops, watering peonies is best done in the period without active sun – in the morning or evening.

But it is not necessary to spray peonies during budding and flowering. This will spoil the appearance of the flowers and can even contribute to infecting the plant with gray rot.

Reason 5. Peony buds were not removed in time

You can regulate the decorativeness of the peony bush yourself by cutting off the buds at an early stage of their formation. If you are growing peonies for cutting and are interested in getting even fewer but larger top flowers, the side buds can be removed when they reach pea-size.

If you intend to see a peony bush on the plot, abundantly and entirely covered with flowers, you do not need to do this. Just remember that such massive flowering from year to year can weaken the plant as a whole, preventing the root system from developing properly. This is especially true in the first couple of years after planting when it makes sense to sacrifice “extra” buds in consideration for the future.

But the leaves and stems should not be cut by the root immediately after the peony blossoms – after all, it is the above-ground part of the plant that is responsible for laying the buds for future flowering. This procedure is carried out in late autumn. The same applies to cutting peonies for a bouquet – you should not remove more than a third of the total vegetative volume of the bush.

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Reason 6. Peony is damaged by disease and/or pests

Needless to say, pest infestation or disease can also negatively affect the duration or overall likelihood of peony blooms.

Grey rot, powdery mildew, Lemoine’s disease, verticillium wilt, aphids, nematodes, bronchoderma, thinworts – each of these plagues can rob your peony bush of a good bloom.

Therefore, timely prevention of peony infestation by diseases and pests and, of course, competent treatment and control measures if necessary are very important.

About the Author: Amanda Johnson

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