FAQ's About Peonies
This could be for a number of reasons and should be simple to solve although some solutions may require a little more patience than others:
- Herbaceous and intersectional peonies only reliably flower from 5 years old and tree peonies from 7-8 years old. Some peonies bought in flower maybe have been pushed to bloom to make them more appealing for sale, which means that an immature plant might take a couple of years to recover. So always buy a mature plant from a reputable seller.
- Your peony may be planted too deep. This is one of the most common reasons for peonies not flowering. Although they have large root systems, peonies do not like to have their roots buried deeply. The top of the peony or crown should be just below the surface not more than 5cm below the soil.
- Peonies need sunshine to flower, so it may be that your plant needs a little more light. Either move your plant to a sunnier position, or cut back branches that may be causing excess shade. See our advice on moving (link to this section)
- Is your peony in a pot? It may need feeding, the roots produce the buds during late Summer and Autumn for the following season. See our advice on feeding. (link to this section)
- Do you mulch your borders? If so please remember to keep the base around your peony clear, don’t cover with stones or compost either, the crown of your peony needs to be no more than 2.5 – 5cm below the surface.
The same reasons why your peony might not have started flowering could be the same reasons why your peony may have previously flowered and is now not flowering so please follow all the advice on “Why has my peony not flowered?” Another fact about peonies and quite frankly nature is that some years are just better than others. For various factors like early Spring warmth, consistent rain or limited frost can all go towards having better and more bounteous blooms some years in comparison to others. Peonies are long lived plants so it is always good to remember that you are going to have many years with your peony in the garden so if one season does not seem has good as previous, we would say keep following the grow guides, don’t stress and enjoy your plants.
It is best to move your peony once the plant is dormant. This takes place once the plant has completely died back, so no visible green on the leaves. Make sure to dig widely around the plant, wider than you may think as the root system may be larger than anticipated. Replant straight away, and be careful not to damage or knock any of the pink/ jewel buds on the tuber, these are the buds for the following year.
Yes, you can divide your peony. Lift the peony using the instructions for moving. Once you have, using a clean knife or secateurs separate the root into the number of pieces (or separate plants you would like) making sure that each piece has at least three to five ‘eyes’ or buds and a substantial, large tuberous root to sustain the division once replanted. You can cut away and dispose of any roots that look unhealthy or rotten at the same time. Replant the separate pieces or ‘new plants’ as soon as you have made the divisions. Carefully water the peonies the following year as the root system will not be fully developed, making sure you do not overwater and your peony is not sitting in water as the crown can rot.
Yes you can move your peony when moving house, we know of people who have moved multiple times in a few years and each time taking their favourite peony with them. Follow all the advice for moving a peony. But if you are moving at a time of year before your peony has died back then it is a case of it may not be the optimum time but peonies are resilient so if you absolutely want to take them with you then we would say go for it. Procure large enough containers to place the peonies in so you can transport them to your new home. We would always advise planting them back into the ground as quickly as possible so they can settle into their new home.
We would recommend feeding your peony at least once a year. A slow release feed that feeds the roots is best, rather than a nitrogen rich fertilizer that encourages leafy growth and fewer buds. Feeding can encourage your plant to flower. When feeding your peony loosen the soil around the peony and sprinkle the feed, around the base of your peony mix lightly into the loose soil with your hands and then water the area so the feed can be absorbed into the soil to be most effective. See our professional peony feed for the perfect slow release feed for your peony.
We would recommend either feeding your peony in Spring or Late Summer/ Autumn. We offer a slow release professional peony feed which is perfect for making sure your peony is in tip top condition. A fertilizer with a lower nitrogen content is advised – a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content can discourage your peony from producing buds rather focusing on foliage growth. We recommend our Professional Peony Fertiliser for use in the Spring or Autumn. If you missed your Spring feed and don’t want to forget in the Autumn we also offer a Summer rejuvenator which will keep you peony fed until the following Spring.
An early frost can damage the developing buds and potentially prevent them from growing further. Peonies are however very hardy so you can leave them and see what happens if you do not have time to cover your peony. If your peony does have young developing buds you can cover your plants with a lightweight fleece or plastic.
Peonies that are not consistently watered while the buds are forming can become stunted and stop growing, they often turn black and look dried out. You can snip these off and leave the plant to carry on growing and absorbing nutrients so it can produce buds for the following season.
You do not have to do anything. Ants are interested in the sweet sap that the buds produce. They collect this but it does not harm the plant. The ants tend to leave once the flower opens.
Brown burnt edges does not usually indicate disease in your peony. However It does depend on the time of year when you are seeing this on your peony. If you have purchased and planted a peony in the late summer then it could be natural die back of the peony which often starts a little earlier in pot grown peonies when compared with established garden grown varieties. If you are seeing this during the season – it could indicate that the peony experienced a period of drought and so the foliage is slightly short on water. If your peony is exhibiting this in Autumn it is completely normal. In Autumn peonies naturally start to die back, this is part of their natural lifecycle as perennials.
In short no, peony flowers are delicate so sometimes in transit they can go over and shatter in the box. Although we try to package the plants as securely as possible on occasion depending on delivery and weather circumstances this can occur. Herbaceous and tree peonies usually flower for 2 weeks a year and intersectional peonies perhaps for 4- 6weeks. The plant without blooms is still feeding itself through the foliage and developing the buds for the following season.