A classic staple in many traditional gardens, the faithful Peony is one of my absolute favourites. There are so many different varieties and the fragrance in bloom is absolutely intoxicating. But what happens when your plant is just a whole lot of green, all leaf and no flowers?
There are a few reasons this can occur and most are easy to solve. The first and most common complaint relates not to an unhealthy plant, rather a new plant. Peonies will not bloom their first year of planting or transplanting. They may go so far as to sprout a few buds but will never bloom. Don’t fret, but patience will be required as it will bloom in the following season.
Lack luster light is another common culprit. Has a nearby tree or shrub grown and reduced the amount of available light over the years? Nearby trees can pose another challenge large woody root systems can sometimes overtake the Peony. Ideally your plants want a minimum of six hours of full sun a day.
The foliage of a peony is the charging cell of your plant. If last year you cut it back too soon you may have unwittingly zapped the nourishment that the roots will need to bloom this season.
Overfeeding peonies can also result in abundant foliage and no blooms. Best to just feed them compost or a balanced, all-natural organic fertilizer like bone meal. If your soil is already of good quality a compost top dressing each season should do the trick.
Soggy roots are a sure fire way to send those flowers into hiding. Wet roots are a death sentence for Peonies so ensure your spot has ideal drainage and you will be rewarded for many years to come.
We’ve been fairly lucky this year as since the May long weekend temperatures have stayed above the lows required for frost. However if your flowers had started to bud earlier in May the late frost likely did some damage. Along with weather fungal issues will stress the plant into hibernation. Be sure to keep the ground clear of debris and quickly remove any diseased plants from your garden.
Good luck with these feathery florals, with all the available varieties and their outstanding virtue as a cut flower Peonies, make a perfect addition to any sun filled garden bed.