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Cultivation of herbaceous peonies

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Question: Why don't my peonies bloom?

I put some herbaceous peonies in the garden in several places. They are now nine years old and have never made a flower. Some are very well developed, others have also remained quite small. Can you give me some advice? They have automatic watering, so there is no shortage of water. The exposure is varied, from full sun to partial shade, the soil also from good soil to fairly hard and poorly fed soil. Thanks for helping me.


Cultivation of herbaceous peonies: Answer: the flowering of peonies

Dear Anna,

the herbaceous peonies they are quite picky plants, and tend to bloom only when they are in excellent health; since you have been growing them for nine years, and you have placed them in different places in the garden, the problem should not be related to exposure or soil; but it could also be that over the nine years, several problems have occurred, and have prevented your peonies from blooming. In general, these rhizomatous root plants often tend to take 3-4 years to bloom, especially if the rhizomes planted were very small: the plant must be a good root system before it can have sufficient energy to complete the large opulent flowers. In your case, however, the past years should have allowed the plants to settle well in the ground. The only reason it can keep some of this for so long herbaceous peonies to flourish is perhaps the wrong disposition and the rhizomes in the ground; when burying a herbaceous peony we must be careful to leave the crown, from which the roots depart, a few centimeters below the ground, or even at ground level. Rhizomes planted excessively deep, will never tend to bloom, because their energies are used to allow the leaves to reach the surface. For such a scenario to occur, the rhizomes do not have to be at incredible depths; only 15-20 cm deep are enough to force the plant to live without flowers. Often it is not even the fault of the inexperienced cultivator; in fact, when we prepare the planting hole for peonies, we often add sand to improve drainage and fresh soil to improve the mix and soil fertility; the result is a planting hole with a soft bottom, where the rhizomes tend, over time, to sink, coming soon to an excessive depth.

Other reasons why peonies may fail to bloom are excessive nitrogen fertilizations in the autumn or late winter, which push the plant to produce large quantities of foliage, at the expense of the flowers; or it could also be a problem related to the climate, because late frosts can quickly ruin the buds already ready at the apex of the stems.

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