Peonies Not Sprouting Here Is Could Be Off Base

Peonies Not Sprouting Here Is Could Be Off Base

Peonies are very popular flowers at the beginning of summer, but sometimes there are problems that can prevent peonies from blooming. Sometimes it is a issue that prevents peony buds from opening. Other times, poor plantings, the age and health of the plants or poor growing conditions are the reason why your peonies have not bloomed. In this article I will describe seven reasons why peonies do not bloom and share what you can do to identify and solve the problem.

What to do if you have peonies that do not bloom

It’s always heartbreaking when peony plants don’t bloom, especially since peonies are perennials that are considered easy to grow. They are not picky about soil conditions and they make excellent cut flowers. In addition, peonies are resistant to most insect pests and deer, so there is no need for insecticides or deer repellents. There are many varieties of peonies that you can grow in the garden, with flowers in different shades of white, pink and red.


If your peony has not produced flowers this season, do not be discouraged. In almost all cases, with a little detective work, the problem can be identified and then easily solved. Let’s look at the most common reasons why peonies do not bloom, so that you can solve the problem and make sure that next year’s flowering is guaranteed.

Are ants responsible for the non-flowering of peonies?

I’ll start by noting that many people blame non-blooming peonies for a lack of ants. However, this is nothing more than a myth. Ants are not responsible for opening peony buds. If you see ants crawling on your plants (as they usually do), it is only because they feed on extra-floral nectar (EFN) produced by peony plants, mainly on the outside of the buds and at the leaf nodes.

Many different plants produce EFN, including sunflowers, beans and elderberries, to name just a few. Scientists believe that EFN is produced as a sweet reward to encourage beneficial predatory insects such as ladybirds and hoverflies to stay and protect the plant from harmful insects. The ants on your peonies are just coming to the party. So if you see ants on your peony buds in after spring, be aware that their presence – or absence, as the case may be – does not affect flowering.

7 Reasons why peonies don’t bloom

Now it’s time to dig into the real reasons why peonies do not bloom. Your first step is to make sure you fertilize your peony plants correctly (read more about the nutrients peonies need here) and cut them at the best time of the year (read more about pruning peonies here). If you do both correctly, it’s time to start looking at other possible causes.

Reason 1: the wrong depth of planting peonies

Peonies are planted in the form of bare roots without soil and potted plants. The most common reason why peonies do not bloom is that they are planted too deep in the ground. Unlike bulbous plants such as daffodils and tulips, which are planted at a depth of 6 to 8 centimeters, peony tubers should only be planted one centimeter deep. The root systems of the peony are thick and squat and covered with “eyes” (underground buds). These “eyes” will each develop into a stem with leaves and a flower bud. If the “eyes” are too deep underground, your peony plant will be “blind”, a term for a peony stem that produces leaves but no flowers.

When planting peony roots, dig a wide but shallow hole so that the “eyes” are only a centimeter below the soil surface. Place the root in the hole horizontally, not vertically. The roots grow just below the surface of the soil; they spread widely, but not deeply.

Reason 2: fungal issues of peonies

Sometimes fungal issues are to blame for peonies that do not bloom. If buds have developed, but they are small, soft and spongy, the pest botrytis (also called gray mold) may be to blame. Botrytis can also cause more mature peony buds to rot in the “marshmallow stage”. The marshmallow phase is when the bud is soft and marshmallow-like when you squeeze it, and the petals show color. The botrytis that strikes at this stage turns the outer petals brown and the buds never fully open. When botrytis strikes in early spring, rotten buds and no flowering can result.

Botrytis is particularly widespread in very humid springs because the constantly moist foliage is a refuge for fungal spores. Although you can’t stop the rain, you can help prevent this issue by leaving enough space for each plant, which improves air circulation around the new growth and allows the tops to dry faster after a rain shower. And just because botrytis affected this year’s flowering doesn’t mean the same thing will happen next year. In the fall, cut and remove all issued peony leaves to prevent botrytis spores from returning next year. Organic fungicides can also help, but are usually not necessary.

issued foliage at the end of summer is often the result of a fungus. After blight gives the impression that the STEM and leaves of peonies are sprinkled with white talc. This issue usually occurs long after the plant has bloomed and is not responsible for the non-flowering of peonies.

Reason 3: the age of your peony plant

Another reason why your plant cannot develop flower buds is that it is not mature enough. Peonies should be a few years old before flowering. Their root system should be strong enough to form eyes, so if the piece of root you planted was a little soft, give it a few years. Often the first 2 to 3 years will only produce shoots and leaves. Flower buds appear as soon as the plant and the root system are large and strong enough.

Reason 4: Recent peony division or transplant

If you have recently transplanted or divided your peony plant, you can expect a year or two without flowering. Transplanting and dividing are quite stressful for a peony plant, so give it time to recover. The best time to divide and move peonies is in after summer or early autumn, at any time from after July to August, and in September and October. Next spring, you don’t expect to see flowers at all. Be patient. As long as the plant is planted at the right depth, the flowers should arrive early enough.

Reason 5: too little sun

Peonies need full sun. If the plant does not receive enough sunlight, it will not be able to perform the level of photosynthesis necessary to produce enough carbohydrates to fuel next year’s bud production. Too much shade gives slender plants with slender stems and without flower buds. A site that receives at least 8 hours of full sun per day is ideal. If you think this is the reason why your peonies are not blooming, move them to a sunnier place in the fall.

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