17 Reasons Why Your Peony Is Not Blooming – What To Do If Your Flower Plants Don’t Bloom this Spring

If you’re like most gardeners, you’re probably wondering what’s going on with your flower plants. After all, they should be blooming by now. You may need to get the desired results if you’re a peony. This post will explain what’s happening with your peony plants and give tips on fixing the problem. After reading this article, we hope you can solve the blooming problem for your peony plants and get them back into peak condition!

17 Reasons Peonies Aren’t Blooming and Solutions

Your Peony Is Still In Its Early Stage

Peonies are notoriously slow-growers. It can take up to a year after planting a peony plant purchased from a regular nursery to produce its first flower, and it can take another three to five years for the plant to begin producing significant amounts of blooms. It may take even longer, up to three years, for less developed starter plants like those cheap Chinese imports or divisions you generated with only one or two “eyes” (buds) to produce their first flowers. That’s why so few gardeners attempt to start peonies from seed. It will take at least three to five years before you see any signs of life and another seven to eight years before you have an abundance of blooms.

What To Do:

DYou can still enjoy peonies blooming in your garden, even if they grow slower than you’d like them to. What you can do is wait for your peony to grow and reach its prime to bloom. Also, if your planting came from a reputable nursery or botanic garden, chances are that your peony has been started from seed and should bloom much more quickly than if you’re starting from scratch.

Mature Peony Moved Without Splitting

Peonies, especially mature ones with thick, long roots resembling carrots, are not very receptive to being transplanted. When transplanted, mature peonies (those that have grown in the ground for at least seven years) typically refuse to bloom or do so only after a long delay. For example, if a gardener transplants several mature peonies, some may start flowering as if nothing had happened, while others may refuse to bloom for another four or five years.

What To Do:

Peonies do better in transplants if they are divided rather than transferred as whole plants. Peonies benefit from division since it “rejuvenates” them, giving you fresh, healthy plants that are more likely to bloom in the spring. Ideally, you’d like your divisions to have three to five eyes. The resulting plants are too young to blossom when they plant divided into sections with only one or two eyes. Instead, shoot for a peony that is neither a crusty old-timer nor a babe-in-arms. In other words, you want a peony that is a vibrant adolescent!

Planting Done In Excessive Depth

Peonies must have their eyes buried between 3/4 and 2 inches (2 and 5 cm) when planted. You won’t find me going any deeper. But if you don’t do so your plants.

What To Do:

Peonies should be dug up and replanted at the appropriate depth as soon as possible in the fall (the best time to replant a peony). Or wait because a peony planted too deeply will gradually rectify itself and come closer to the surface. However, you could wait up to ten years or perhaps longer for it to flower.

Too Much Shade

Peonies grown in gardens are sun-loving plants that thrive in full sun in almost all regions. Only in the hottest temperatures do they do better in partial shade. Even in areas with partial shade, they are still capable of blooming, albeit with fewer blooms and likely with flower stems that are not as robust. On the other hand, the ordinary garden peony is only sometimes successful when grown in full shade.

What To Do:

Move your peony or lessen the shade it receives by trimming back any tree branches hanging over it. Or you might plant peonies that are tolerant of shade, such as the forest peony (Paeonia obovata).

An Overhasty Clearing of the Vegetation

Peonies rely on the photosynthesis performed by their leaves to replenish their energy stores and begin preparing for next year’s blossoming once the blooming season has ended. They “recharge their batteries,” so to speak. The plant will eventually wither and die without them. On the other hand, the peony is not a transient spring flower since it requires three months of growth before producing enough food to bloom again. Leaves should be allowed to remain on the tree at least through the first week of September to complete their seasonal cycle (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is). Whether by intention or by accident, cutting them down in July or August will significantly hinder the plant’s ability to rebloom.

What To Do:

When peonies have finished blooming, they should be kept from pruning. Wait to touch the foliage until early autumn at the earliest. Many cultivars have leaves that turn crimson in September, signaling they have completed their duties for the year.

Overuse of Fertilizer

Rarely will a peony fail to flower because of mineral deficiency in the soil, but it will if given excessive amounts of fertilizer, particularly nitrogen, the first of the three numbers on the fertilizer label. Too much lawn fertilizer used too close to the peony is typically the blame.

What To Do:

Peonies are not invasive fast-growers but rather gentle bloomers. Most fertilizers should be applied at 50 percent of the full rate. That’s generally more than enough, especially if the initial digit is higher than 10, as in 20-5-10.

Late Arrival of Winter Season

Even while the garden peony is resistant to cold and usually survives late frosts undamaged, a very severe frost at the wrong time—when the flower buds are just beginning to form—can kill them and result in a flowerless season.

What To Do:

Peony flower buds are most susceptible to frost damage when they first open. If you know that a hard frost is coming and the buds are just starting to show, you can protect the plants by covering them with a blanket or other cloth and staking it down like a tent. While this can be frustrating, it is often simpler to accept that Mother Nature will occasionally play dirty tricks on gardeners and wait until the following year before trying again. It’s just not something that happens very frequently.

Unsuitable Growing Conditions

Like all other plants, peonies have certain requirements, including rich, deep, loose soil that is consistently moist and has a pH of about 6 to 7. Further, it is a plant of temperate climates that thrives in hardiness zones 2-7 and does best with a moderately cold to extremely cold winter. It will not thrive in a tropical or subtropical environment, in extremely dry conditions, on rocky soil, in soil that is too alkaline or too acidic, in soil that is overrun by invasive tree roots, etc.

What To Do:

Only waste your time cultivating peonies if you have the right climate.


Peonies are susceptible to a wide range of illnesses. In most cases, fungi are to blame. In terms of severity, botrytis blight is among the worst diseases.

Botrytis blight is devastating to the plant and can affect many different systems. It can damage the stems and leaves, among other things. The stem can become so damaged by botrytis blight that it simply turns black and collapses.

However, the death of the plant’s buds is one of its most devastating effects. Buds become brown and eventually fall off due to the disease.

What To Do:

To combat diseases like botrytis blight, it is essential to eradicate their favorable growth conditions. Moisture and a lack of oxygen are ideal conditions for fungi growth. Get some ventilation going for your plant. Good drainage and the absence of standing water are essential for healthy soil.

When you notice diseased buds, remove them immediately to stop their spread. Maintain the uneven leaf coverage. The photosynthetic process cannot proceed without them. But when the season is over, you can terminate their services.

Ensure that the plant’s base is covered with a layer of new mulch. Intuitively, that seems like a bad idea. Yet it can stop spores from returning.

Once the weather warms up, fungal spores overwintered in the soil will rise to infect the plant. If you cover the area with new mulch, the spores won’t be able to escape.

Environmental Stress

Have you had any traumatic weather events happen to you this year? If this is the case, your peony may be attempting to recover from the effects of environmental stress.

There are a wide variety of environmental stresses. Extreme temperatures, both cold and hot, will be harmful to the plant. It only does well if you try to grow it in its optimal environment.

One drawback of environmental stress is that it slows the maturation of buds. It leads to premature flower detonation.

This is known as a bud burst, when formerly green buds suddenly become brown and black. Rather than blossoming, the bud withers and falls off.

One of the most common reasons for bud bursts is environmental stress. Botrytis blight is another frequent culprit.

What To Do:

Stress from the environment can hinder growth, and unfortunately, little can be done to remedy the problem.

Make sure the peonies in your garden thrive in your care. These blooms struggle to thrive in warm, humid environments. They prefer temperate climates with short, cool summers and long, cold winters. Peonies aren’t the best plant to grow if you’re in a region with harsh winters and hot summers.

Excessive or Underwatering

For peonies to flourish, the ideal amount of water is required. Growth issues will come from either too much or too little.

A severe issue affecting the plant’s general health is too much water. Standing water irritates peonies. For problems like root rot and fungus to be avoided, the soil must have enough drainage.

They detest extended dry spells as well. Peonies can withstand brief periods of drought. Prolonged dry periods, however, will only impair the plant’s capacity to produce flowers.

What To Do:

Each week, your peony plant needs around 1 inch of water. Depending on the climate and temperature, it can require a bit more or a little less.

The peony is the best plant to use a moisture gauge on. It can evaluate whether the soil is too dry or too wet. Don’t rely solely on a predetermined schedule. Due to their sensitivity, these plants cannot endure significant watering problems.

Make careful to focus on the base when you water your plant. To avoid troubles with mold and fungi, avoid getting the leaves wet.


Your peony will become infested by a variety of pests. Peonies are less prone to insect infestations than other flowers or crop plants. However, if pests get a chance to settle in, they will cause significant harm to this vulnerable perennial.

Pests will consume the stem and leaf sap for food. Some may even attack the buds or the head of the root.

Any type of pest damage is bad for the plant. Your peony’s vitality for flowering will be reduced as it must concentrate on tending to those wounds.

Significant damage might also have a greater effect on the plant. You can wind up with withered leaves and withering stems, depending on the severity of the pest issue. Additionally, physical harm will kill off buds before they have a chance to bloom.

What To Do:

A variety of insects and mites frequently plague peony plants. With the correct pesticide, pests can be eliminated with relative ease. You can use a chemical-based solution or an organic insecticide like neem oil.

If you want the best results, apply the product early in the growing season. Once flower buds begin to open, most pests will also emerge. Insects and other pests can be quickly eradicated if you time your treatment correctly. Morning applications of pesticides allow foliage to dry before temperatures soar.

Poor Soil Quality

Sometimes, the answer lies beneath your feet. Some soils are just not right for peonies. While the soil in your yard may be ideal for growing some plants, peonies may require additional amendments.

Loose, well-drained soil is great for planting. Peonies thrive in slightly acidic, moist soil. The optimal range for pH is between 6.0 and 7.0.

Rich nutrients are essential, as they always have been. The soil must be rich enough to sustain the plant for many growing seasons.

What To Do:

After your plant has begun growing, it might be challenging to fix soil problems. If the peony isn’t doing well, you might need to move it. And even then, the plant will need some time to recover.

Pick a good spot to plant in, then spend some time getting the soil ready. The soil needs to be loosened so air can get into it. To protect your soil from becoming too compact due to the presence of clay, amend it with compost or soil mix. The increased nutrient content is another benefit of using compost.

Include some peat moss in the mixture to increase the pH. You should prepare the soil for your peony by working it and testing it often.

Excessive Trimming

The over-pruning of peonies is a serious issue. These tough leaves are essential for the plant to absorb light and produce food through photosynthesis. The energy for next year’s flowers is created during the flowering phase through photosynthesis.

Consider your previous year’s flower pruning efforts. Have you pruned the dead stems and bloom buds? This may be the source of your issues. Since you cut off the plant’s energy supply, it can’t produce as many flowers.

What To Do:

Moderation is essential. In the fall and winter, the peony’s leaves will fall independently. This is a result of the plant entering its dormant phase.

It’s okay to prune a plant that appears to be in good health. The plant could be damaged or its power supply severed if this were to happen.

Keep your cuts to no more than a third of the plant at any time. Further, there are better times to prune than autumn. Natural processes should be left to take their course. Don’t expect any new growth from stems you cut back in the fall, as they will have been pruned to prevent bud formation.

Unruly limbs are best pruned in the spring before the plant becomes dormant. Remove the branches only if they are preventing the plant from growing.

Lack of Coldness

Peonies need cold to bloom. Cold weather is the enemy of gardeners. Many plants need it. These are “freezing hours.” Your peony probably needed to get more cooling hours. Warm-climate residents often do this. The plant may have needed more cold hours to bloom. Having buds but no flowers shows this.

What To Do:

Peonies need 500-1,000 cooling hours. The ideal temperature is 40°F below 45° but above freezing. Chill hours won’t help this blossoming season. Remove wind blocks next year. Don’t cover the plant as it requires light.

Transplant Shock

All types of plants are susceptible to the very real problem of transplant shock. Plants may need help adjusting to their new environment. As a result, several problems include stunted growth and increased susceptibility to disease.

The peony is a little more sensitive than other flowers. The transplantation process is not enjoyable for these plants. You run a higher risk of shock if you transplant a mature plant.

The roots of peony plants are unusually designed. It resembles a clump of carrots. This root bunch will increase as the plant develops over several years. Transplantation becomes riskier the larger it is.

Your peony might not bloom if you recently transplanted it due to shock.

What To Do:

It isn’t much you can do to a peony that has already been transplanted. It can take the plant several years to recover. Just keep giving it the attention it needs until it blooms.

Dividing the plant is the greatest strategy to prevent transplant shock in the future. Snipping off pieces of the root is the process of division. Imagine it as stem propagation. However, you’re working with the root system rather than a stem.

Plants that have been divided take transplanting considerably better. A division can revitalize the plant. By dividing the plant, you increase the likelihood that it will grow stronger and may even encourage the original plant to produce more blooms.

Peonies should be divided between August and October when they are dormant. Trim the plant’s branches and remove one of the larger roots around the root clump. This clump can be moved to a different area of your garden so you can watch for growth the following year.

Inadequate Nutrient Supply

Peonies, like all plants, may use a nutritional boost now and then. Yet, peonies are pickier about the fertilizers they receive than other types of flowers.

The reason for this is that peonies have very few root systems. The crown of the root will only go a short distance into the ground.

Because of this, the plant may have trouble getting enough water and nutrients. The plant will begin to decline when the nutrients closest to the plant’s surface are depleted.

What To Do:

Do soil tests if you think a lack of nutrients could cause your plants’ failure to bloom. A soil test can precisely assess the soil’s general health.

Use a fertilizer that’s low in nitrogen to maximize plant growth. Chemical fertilizers with a 5-10-10 ratio are effective. Compost tea or an equally mild water-soluble blend can also be used.

Only one springtime application is required. You should be good to go with that fertilization for a few years. In this case, reapplication is unnecessary. Do a soil test to ensure you aren’t over-fertilizing before adding more nutrients to the soil.