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My peony's red stalks are just emerging; from 1-9" tall. I've noticed that a flower bud is in the center of each stalk (about 10 stalks). I haven't noticed this before - is this the normal way buds grow? I thought they came out of the fully leafed plant. Thanks for any information you provide.
Yes, this is normal for many/most peony varieties. Usually, for a mature plant about 30-40% of the shoots will carry a tiny bud at this stage. The rest will turn into foliage stalks and will not produce a bloom.
Lavell, your peony's are doing good but maybe you will soon have to think of giving some form of support as the large flowers do become heavy especially if they get wet with rain, mine just fall over and are spoiled without any form of support, it also allows the foliage to fill out the space after the flowers have died and it still looks lovely setting off all the other plants next to it.
You can buy supports from garden store, I like the ones that are a ring with spokes that you put onto a garden cane and and set the cane into the soil without breaking the Peony's tuber, slide the ring down gently lifting the foliage and flower stems into this ring and within a few days the ring will not be seen.
Leave the foliage to die down before removing it as this decaying foliage gets drawn down into the tuber and feeds the tuber for the next year. Add a handful of multi purpose soluble feed around the roots each spring when you see new growth and this will give a boost for the new season.