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Beginner Gardening Questions: A sick Peony Help

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Forum: Beginner Gardening QuestionsReplies: 8, Views: 77
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angelsinmygarde
Kelowna, BC
(Zone 7a)

April 29, 2013
1:27 PM

Post #9501482

Hi have two Double pink... 4 yr old peonies/ Growing up against a row of Pyramid Cedars ( Neighbors)
One has very red/ shriveled leaves? and much smaller? than its sister Plant :( The other one has budds already. It is in a sunny location.I have looked for bugs can't see any Ideas anyone I love these babies>:) I am in Kelowna British Columbia canada Zone 6b (lake affect).
Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 29, 2013
9:44 PM

Post #9502099

Could it be competition and leaf litter from the Cedars? Some trees or large shrubs can be very greedy, and get the lion's share of water and nutrients.
Did you have to cut out a lot of fine roots from the Cedars when you planted the Peonies?
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

May 2, 2013
5:02 PM

Post #9505875

Peonies like lot's of sun, infact, when planting these tuberous plants, it is importand that you add lot's of humus or well rotted animal manure to the planting hole as this allowes air, nutrients, helps hold some extra moisture around the greedy tubers, as you plant the large tubers, you need to have the top (crown) of the tuber JUST under the soil as they like the tuber to be baked in sun to help produce their beautiful flowers and floiage, never cut the foliage down after flowering, allow the foliage to die down and either remove it once shrivled and dead, cut it away or in cooler areas, lay it over the tuber area to protect the tuber from frost or very cold conditions. I like to add a compost mulch end of summer with a handful of multi purpse feed mixed into this mulch and make sure you dont forget to scarpe some mulch away in spring so the tuber is not buried too deep under the soil.
These plants are very greedy and mulching around the root area each year will help maintain some nutrients and water retention but dont ingrore a watering regime also as they need a good drink often.
My plants after about 2 years need a good plant support to help prevent damage if wind, heavy rain etc causes the flowering buds or open flowers to fall over being full of rain water, the foliage looks much nicer too if given support as it looks really nice even after all the flower buds have been removed once flowers have withered, to help the plant build up strength for next years flowers, I remove the dead flowers as I dont want the plant to produce seeds, this can weeken the plant and uses up a lot of energy, I'd rather have the energy going into the tuber for the following year and the making of larger tubers and root system to help stability with wind.
Hope this helps a bit and you enjoy many, many years of beautiful flowers, I have some Peonies that were here before we came and they must be about 50 years old by now. Maybe move the plants to a better area of garden would help too.
Resset567
Englewood, CO

May 9, 2013
1:12 PM

Post #9514716

Red or pink leaves are normal on peony sprouts. Some varieties keep a reddish cast to their foliage all season. See photos below taken a few minutes ago, the young plant with very red shoots and the pair of mature plants, one with red shading on the foliage and the all-green variety behind it.

First: Are both plants the same variety? If not, you may have two double pinks that sprout and grow at different rates.
Second: Do both enjoy the same growing conditions? Same amount of sun, same drainage, same amount of impact from the cedars? Like WeeNel mentions, peonies grow much better with good sunlight. So, if the smaller one is in a shady site, it may have struggled in prior years and this spring it just doesn't have much energy to develop its new foliage. If that's the case, I'd move it now rather than lose it.
Third: Is this the first year you've experience this? I ask because peonies are fussy about the depth at which they are planted. They like the eyes/sprouting points to be 1.5-2" below the soil level. Plant them deeper and while they'll often live, they won't thrive and will be smaller, less robust and often won't bloom.

If these three questions don't provide clues, I'd take a leaf from the smaller plant to a good garden center to have them check for botrytis which is a fungus that tends to shrivel leaves and is particularly prevalent during wet springs.

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angelsinmygarde
Kelowna, BC
(Zone 7a)

May 17, 2013
8:12 AM

Post #9523787

You people have been most helpful. Thank you so much :) The peonies are.( Pink Peony...Paeonia lactiflora 'double pink ) This is what it states on the stick; that came with the peony. The leaves are curled up on one...hmm. and it is much smaller. Yes they are the same plants exactly bought at the same time... But are blooming right now Not open yet; but usually are gorgeous. I will wait til they go through their flowering .I will cut the flowers off. and let them do their thing Til' fall and transplant in a better location and hopefully they can have their way...instead of competing with those ( thirsty thieves)= Pyramid cedars...They are in a sunny location and summers here get very hot usually like a desert climate.
Diana_K said" Could it be competition and leaf litter from the Cedars? what do U mean by this. wouldn't leaf litter be giving the plant nutrients?...This is an awesome question. I do not understand.

I am also afraid of burning things with fertilizer. I did this last year with some rose plants.

We certainly do have active aphids here as the plum trees new growth has curled up leaves...could be something else.But I will either cut off curled leaves on plum tree or...? I live in The Okanagan valley" which has many orchards and vineyards...lots of over-use of pesticide here.!!! many birds and good critters are coming back since the "new chemical laws were changed"

Does anyone have any idea where I could get my plum leaf question answered>? Its costly to spray and I have a Westhighland white terrier who cannot be near chemicals...They have the highest rate of bladder cancers.:(

I am sending a picture of my dog She is 13 yrs old. Her name is Tessa'
Thank you for any comments U have been most helpful
Michelle from sunny Kelowna, British Columbia canada

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WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

May 17, 2013
1:55 PM

Post #9524085

It@s very frustrating when you think there is something wrong with a plant and when you describe your problem we all take a different view of what we imagine so bare with us. As for the curled leaves, My Peonies are not yet in flower here in UK but, some of the foliage as it grows from a tight bud /ball, it starts off curly and as it grows and unfurls, they do look like they are curling up but in fact, they are UN-curling, I could be completely wrong by what you are describing though.

As for the competition from tree's, weeds or other growing plants, Peoney and many other flowering plants especially when they are tuberous or bulbs, don't like to be beside other greedy plants /trees who have much larger / stronger roots that when it rains or you offer any water / feed, these stronger growing plants / tree's will naturally be able to take up all the moisture /feed they require and the likes of flowering plants cant compete with this type of bed fellow.

As Mentioned before, a Peoney is a large tuberous plant and as it grows more each year so does the tuber underground increase in size, so it needs a good rich humus rich soil to sustain the requirements to help it grow those lovely large flower heads and the amount of flowering stems will also increase each year, the humus helps retain moisture when given a watering or rain, and helps air and feeds the tuber too, also they dont like to be burried way under the soil, allow the top of the tuber to be JUST under the top soil. I would leave any transplanting till ALL the foliage has died down at the end of summer so it has less stress to deal with and time to recover and settle down before new growth the next spring.

As regards burning plants with Fertilizers, that normally only happens when the instructions have been miss read and there has been too strong a dosage watered onto the plant, or onto the soil and dug in or watered into the soil, so next time make sure you read all the do's and don't and follow the dosage to the T, it is very easy to over do feeds / fertilizers so your not alone when you worry about this but if in doubt, use half the amount given on the package / bottle as this will do no harm and when your happy the plant is doing good, you can add the next half dose say a week or two later.

Cant help you with fungside for bugs as I try never to use them but there are times when no mater what you use, there's a time when you have to go to the chemical route, I would start spraying with dish washing soap liquid and make this into a watered down liquid to spray onto the plants /shrubs/ tree's etc for the type of things like aphids ( green, white fly ) these cause a sticky substance on the leaves that then attract other insects to feed on this stick stuff called honey fungus, the dish soap kills off these tiny flies IF you keep up the spraying every few days. try this before you use chemicals if you don't like to use them.

Hope this helps you a bit and don't be afraid to get right back if there is anything else missed out.
Best of luck and Kindest Regards.WeeNel.

angelsinmygarde
Kelowna, BC
(Zone 7a)

May 19, 2013
11:19 AM

Post #9525939

Oh, thank you all so much. The Peony s (2) are doing, good. ( in bud to bloom soon ) will post a picture. (Hope it doesn't get windy) And I will transplant in the autumn; I have taken a note in my garden journal, to come back to this page to "refresh...and digest all this info...over. I sure have lots to consider for location. How much sun a day does it need? I have a garden tilled But it is shaded part morning>? I am amending the soil, for some other plants But sure am not going to over crowd.!!

greedy gardener; ha ha ha Michelle :-) I am zone 6 something by the Lake effect.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

May 19, 2013
1:10 PM

Post #9526047

Hi Michelle, your no different from any other gardener I know when it comes to cramming as much as possible into a space we know will need emptied of plants and thinned out within a couple of seasons, but for a couple of Moments in time, boy it looks lovely and something to be proud of Eh !!!!.
I wish I had began a journal way before I started my gardening but, at the time I really never thought how a garden actually became a reflection of the owner, OH well maybe in my next life I will do everything by the book so to speak, YEH right ha, ha, ha.

You sound much more relaxed now and obviously gaining in confidence already and that's wonderful, just make sure you take time to smell the roses, sit down in the garden from time to time and plant what needs done / changed or added to for the following year.
Remember a garden is NEVER finished as we always find a plant new to us or wanted for aged, and so it goes on.
I'm so proud of you for all the work you have achieved and the learning curve you#ve been on had given you new found pleasure.
Please take your time, enjoy and keep in touch with how your doing.
Best regards. WeeNel.
angelsinmygarde
Kelowna, BC
(Zone 7a)

June 3, 2013
4:32 AM

Post #9544140

WeeNel,
Thank you so much for your encouragement.:) Honestly I just now sat down and saw this. ha ha I am getting more confident;) You're right, I have had some success! and Have a spot picked out for my almost blooming peony. Its been cold. so its waiting to come out!! I do keep a journal and my garden has become my sanctuary. Thank goodness I can come here and get encouragement and advice. This is a lovely place to come. Best regard to U all. You can see the ants on the large buds here.

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