Black Spots/Shriveling Buds on Peonies

My peony had a couple of beautiful blooms and then the rest of the buds turned dark and shriveled up. How long is the blooming season for this plant and what's wrong with it? It's on the morning side of the house and gets a lot of sun but not much late afternoon sun which I thought was the best for most plants. It's several years old and I have never dug up the bulb to do anything to it. Please advise.
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

What you're describing is a fairly common fungal disease called Botrytis blight. It thrives in wet conditions, and the spores can spread when they are splattered around by rainfall or overhead watering. A fungicide isn't generally necessary. All you need to do is snip off and remove all infected plant parts. Then do a thorough cleanup in fall and spring, removing all plant debris from the ground. The spores won't have a place to hang around and wait to attack the next season's growth.


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