Peonies dying off

One-third of my long standing peony plants just died last summer. They did not grow as big as surviving plants, did not set buds, just did not thrive and eventually died. Leaves didn't turn brown and couldn't find signs of infestation. This spring the rest of my peonies didn't look as healthy & had fewer blooms. Any ideas?

Submitted by lacaja

Hi, Well without seeing your peonies in person it's going to be difficult to come up with a specific diagnosis, but the curious thing is that you haven't seen any sign of browning or disease. If that's the case, I begin to suspect two things. First, they might be in need of division. If these peonies have grown very crowded you might want to dig up the remaining clumps this fall and divide the plants. Second, over time, lack of sunlight can cause peonies to go slowly downhill. Often, I find that because peonies stay in one location for years and years that over time a nearby tree has grown close enough to shade them more than the homeowner thinks. Lack of adequate sunlight is probably the main reason peonies don't produce flowers. Also, you don't mention anything about soil moisture conditions or feeding. Have you fed them recently and/or has the soil around them been excessively wet or dry? All of these things could cause problems. Peonies do have a few diseases such as Gray Mold or Phytophthora blight, but both of those conditions manifest themselves in obvious ways such as browning, dying foliage.

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