Peony Problems: Tips For Recovering Peony Plants Once Damaged

Pink Peony Plants
(Image credit: Mkovalevskaya)

In any gardener's flower bed, plants can be subject to damage. Whether it be a misplaced garden spade that shears a root ball, a lawn mower running in the wrong place, or an errant dog that digs in the garden, damage to plants happen and problems with peony plants are no exception. When they happen to a peony plant, fixing damaged peonies may be even more frustrating because of their picky nature. So then how do you go about recovering peony plants once they have been damaged? Keep reading to find out how to fix peony damage.

Fixing Damaged Peonies

Peony plants are notoriously finicky, so it is not like you can just plant another one. It may be years before a newly planted peony plant will bloom. So you are at best trying to save a peony plant after it has succumbed to peony damage. When recovering peony plants the first thing to check is the stalks of the plant. Remove any stalks from the plant where the stem is damaged. These can be thrown away or composted. The stalks of a peony plant cannot be rooted, so you cannot use them to grow a new plant. Any stalks that only have leaf damage can be left intact on the plant. If all the stalks need to be removed or were removed as a result of the incident, do not panic. While your peony plant will be affected by this, it does not mean that the plant cannot recover from it. After you have assessed and corrected any problems with the stalks on the peony plant, you will need to check the tubers. Peony plants grow from tubers and these tubers are what you need to be worried about. As long as the tubers are not terribly mangled, they will recover. If any tubers have been dislodged from the soil, rebury them. Make sure that you do not bury them too deeply, however, as peony tubers need to be near the surface. As long as the tubers are replanted correctly, they should heal themselves and will recover fully for the next year. The only major peony damage that may occur is that you may need to wait a year or two for the plant to bloom again. Just because it recovers fully does not mean that it will forgive you for letting peony problems like this happen in the first place. For all of their pickiness and fickleness, peonies are actually very resilient. If your peony plants have been damaged in some accident, chances are that they will recover, so fixing damaged peonies shouldn't be a source of stress. Problems with peony plants happen but learning how to fix peony damage once it occurs will make recovering peony plants an easy task.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.