My Tree Peony suddenly wilted!

lauralooMay 23, 2005

I bought it about a month ago.. its two buds blossomed beautifully and the plant looked fine. I removed the spent blossoms and I water it when Mother Nature doesnt. The plants leaves started to look less vibrant, not as green, a week or so after the blooms were gone. Yesterday the plant looked fine. Today the thing is wilted. The stems feel brittle like I could break them if I tried, the leaves are hanging down like the moisture has drained from them, but they are still green. The soil around the plant is moist. This is my first peony ever, so Im at a loss. Any idea? Im afraid to go out and look at it tommorrow..

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

The stems normally become somewhat woody and brittle for the tree peonies. Was this a potted one? If so, did it appear potbound when you planted it? If so, it could be that water isn't making to the center of the root mass.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 8:20AM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

If its in a pot and you're sure the soil is moist right through (pick up the pot and see if its heavy) then the roots might have rotted. It might also just be wilting from being in sun and heat. Potted tree peonies just can't grow a big huge root system and so they need some protection. Its normal for the foliage to become duller and possibly marked after flowering, it will usually get quite ratty by the end of the summer.

If its in the ground, you might not be watering deeply enough. Dig a hole just outside the main root area and see if the soil is moist down to about a foot deep. If not, you need to water deeply. Put a trickling hose near the base of the plant and leave it for several hours until the water penetrates down deeply. If the soil is moist right down that far, then you might have root problems.

If the leaves do not perk up overnight then the roots are in trouble. Tree peonies don't like waterlogged roots and they can rot. If this has happened you'll probably lose it. You might want to try digging it up if you're sure that the roots are damaged. Do you know if it is grafted or not? Japanese or Chinese?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 11:42AM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

It also occurred to me that you might have a fungal infection above ground which has rotted off the stems or leaves. Look for signs that stems are blackened or shrivelled at a certain point, or any sign of fuzziness like mould.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 11:45AM
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I need to post a picture of this if I can figure it out.
It is planted in the ground, just out of the shade line of a small japanese maple. I water the peony probably twice a week, plus whatever rain we get. I wouldnt think that was too much because of the nearness of the tree. It was not rootbound when I planted it. It is a japanese peony I believe, called Hatsugarsu. There is a small blackened stem that has never grown on plant, I think it may have been that way when I bought it.. just a small branch on the inside. The entire plant feels brittle, the leaves are green but stiffish like the branches and pointing downward rather dramatically. Im thinking Im going to get it out of the ground as carefully as possible and pot it up to monitor it more closely.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 12:03PM
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