Recently, someone asked me a question about a problem they were having with their peony garden. She said that every time her peonies bloom, they grow a sort of fungus all over. Ick!
Apparently, the fungus got so bad that she had to cut down her flowers, which is a major bummer.
The plight of peonies is a problem that plenty of gardeners and plant lovers face. Read on for some tips on how to prevent this common issue from happening to your gorgeous blooms.
Fungus Grows on Peonies?
The fungus that develops on peonies is actually powdery mildew. The mildew usually starts forming in the summer. It tends to start growing on the lower hanging leaves, that will then become dry and discolored.
Soon, a coating will occur on the top of the leaf that looks a bit like powder. When the fungus has spread this far, the leaves may start to dry out and fall off.
It’s a peony lover’s worst nightmare! Luckily, it’s not going to kill your plant–it just causes the leaves to fall prematurely–and there are ways to prevent this nasty substance from taking down your blooms.
How to Stop Peony Fungus
- Don’t panic: An infected peony cannot be “cured.” But if you find a bad leaf, it’s ok. Spray the rest of the plant with fungicide so that the infection doesn’t spread.
- Give them space: Peonies need space, just like people. They need air to grow, breathe and, you know, not attract fungi. Make sure they’re not bunched together and suffocating.
- Clean up any fallen leaves: Fungi survives by clinging to whatever it can. Throw away any leaves that have fallen so there’s no chance they’re spreading infection to other parts of your plants.
- Prepare ahead: If you choose to use fungicides, spraying the plant will stop the infection from spreading, but remember that it won’t cure the plant. It’s best to use fungicide long before you even find a bad leaf.
- Fungi thrive in shady, humid conditions. Make sure your peonies are getting lots of sun. It’s also a good idea to water your peonies in the morning so that the leaves can dry out before nightfall.