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Shrub peonies not growing full size


I am having issues with my peonies (5 plants all in the same area). The plants are only growing to ~1-2 feet tall. They are all been planted 2 years ago. During the summer the leaves start to turn brown and dry up. I was thinking they get too much sun as they are in full sun and I live in Central Texas.

I currently don't have any pictures as it is winter and the stems and leaves die off and resprout each year.

Any advise on what to do now and spring to maybe amend the soil to fix this issue or any advise on what could cause this? Has anyone else had this issue and how you fixed it?

Thank you


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,737

    What varieties of peonies are you growing ... herbacious peonies don't usually grow very tall ... are they producing flowers? 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,804

    If their leaves and stems disappear underground for winter then they are herbaceous and not what we call tree peonies which are taller and whose woody stems just lose their leaves.

    In my experience, herbaceous perennials like a rich soil to provide the nutrients for all those lovely leaves and big flowers but it needs to be well drained and not too moist especially in winter.  If it's too dry then their foliage will dry up and fade early.  If they have been planted too deep they won't flower nor too shallow either.

    The British RHS offers this growing advice for herbaceous peonies - 

    and this for tree peonies - 

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Many people plant Shrub Peony's without realising they can take up to five years to flower. Plant them with the soil at the top of the growing pot level with the surrounding soil, once in the ground never cover the top of the root ball with anything and feed by mulching around the root ball but not on it. Water twice a week or in Texas probably more often. My Daughter in California gave up trying and went back to fruit trees. It is not impossible the plants should have been grown to suit your climate, most things will grow almost anywhere if we try. Having seen two beautiful lawns grown, one in the African desert and one at the Silver Saddle Ranch in the Nevada Desert all things are possible.

    All shrub Peony's shrivel and die off in late Autumn winter, I leave my Peony's stalks as a frost guard in this country clearing away any dead leaves from the root ball and mulching around it with my own Compost mixed with a hand full of granular fertiliser, Autumn and Spring suffices, with our rain fall watering is only when needed. My Favourite Peony took severn years to flower properly but is now a full bush with lovely blooms that have to be staked as they are very heavy when wet. good Luck.


  • Thanks guys for the info. The peonies I have are indeed herbaceous. I have had a few flowers blooming last year, but only maybe one or 2 blooms. The issue I was concerned with was the height as my gardan looks like nothing is growing due to those plants not growing  I'll try the tips here and see how this year goes.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,737

    The eventual height will depend to a large extent on the variety ... some only grow 18" to 2ft tall, some grow up to 3'.6" or so  ........ but in any case they will not achieve their maximum height until they are mature which will take several years.

    Why not interplant with some taller plants ... delphiniums, aquilegias, thalictrums, are just a few that come to mind. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • While questions are being asked, when is the best time to plant the herbaceous crowns? Now or will the be ok to wait until the tulips and daffs kick in? 

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    I would never plant anything into cold wet soil so wait. You can often warm an area you wish to plant by putting some old carpet or a black plastic down although the best time would be spring.


  • IamweedyIamweedy Posts: 1,364
    Would by "shrub peonies" translate  as what we know in the UK as Tree peonies?.
    Most small peonies are fairly slow growing and are prone to sulk if they are moved.

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

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