Why Did Your Peony Buds Dry Up?

Peonies are beautiful, but they’re also rather sensitive flowers that can be affected by the slightest changes in their environment. Sometimes peonies display unfortunate symptoms from a lack of nutrients, and one of those symptoms is drying up.

Your peony buds dried up from either a lack of hydration, a common fungal disease, overfertilization, or excessive heat. You can care for your peonies properly by hydrating the soil, taking preventative measures, and applying correct amounts of fertilization.

The remainder of this article will discuss why your peonies have dried up and how you can mend them back to health. I’ll also discuss how individuals can care for their peonies properly moving forward.

1. Your Peony Buds Dried Up From a Lack of Hydration

Peonies are very sensitive, and the slightest changes in their environment and nutrients can impact their overall wellbeing. One nutrient that is essential for this plant’s survival is water

Peonies should be watered every 1-2 weeks, and peonies that have yet to bloom and are new should receive water more often. New peonies are in their growth phase of establishing their root system. Therefore, water is a significant factor in the health of your peonies. 

If your peonies have begun to dry up from dehydration, the condition of the soil will be off-balance. Unless you’re a professional gardener or have extensively researched how to care for soil, you probably aren’t sure how to tell if your soil is off-balance just by looking at it. Luckily, there are some signs that you can look for.

Here are a few common signs to look out for:

  • There is a top layer of dried-out soil. Peonies do well with loose and moist soil. If your peonies are in dried-up soil, the chances are that they’re dehydrated. The soil will appear hard, lumpy, and dry.
  • The soil underneath the top layer is not moist. You can place a finger in the soil to test it. If the soil feels dry, it’s not a great condition for your peonies.
  • When your soil is tested, it appears off-balance. Sometimes testing the soil is the best way to determine how off-balance it is. A soil test will give you measurements of the acidity, nutrients, and fertilizer information for your soil. 

The Solution 

Dehydration may cause your peonies to dry up, but it doesn’t mean that your peonies will wither and die completely. Luckily, there is a solution to fixing dried-up peonies and the soil that hydrates them. 

First of all, it’s important to check the roots and stems, and trim any decaying parts of the peonies. Decaying and withering plants can sometimes be hard to save, but most peonies will grow back what has decayed once it’s removed. 

Once that’s accomplished, it’s recommended that you test the soil and consult with an expert if needed. The soil test will give you a general overview of your peonies’ condition. 

The soil will need extra amounts of hydration. You should hydrate the soil more than usual without over-watering it. Additionally, it’s best that you avoid watering peonies directly. 

This watering down process should occur for about a week, and then you can do an additional soil test.

2. Your Peony Buds Dried Up From Common Fungal Diseases 

It’s never fun to experience dried-up peonies. For gardeners, this can be a hassle to deal with, especially when the cause is a pest or a disease. 

Fungal diseases are common in peonies, and there are more than a few of them that present themselves in this type of flower. Fungal diseases can lead to unfortunate circumstances rather quickly if they’re not caught in time. 

Here are a couple of the most popular fungal diseases in peonies:

  • Botrytis Blight. This fungal disease, also known as Peony Wilt, is very common in peonies and causes them to turn brown during their budding phase. Unfortunately, if this disease presents itself, flowering will not occur. If you’re unsure if your flowers have this fungal disease, you can check the stems and leaves for purple and brown spots. 
  • Cladosporium Paeoniae Fungus. This fungal disease is harder to find at first because it occurs on the stems and leaves, and most don’t pay attention. Leaf blotch, which shows up as purple and red spots on your plant, can spread throughout the leaves, eventually harming your plant.
  • Phytophthora Blight. Similar to Botrytis Blight, this fungal disease will turn your plant brown and black. However, it will affect the leaves and stems of your flowers rather than the buds. 
  • Bud Blast. Although this isn’t a fungal disease, it’s commonly characterized as one. Bud blast occurs when your flowers stop growing before or after blooming. 

The Solution 

Fungal diseases can create huge problems in gardens, especially when dealing with flowers. However, you can research and gain knowledge on what your flowers need and learn how to prevent diseases from occurring.

Firstly, you should monitor the environment where your garden exists. Certain environmental factors like sunlight, water, humidity, and other plants can create unlikely circumstances that attract fungal diseases.

Unfortunately, fungal diseases can easily spread, especially through the water. It’s important that you ensure that all plants within the garden and soil are healthy and well.

There are certain actions that you can take to help prevent the possibility of fungus. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Check your plants every few days to ensure they are in good health. 
  • Trim back any decaying foliage through every season.
  • Keep your garden full of plants that support each other or only peonies.
  • Water the soil rather than the plant.
  • Keep your peonies dry.
  • Watch the weather conditions and heat.
  • Apply a fungicide for prevention.

3. Your Peony Buds Dried Up From Over-Fertilization

Over-fertilization is an unfortunate situation, and many species of plants are over-fertilized often. However, over-fertilization does not need to be the reason why your flowers decay. Dried-up peonies can easily recover. If not, individuals can replant and mend what has been damaged. 

Fertilizer contains important ingredients that plants need. These ingredients are referred to as the big three:

  • Nitrogen
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus

Peonies do well with a little bit of fertilizer in the spring. However, too much fertilizer can lead to fertilizer burn. Large amounts of fertilizer can harm the soil and roots and dry up your peonies easily.

The main problem with over-fertilization is that it suffocates the root system of a plant, and peonies may struggle to recover from this. Additionally, mending over-fertilization can be a complicated process.

The Solution 

Over-fertilization is never a situation that any gardener wishes to mend. It can create unlikely issues in the entire garden because fertilizer can easily spread.

The best way to solve over-fertilization is to water down the soil and trim out any decaying parts of your peonies. However, it’s essential to remember that the groundwater can expand, impacting other plants and soil.

You should be cautious and careful when fertilizing so over-fertilization doesn’t become an issue. Additionally, when watering down, you can observe and use a soil test to monitor the condition of the soil for all plants in close proximity.

Watering down the soil takes about a week at most.

4. Your Peony Buds Dried Up From Excessive Heat 

Peonies thrive in the sunshine. It would seem peculiar to think that the reason why your peonies are drying up is from the sun, but it’s a possibility. Too much sunlight can create issues for your peonies. 

Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather. Summers, especially in warmer places, can reach high temperatures. If your peonies are exposed to hot and humid temperatures for long periods of time, they can dry out. 

Similar to people, peonies need constant hydration and essential environmental conditions to thrive. 

If you live in a warm area, it’s best to watch over your peonies. Temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) for long periods of time are not ideal for peonies. 

The Solution 

Creating a solution may seem challenging for flowers that are planted in an outdoor dwelling, but there is an ideal and easy way for peonies to mend from excess heat. 

You can create a shaded area for your flowers during warmer months. Using an umbrella is a great option. 

Peonies can withstand heat for one or two days, but they will begin to wilt and dry when exposed to warmth for long lengths of time. Excessive water can help, but it’s best that you practice caution when watering, as overwatering your peonies can create larger issues. 


All in all, peonies are fantastic flowers to have in your garden. They’re easy to care for once in bloom and require just the right amount of attention. However, when your flowers begin to dry up, they can be challenging to mend.

It’s best to research your peonies, find the right environment for them to thrive in, and take preventive measurements when caring for your garden. 

Having the knowledge and extra awareness can make a huge difference in the care of your peonies.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of TheGrowingLeaf.com, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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