How To Save Struggling Peonies

Question From: L. Mullin - Phenix, Virginia, United States
Q: How can I save my peonies? This is the second year in a row that my garden has suffered though too much rain. In the spring, we had several weeks of daily downpours and now that it is "high summer" we have thunder storms with downpours every other day. I lost most of my peony flowers in the spring, but now I am loosing entire plants to mold. I have never mulched my peonies and separate them regularly. I also purchased several new peonies that also are struggling this year. They have large & healthy root bulbs, but every attempt they made to grow resulted in failure. Will these new peonies survive? Will they be able to bloom next year?

A: Peonies do not like to be disturbed and there is no reason to divide them every year. The mold is probably powdery mildew. You can spray them with a fungicide. In fall cut them back and remove all infected material. I cannot control the weather. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy