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Chinese peony
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Chinese peony
Chinese peony
Chinese peony
Chinese peony
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Chinese peony
Paeonia lactiflora
Also known as: Fragrant peony
Chinese peony is a perennial herbaceous bushy plant native to central and eastern Asia. It is highly regarded for its lush, white, pink, or crimson rose-like flowers, with pronounced yellow stamens. White chinese peony was first introduced to England in the mid-18th century, and today there are several hundred cultivars common in temperate gardens around the world.
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Every 1-2 weeks
Water
Sunlight
Full sun
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care guide

Care Guide for Chinese peony

Chinese peony is not a particularly thirsty plant; they do well in most soil types, and they usually only require supplemental watering during the fall and spring (just enough to keep their soil moist). Their flowers and leaves are susceptible to rot and disease, so take care not to overwater or get these parts of the plant too wet, especially during the summer.
Fertilization
Fertilization
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Chinese peony is not a nutrient-hungry plant, but giving them some annual fertilizer can help keep them extra healthy and producing big, colorful blooms. These flowers tend to prefer low-nitrogen (e.g., 5-10-10) fertilizer blends. They take well to bonemeal, too. Feed your chinese peony by adding powder fertilizer to the soil around the stem in late spring.
Trim the diseased, withered leaves once a month.
Loam, Clay, Sand, Chalky, Sandy loam, Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Potting Suggestions
Potting Suggestions
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Needs excellent drainage in pots.
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Questions About Chinese peony

Watering Watering Watering
Pruning Pruning Pruning
Seasonal Care Seasonal Care Seasonal Care
How Much to Water Chinese peony?
When it comes time to water your Chinese peony, you should not be shy about how much water you give. With the first two to three inches of soil dry, this plant will appreciate a long and thorough watering. Supply enough water to soak the soil entirely. The amount of water you add should be enough to cause excess water to flow through the drainage holes at the bottom of your pot. If you don’t see excess water draining from the pot, you have likely underwatered your plant. But do not let the water accumulate inside the soil, which will be very dangerous to the plant as well. Alternatively, a lack of water draining through the pot could indicate poorly draining soils, which is detrimental to the health of this plant and should be avoided. If the plant is outside, 1 inch of rain per week will be sufficient.
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How Often to Water Chinese peony?
If your plant is in a pot. The most precise way to decide whether your Chinese peony needs water is to plunge your finger into the soil. If you notice that the first two to three inches of soil have become dry, it is time to add some water.

If you grow your Chinese peony outdoors in the ground, you can use a similar method to test the soil. Again, when you find that the first few inches of soil have dried out, it is time to add water. During the spring and early fall, this method will often lead you to water this plant about once every week. When extremely hot weather arrives, you may need to increase your watering frequency to about twice or more per week. With that said, mature, well-established the Chinese peony can show an admirable ability to withstand drought.
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How to Water Chinese peony at Different Growth Stages?
The water needs of the Chinese peony can change depending on growth stages as well. For example, when your Chinese peony is in the first few years of its life, or if you have just transplanted it to a new growing location, you will need to give more water than usual. During both of those stages, your Chinese peony will put a lot of energy towards sprouting new roots that will then support future growth. For those roots to perform their best, they need a bit more moisture than they would at a more mature phase. After a few seasons, your Chinese peony will need much less water. Another growth stage in which this plant may need more water is during the bloom period. Flower development can make use of a significant amount of moisture, which is why you might need to give your Chinese peony more water at this time.
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How to Water Chinese peony Through the Seasons?
The Chinese peony will have its highest water needs during the hottest months of the year. During the height of summer, you may need to give this plant water more than once per week, depending on how fast the soil dries out. The opposite is true during the winter. In winter, your plant will enter a dormant phase, in which it will need far less water than usual. In fact, you may not need to water this plant at all during the winter months. However, if you do water during winter, you should not do so more than about once per month. Watering too much at this time will make it more likely that your Chinese peony will contract a disease.
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What Is the Best Way to Water the Chinese peony?
When watering the Chinese peony, you should aim to use filtered water that is at room temperature. Filtered water is better for this plant, as tap water can contain particles that are harmful to its health. The reason that the water should be at room temperature or slightly warmer is that the Chinese peony comes from a warm environment, and cold water can be somewhat of a shock to its system. Also, you should avoid overhead watering for this plant, as it can cause foliage complications. Instead, simply apply your filtered room temperature water to the soil until the soil is entirely soaked. Soaking the soil can be very beneficial for this plant as it moistens the roots and helps them continue to spread through the soil and collect the nutrients they need.
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What Is the Difference between Watering Chinese peony Indoors and Outdoors?
It is most common to grow the Chinese peony indoors for any gardener that does not live in temperate and tropical regions. Those gardeners should consider the fact that soil in a container can dry out a bit faster than ground soil. Also, the presence of drying elements such as air conditioning units can cause your Chinese peony to need water on a more frequent basis as well. if you planted it outside. When that is the case, it’s likely you won’t need to water your Chinese peony very much at all. If you receive rainfall on a regular basis, that may be enough to keep your plant alive. Alternatively, those who grow this plant inside will need to water it more often, as allowing rainwater to soak the soil will not be an option.
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What to Do If Your Water Chinese peony Too Much or Too Little?
Both overwatering and underwatering will be detrimental to the health of your Chinese peony, but overwatering is a far more common issue. When this species receives too much water, its stems and leaves may begin to wilt and turn from green to yellow. Overwatering over a prolonged period may also lead to diseases such as root rot, mold, and mildew, all of which can kill your plant. Underwatering is far less common for the Chinese peony, as this plant has decent drought tolerance. However, underwatering remains a possibility, and when it occurs, you can expect to find that the leaves of your Chinese peony have become brittle and brown.

It is crucial that you notice the signs of overwatering as soon as possible when caring for your Chinese peony. Some of the diseases that arise from overwatering, such as root rot, may not be correctable if you wait too long. If you see early signs of overwatering, you should reduce your watering schedule immediately. You may also want to assess the quality of soil in which your Chinese peony grows. If you find that the soil drains very poorly, you should replace it immediately with a loose, well-draining potting mix. On the other hand, if you find signs that your Chinese peony is receiving too little water, all you need to do is water more regularly until those signs have subsided.
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Common Pests & Diseases

Common issues for Chinese peony based on 10 million real cases
Brown spot
Brown spot Brown spot
Brown spot
This infection can cause brown spots or patches to appear on the plant.
Solutions: In minor cases of brown spot, there isn’t any need to treat the disease. However, if much of the foliage is affected and defoliation occurs, the plant will benefit from getting rid of the infection. It is recommended to start by applying organic treatment options, working up to the more potent synthetic, chemical fungicides if necessary. Organic options won’t kill the fungus, but will prevent it from spreading. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water. Using a spray bottle, spray on tops and bottoms of leaves until the mixture drips off. Repeat every two weeks until existing spots stop enlarging and new spots no longer appear. Spray a copper-based fungicidal soap on the leaves, coating the top and bottom leaf surfaces. Reapply as directed on the product label. Copper penetrates the leaf surface and prevents germination of spores so the fungus cannot spread. Apply an all-purpose fungicide to the entire plant, following the label instructions carefully.
Flower withering
Flower withering Flower withering
Flower withering
Flowers may dry out due to a sudden change in environment or because the plant has completed its normal flowering period.
Solutions: If flower withering is a natural progression due to age, there is nothing that can be done to slow or stop the process. Once hormones within the plant begin the process of senescence, it’s irreversible. For lack of water, immediately water the plant using room temperature rainwater, bottled spring water, or filtered tap water. Water container plants until excess water drains out the bottom; water in-ground plants until the soil is soaked but there isn’t standing water on the surface. In the event of nutritional deficiencies, the best solution is to use a granular or water-soluble liquid fertilizer, and apply it to the soil at about half the recommended dosage. Keep it off the leaves and make sure granular products are watered into the soil well. If the plant is infected with a bacterial or fungal pathogen, there is no course of treatment that cures the diseased plants. The best solution is to remove the infected plants and dispose of the plant material off-site. Do not put in a compost pile.
Wilting after blooming
Wilting after blooming Wilting after blooming
Wilting after blooming
Flowers may wither for a variety of reasons.
Solutions: Check the soil or potting medium. Coarse textures can allow water to drain too rapidly, preventing the plant from taking up enough. If the soil and roots seem very dry, add sphagnum moss or other mediums that hold water. Water according to recommendations for each plant's species. Low humidity can be corrected by misting the plant regularly or placing it near a humidifier. Keeping it near other plants helps, too. Keep the environment consistent in terms of temperature, humidity, and lighting. Keep it away from vents, heaters, and air conditioners, and avoid moving it to locations where it will experience a temperature shock. Hot, dry heat, and cold drafts are problematic for many plants. Especially if the plant is outside, it could be experiencing heat or light stress. Try moving it to a shadier location.
Petal blight
Petal blight Petal blight
Petal blight
Bacterial infections can cause flowers to become soft and rotten.
Solutions: Like other fungal diseases, the progression of petal blight is extremely difficult to stop and impossible to reverse once it infects a plant. The best course of action is to remove all damaged flowers immediately and dispose of them entirely. Do not put them in the compost pile, where spores could grow and spread.
Caterpillars
Caterpillars Caterpillars
Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Solutions: Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers. For severe cases: Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps. For less severe cases: Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Underwatering
Underwatering Underwatering
Underwatering
Leaves may wilt for a variety of reasons.
Solutions: The easiest (and most obvious) way to address underwatering is to fully hydrate the plant. However, this must be done carefully. A common mistake that many gardeners make is to douse their underwatered plants with water. This can overwhelm the roots of the plant and shock its system, something that can be even more damaging than the lack of water to begin with. Instead, water thoroughly and slowly, taking breaks to let the water slowly saturate through the soil to get to the roots. Use room temperature water, as cold water might be too much of a shock. In the future, shorten the time between waterings. A good rule of thumb is to check the soil around each plant daily. If it’s dry to at least two inches down, it’s time to water. If a container plant is repeatedly drying out very quickly, repotting into a slower-draining container might be a good idea, too.
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Brown spot
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Brown spot
This infection can cause brown spots or patches to appear on the plant.
Overview
Overview
Discolored spots on the foliage of plants are one of the most common disease problems people observe. These spots are caused by fungal and bacterial diseases, with most infections related to a fungal pathogen.
Brown spot can occurs on all houseplants, flowering ornamentals, vegetable plants, and leaves of trees, bushes, and shrubs. No plants are resistant to it, and the problem is worse in warm, wet environments. It can occur at any point in the life stage as long as leaves are present.
Small brownish spots appear on the foliage and enlarge as the disease progresses. In severe cases, the plant or tree is weakened when the lesions interrupt photosynthesis or cause defoliation.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
In most cases, brown spot only affects a small percentage of the whole plant, appearing on a small amount of the leaves. A small infection only puts minor stress on the plant. However, if left untreated and the disease progresses over numerous seasons, it will severely impact the health and productivity of the infected specimen.
  • Sporulation begins (reproduction of the fungal spores), and tiny spots appear on leaves.
  • Placement is often random and scattered as diseases are spread through raindrops.
  • May appear on lower leaves and the interior of the plant where humidity is higher.
  • Brown spots enlarge and grow large enough to touch neighboring spots to form a more prominent blotch.
  • Leaf margins may turn yellow.
  • Tiny black dots (fruiting bodies of the fungi) appear in the dead spots.
  • Blotches grow in size until the entire leaf is brown.
  • The leaf falls off the plant.
Severe Symptoms
  • Partial or complete premature defoliation
  • Reduced growth
  • Increased susceptibility to pests and other diseases
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Brown spot, or leaf spot, is a common descriptive term given to several diseases affecting the leaves of plants and trees. Around 85% of diseases exhibiting leaf spots are due to fungus or fungus-like organisms. Sometimes brown spot is caused by a bacterial infection, or insect activity with similar symptoms.
When conditions are warm and the leaf surfaces are wet, fungal spores being transported by wind or rain land on the surface and cling to it. They do not rupture the cell walls but grow in the space between the plant plasma membrane and the plant cell wall. As the spores reproduce, they release toxins and enzymes that cause necrotic spots (i.e., dead tissue) on the leaves, allowing the fungi to consume the products released when the cells degrade.
Solutions
Solutions
In minor cases of brown spot, there isn’t any need to treat the disease. However, if much of the foliage is affected and defoliation occurs, the plant will benefit from getting rid of the infection. It is recommended to start by applying organic treatment options, working up to the more potent synthetic, chemical fungicides if necessary.
Organic options won’t kill the fungus, but will prevent it from spreading.
  1. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water. Using a spray bottle, spray on tops and bottoms of leaves until the mixture drips off. Repeat every two weeks until existing spots stop enlarging and new spots no longer appear.
  2. Spray a copper-based fungicidal soap on the leaves, coating the top and bottom leaf surfaces. Reapply as directed on the product label. Copper penetrates the leaf surface and prevents germination of spores so the fungus cannot spread.
  3. Apply an all-purpose fungicide to the entire plant, following the label instructions carefully.
Prevention
Prevention
Like many other diseases, it is easier to prevent brown spot than cure it, and this is done through cultural practices.
  • Clear fall leaves from the ground before winter to minimize places where fungi and bacteria can overwinter.
  • Maintain good air movement between plants through proper plant spacing.
  • Increase air circulation through the center of plants through pruning.
  • Thoroughly clean all pruning tools after working with diseased plants.
  • Never dispose of disease plant material in a compost pile.
  • Avoid overhead watering to keep moisture off of the foliage.
  • Keep plants healthy by providing adequate sunlight, water, and fertilizer.
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Flower withering
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Flower withering
Flowers may dry out due to a sudden change in environment or because the plant has completed its normal flowering period.
Overview
Overview
Flower withering occurs when flowers become weak, droopy, wilted, or faded until they can’t be revived. During withering, they begin to wrinkle and shrink until the flower becomes completely dry or dead.
Any flowers, regardless of the plant type or the climate they are grown in, are susceptible to withering. It is a worldwide problem across houseplants, herbs, flowering ornamentals, trees, shrubs, garden vegetables, and food crops.
Unlike wilting—which withering is often confused with—withering can be caused by different things and is often due to more than a lack of water. Withering can be fatal in severe cases.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Flower withering progresses from very mild cases to severe occurrences that kill the flower. The severity of the symptoms is related to the cause and how long the condition is allowed to progress before action is taken.
  • Wilted, droopy flowers
  • Petals and leaves begin to wrinkle
  • Brown papery streaks or spots appear on the petals and leaf tips
  • Flowerhead shrink in size
  • Petal color fades
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Complete death of the flower
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
The main causes of flower withering include natural age progress, lack of water, nutritional deficiencies, and bacterial or fungal diseases. It’s critical to determine the underlying cause when flower withering is noticed. This will guide the best course of action, if treatment is possible.
Check the soil for moisture and then closely examine the entire plant for signs of nutrient deficiencies. If neither of those appears to be the cause then cut open the stem below a flower. If a cross-section reveals brown or rust-colored stains it is safe to assume that this is a bacterial or fungal infection.
If the flower is nearing the end of its normal lifespan, genetic coding within the plant increases the production of ethylene, a phytohormone that controls senescence, or cell aging and death. Cell division stops and the plant begins breaking down resources within the flower to use in other parts of the plant.
In all other cases, flower withering happens when the plant seals off the stem as a defense mechanism, stopping transport within the vascular system. This prevents further water loss through the flowers but also stops bacteria and fungi from moving to healthy parts of the plant. Once water and nutrient transport stops, the flower begins to wither and ultimately die.
Solutions
Solutions
If flower withering is a natural progression due to age, there is nothing that can be done to slow or stop the process. Once hormones within the plant begin the process of senescence, it’s irreversible.
For lack of water, immediately water the plant using room temperature rainwater, bottled spring water, or filtered tap water. Water container plants until excess water drains out the bottom; water in-ground plants until the soil is soaked but there isn’t standing water on the surface.
In the event of nutritional deficiencies, the best solution is to use a granular or water-soluble liquid fertilizer, and apply it to the soil at about half the recommended dosage. Keep it off the leaves and make sure granular products are watered into the soil well.
If the plant is infected with a bacterial or fungal pathogen, there is no course of treatment that cures the diseased plants. The best solution is to remove the infected plants and dispose of the plant material off-site. Do not put in a compost pile.
Prevention
Prevention
This is definitely one of those instances where prevention is more effective than cure. Here are some preventative measures for avoiding premature flower withering.
  • Water plants according to their needs -- either keep the soil slightly moist or allow the top inch or two to dry out before watering again.
  • Fertilize lightly on a consistent basis, depending upon the plant’s growth. Quick-growing plants and those that flower or develop fruit will need more frequent fertilizing than slow-growing plants.
  • Purchase plants that are certified disease- or pathogen-free.
  • Look for disease-resistant cultivars.
  • Isolate plants showing disease symptoms to prevent the spread to neighboring plants.
  • Practice good plant hygiene by removing any fallen plant material as soon as possible.
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Wilting after blooming
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Wilting after blooming
Flowers may wither for a variety of reasons.
Overview
Overview
Wilting after blooming is sometimes a natural aging process of the flower, while other times it may indicate a problem. Orchids, for example, can bloom for anywhere from two weeks to three months, so wilting after a few days signals a problem for most varieties. This can happen to virtually any ornamental flowering plant, but those with shallow roots and limited tolerance for drought, full sun, and low humidity are more susceptible.
This is a common problem, and often has an easy fix. Sometimes, however, it is the result of more serious causes such as pests or disease of the root system.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
  • At first, flowers may look a little limp.
  • Petals may start to appear dried out and turn brown.
  • Eventually they may drop off the plant all together.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Wilting blooms can be a sign of an unhealthy root system. Any condition that prevents the plant from absorbing enough water and nutrition can result in wilting blooms and sometimes other symptoms. If the plant doesn’t have enough water, it cannot maintain appropriate pressure within stems, leaves, and blooms, causing them to wilt.
This can result from physical damage – for example from root breakage during re-potting or attack by insects like cutworms. If you recently re-potted your plant, physical damage to the roots is a likely cause. If you see insects, they may be eating leaves, roots, or flowers. Fungal infections can also cause root rot and damage, preventing water and nutrient uptake.
Finally, wilting blooms can result simply from age. If no other symptoms are visible, it may simply signal the natural end of the flower’s lifespan. If it seems premature, this may be caused by environmental factors: water, humidity, light, or stress. Under-watering is a common cause. Similarly, plants adapted to high humidity dry out easily when humidity is low, like during winter or in dry climates. Too much light can also stress plants that need shade, causing blooms to wilt.
Solutions
Solutions
  • Check the soil or potting medium. Coarse textures can allow water to drain too rapidly, preventing the plant from taking up enough. If the soil and roots seem very dry, add sphagnum moss or other mediums that hold water.
  • Water according to recommendations for each plant's species.
  • Low humidity can be corrected by misting the plant regularly or placing it near a humidifier. Keeping it near other plants helps, too.
  • Keep the environment consistent in terms of temperature, humidity, and lighting. Keep it away from vents, heaters, and air conditioners, and avoid moving it to locations where it will experience a temperature shock. Hot, dry heat, and cold drafts are problematic for many plants.
  • Especially if the plant is outside, it could be experiencing heat or light stress. Try moving it to a shadier location.
Prevention
Prevention
  • Read up on moisture, light, and soil type preferences for each plant to avoid underwatering, incorrect light levels, or other conditions that can cause wilting blooms.
  • Avoid re-potting during the flowering period. This causes additional stress on the plants because they need to repair root damage and adapt to the new micro-environment, all of which can result in wilting.
  • One other potential cause is ethylene gas, a plant hormone related to ripening. Some fruits and vegetables emit ethylene, especially bananas. Apples, grapes, melons, avocados, and potatoes can also give it off, so keep flowering plants away from fresh produce.
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Petal blight
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Petal blight
Bacterial infections can cause flowers to become soft and rotten.
Overview
Overview
Petal blight, sometimes called flower blight, is a fungal disease that only affects the blooms of some ornamental flowering plants. As the infection progresses, it destroys the flower, yet it never damages the vegetative or green parts of the plant.
When flowers are infected, the symptoms look similar to Botrytis blight, but Botrytis also infects dead or dormant vegetative tissue.
The disease was first discovered in Japanese plants in 1919 and in the US in the late 1930s. Presently it is also found in New Zealand, Australia, and parts of Europe. Unfortunately, no plants have high resistance to petal blight, but specific cultivars are more susceptible than others, particularly species with double blooms.
Petal blight infection rates are high when temperatures are mild to warm (optimum temperatures are 15 - 21 ℃) and the weather is misty or rainy.
Overall, petal blight is an aesthetic problem that ruins blossoms. The disease is not harmful to the long-term health of the plant.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
The severity of the symptoms varies, depending upon the species of plant infected. Signs of petal blight are commonly seen on the blooms just after they open.
  • Pallid spots on colored petals.
  • Brown spots on white petals.
  • Browning around the petal edges.
  • Small spots look water-soaked.
  • Spots rapidly enlarge and merge.
  • Flowers become limp.
  • The entire flower turns light brown, but does not crumble.
  • Flowers become slimy at first and then take on a leathery texture.
  • A ring of white or gray mycelium can be seen at the base of the petals.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Petal blight is caused by several different fungi, with each type infecting specific plants. Ovulinia azalea infects azaleas species and cultivars, and rhododendrons. Ciborinia camelliae infects camellia cultivars.
Shortly after blooming, the fungus infects the base of the flowers by the calyx. The fungus produces cell wall-degrading enzymes that destroy flowers within a couple of days. When the flowers fall to the ground, the fungus' hard fruiting bodies fall to the soil as well, overwintering until the following spring.
When temperatures hit the optimum range the following season, spores are transmitted by insects or can spread on wind currents up to about 12 miles. Once in the soil, the pathogen can be active for three to five years.
Solutions
Solutions
Like other fungal diseases, the progression of petal blight is extremely difficult to stop and impossible to reverse once it infects a plant. The best course of action is to remove all damaged flowers immediately and dispose of them entirely. Do not put them in the compost pile, where spores could grow and spread.
Prevention
Prevention
  • Apply a preventative dose of fungicide as soon as blooms start to show color on the plant. The preventative can be applied as a soil drench or directly to the flowers on the plant.
  • Avoid overhead watering during blooming.
  • Remove any leaf litter and dead flowers at the end of the season.
  • Cover the ground under infected plants with 4” of fresh organic mulch before winter, taking care not to disturb the infected soil.
  • Buy bare-root specimens when available.
  • When potted plants are purchased, remove the top layer of potting soil and replace it with fresh mulch.
  • Plant cultivars that bloom early in the season before the temperatures get high enough for petal blight pathogens to be spreading.
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Caterpillars
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Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Overview
Overview
Caterpillars can cause problems for home gardeners. If not managed, these insects can defoliate a plant in just a matter of days. However, home gardeners face a challenge because these caterpillars eventually turn into beautiful butterflies and moths, which are important for pollination and the general ecosystem.
There are thousands of different species of caterpillars and many will only target certain plants. If caterpillars are posing a problem, they can be removed by hand, or gardeners can use insect-proof netting to protect their valuable plants.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths. During the warmer months, butterflies and moths that visit gardens will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves.
When the tiny eggs hatch, the young larvae emerge and start feeding on the leaves of the plant. Depending on how many larvae have hatched, they can easily defoliate the plant in a very short period of time. Caterpillars will shed their skin as they grow, around 4 or 5 times during this feeding cycle.
Symptoms of caterpillars eating plants appear as holes in the leaves. The edges of the leaves may be eaten away as well, and flowers can be affected as well.
Some are easy to see, but others need to be searched for. This is because their bodies are often camouflaged to look like part of the plant. Gardeners need to look carefully along the stems of the plant as well as under the leaves. Also, look for tiny white, yellow, or brown eggs that can be found in groups on the underside of leaves.
Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it transforms into a pupa or chrysalis. Then, after a period of time that varies according to the species, a butterfly or moth will emerge from the pupa and the cycle begins again.
Solutions
Solutions
Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers.
For severe cases:
  1. Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects.
  2. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans.
  3. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps.
For less severe cases:
  1. Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water.
  2. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Prevention
Prevention
Prevention may require less effort than attempts to eradicate infestations that have already begun. Here are our top steps for prevention:
  1. Monitor plants. Check plants regularly for caterpillar eggs on leaves. If they do not belong to an endangered species, they should be squished.
  2. Use insect netting. Cover plants with insect netting to prevent butterflies and moths from laying eggs on plants.
  3. Apply diatomaceous earth. Apply DE to plants early in the season and reapply after rain.
  4. Encourage plant diversity. This will attract predatory insects including parasitic wasps.
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Underwatering
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Underwatering
Leaves may wilt for a variety of reasons.
Overview
Overview
Underwatering plants is one of the quickest ways to kill them. This is something that most gardeners are well aware of. Unfortunately, knowing exactly how much water a plant needs can be tricky, especially considering that underwatering and overwatering present similar symptoms in plants.
Therefore, it’s important to be vigilant and attentive to each plants’ individual needs.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
As mentioned earlier, overwatering and underwatering present similar symptoms in plants. These symptoms include poor growth, wilted leaves, defoliation, and brown leaf tips or margins. Ultimately, both underwatering and overwatering can lead to the death of a plant.
The easiest way to determine whether a plant has too much water or too little is to look at the leaves. If underwatering is the culprit, the leaves will look brown and crunchy, while if it’s overwatering, they will appear yellow or a pale green in color.
When this issue first begins, there may be no noticeable symptoms at all, particularly in hardy or drought-tolerant plants. However, they will begin to wilt once they start suffering from a lack of water. The edges of the plant’s leaves will become brown or curled. Soil pulling away from the edges of the planter is a telltale sign, or a crispy, brittle stem.
Prolonged underwatering can cause a plant’s growth to become stunted. The leaves might drop and the plant can be more susceptible to pest infestations, too.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Underwatering is caused by, quite simply, not watering plants often or deeply enough. There is a heightened risk of underwatering if any of these situations apply:
  • Extreme heat and dry weather (when growing outdoors)
  • Grow lights or indoor lighting that is too bright or intense for the type of plant
  • Using fast-draining growing media such as sand
Solutions
Solutions
The easiest (and most obvious) way to address underwatering is to fully hydrate the plant. However, this must be done carefully. A common mistake that many gardeners make is to douse their underwatered plants with water. This can overwhelm the roots of the plant and shock its system, something that can be even more damaging than the lack of water to begin with.
Instead, water thoroughly and slowly, taking breaks to let the water slowly saturate through the soil to get to the roots. Use room temperature water, as cold water might be too much of a shock.
In the future, shorten the time between waterings. A good rule of thumb is to check the soil around each plant daily. If it’s dry to at least two inches down, it’s time to water. If a container plant is repeatedly drying out very quickly, repotting into a slower-draining container might be a good idea, too.
Prevention
Prevention
Always check the soil before watering. If the top inch of soil feels moist, though not wet, the watering is perfect. If it’s dry, water it immediately. If it feels soggy, you avoid watering until it dries out a bit more.
Also, make sure the lighting is sufficient for the species. Plants grow faster and need more water when there is intense light or lots of heat. Being aware of these conditions and modifying them, if possible, is a good way to prevent underwatering. Many container plants are potted in soil mixtures mean to be well-draining. Adding materials that retain moisture, like compost or peat moss, can also prevent these symptoms.
Other tips to prevent underwatering include:
  • Choose pots with adequately-sized drainage holes
  • Avoid warm temperatures
  • Use large pots with additional soil (these take longer to dry out)
  • Avoid terracotta pots, which lose water quickly
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distribution

Distribution Map

Habitat

Dry open stony slopes, riverbanks, sparse woodland edges, woods, grasslands
distribution map
Native
Cultivated
Invasive
Potentially invasive
Exotic
No species reported
habit
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More Info

Plant Type
Plant Type
Herb, Shrub
Flower Color
Flower Color
White
Pink
Yellow
Red
Bloom Time
Bloom Time
Spring
Leaf Color
Leaf Color
Green

Name story

Common garden peony
As an ornamental plant, it happens to have up to hundreds of different species varying in color, size and appearance. Any of the varieties add beauty to any garden. Considering it is commonly planted in gardens, it is called the common garden peony. Interestingly, the word “peony” is derived from the Latin name “paeonia”.

Symbolism

Have a heart, beautiful and moving, reluctant, inseparable, honor, good fortune

Usages

Artistic Value
The Chinese peony is one of the ten famous flowers in China, and is often used as the theme of painting and poetry.
Garden Use
Chinese peony is one of the most common perennial flowers, found in gardens across temperate climates. Chinese peony is renowned for its large, showy flowers and beautiful array of colors. Its strong stem makes it great as a cut flower, and the wide variety of cultivars make for great borders, specimen plants, cottage or urban gardens, and more. It works well with alliums, roses, and bearded irises.
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Related Plants

Rainbow tree
Rainbow tree
The rainbow tree (Dracaena angustifolia) is native to Asia and is a member of the asparagus family that grows in the understories of tropical forests. Ornamentally, it can function both as an indoor and outdoor shrub. Substances from the rainbow tree can be used to create green dye.
Bloom Time
Summer
Garden Usage
Dracaena plants of Asparagaceae (Dracaena spp.) are excellent indoor ornamental plants, easy to maintain. They can be evergreen and grow slowly with a continuous water supply and proper filtered light ensured. The leaves of corn plants are often used to decorate flower bouquets; the lucky bamboo can be used for decoration as a hydroponic plant, and the gold dust can be planted outdoors as bushes.
Indian banyan
Indian banyan
Indian banyan (Ficus benghalensis) is a tree species that germinates in cracks and crevices of other trees or structures. Indian banyan grows by emitting aerial roots and forming a canopy. The indian banyan is the national tree of the Republic of India and has religious significance.
Bloom Time
All year around
Garden Usage
Plants of genus Ficus are often used in arbors and shrubs, as it usually grows large. If it is planted in a garden, choose a wide plot to give it enough space. It can also be planted in a flowerpot and maintained indoors at early stages, and transplanted to a garden later on. Its attractive green leaves require a warm, humid environment; we consider it a medium level difficulty plant to care.
Pinwheel flower
Pinwheel flower
Pinwheel flower (Tabernaemontana divaricata) is an evergreen shrub that can grow to 2.5 m tall. White, pinwheel-shaped flowers with a carnation-like fragrance bloom year-round. Easy to grow in light shade to full sun. Popular as a backdrop for gardens and as a natural hedge.
Bloom Time
Spring, summer
Common globe amaranth
Common globe amaranth
Common globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) is an edible flowering plant native to Central America. Other common names for common globe amaranth are the makhmali and vadamalli. Common globe amaranth is commonly cultivated in landscaping for its bright colors, and is used in leis in Hawaii. Common globe amaranth attracts insects, including butterflies and bees.
Bloom Time
Summer, autumn
Garden Usage
The common globe amaranth is commonly planted at the front of borders, where it fills in any gaps left behind by spring bulbs. However, newly-bred varieties have given gardeners more options, with this plant now being used more creatively. No matter the variety you choose, the common globe amaranth is a strong and resilient plant that is extremely easy to care for and requires little maintenance once established., The common globe amaranth produces colorful flowers in purples, whites, and oranges, with all varieties having a long blooming time. In addition to brightening up the garden, these gorgeous blooms are also popular cut flowers, and last for several years when used in dried flower arrangements.
Mistletoe cactus
Mistletoe cactus
Mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera) is a species found in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Florida. Mistletoe cactus is the only cactus species that occurs naturally outside the New World. It is hypothesized that it was seeded in Africa by migratory birds traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. This species is considered easy to maintain as a houseplant and is often grown as a houseplant in hanging planters.
Bloom Time
All year around
Garden Usage
Cactus are popular choices to plant in pots or in gardens for ornamental effect. They often have succulent stems, are commonly covered with thorns, and give delicate flowers. Most plants of Cactaceae family are resistant to drought, need sufficient sunlight, and are easy to care for.
Cape marguerite
Cape marguerite
Osteospermum ecklonis, commonly known as cape marguerite, is an evergreen, perennial small shrub with typical daisy-shaped white or purple flowers. It is cultivated as an ornamental in containers and borders. Flowers of this lovely plant are often visited by bees and other pollinators.
Bloom Time
Summer, autumn
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Chinese peony
Chinese peony
Chinese peony
Chinese peony
Chinese peony
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Chinese peony
Paeonia lactiflora
Also known as: Fragrant peony
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Every 1-2 weeks
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Sunlight
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Common Pests & Diseases

Common issues for Chinese peony based on 10 million real cases
Brown spot
Brown spot  Brown spot  Brown spot
This infection can cause brown spots or patches to appear on the plant.
Solutions: In minor cases of brown spot, there isn’t any need to treat the disease. However, if much of the foliage is affected and defoliation occurs, the plant will benefit from getting rid of the infection. It is recommended to start by applying organic treatment options, working up to the more potent synthetic, chemical fungicides if necessary. Organic options won’t kill the fungus, but will prevent it from spreading. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water. Using a spray bottle, spray on tops and bottoms of leaves until the mixture drips off. Repeat every two weeks until existing spots stop enlarging and new spots no longer appear. Spray a copper-based fungicidal soap on the leaves, coating the top and bottom leaf surfaces. Reapply as directed on the product label. Copper penetrates the leaf surface and prevents germination of spores so the fungus cannot spread. Apply an all-purpose fungicide to the entire plant, following the label instructions carefully.
Learn More more
Flower withering
Flower withering  Flower withering  Flower withering
Flowers may dry out due to a sudden change in environment or because the plant has completed its normal flowering period.
Solutions: If flower withering is a natural progression due to age, there is nothing that can be done to slow or stop the process. Once hormones within the plant begin the process of senescence, it’s irreversible. For lack of water, immediately water the plant using room temperature rainwater, bottled spring water, or filtered tap water. Water container plants until excess water drains out the bottom; water in-ground plants until the soil is soaked but there isn’t standing water on the surface. In the event of nutritional deficiencies, the best solution is to use a granular or water-soluble liquid fertilizer, and apply it to the soil at about half the recommended dosage. Keep it off the leaves and make sure granular products are watered into the soil well. If the plant is infected with a bacterial or fungal pathogen, there is no course of treatment that cures the diseased plants. The best solution is to remove the infected plants and dispose of the plant material off-site. Do not put in a compost pile.
Learn More more
Wilting after blooming
Wilting after blooming  Wilting after blooming  Wilting after blooming
Flowers may wither for a variety of reasons.
Solutions: Check the soil or potting medium. Coarse textures can allow water to drain too rapidly, preventing the plant from taking up enough. If the soil and roots seem very dry, add sphagnum moss or other mediums that hold water. Water according to recommendations for each plant's species. Low humidity can be corrected by misting the plant regularly or placing it near a humidifier. Keeping it near other plants helps, too. Keep the environment consistent in terms of temperature, humidity, and lighting. Keep it away from vents, heaters, and air conditioners, and avoid moving it to locations where it will experience a temperature shock. Hot, dry heat, and cold drafts are problematic for many plants. Especially if the plant is outside, it could be experiencing heat or light stress. Try moving it to a shadier location.
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Petal blight
Petal blight  Petal blight  Petal blight
Bacterial infections can cause flowers to become soft and rotten.
Solutions: Like other fungal diseases, the progression of petal blight is extremely difficult to stop and impossible to reverse once it infects a plant. The best course of action is to remove all damaged flowers immediately and dispose of them entirely. Do not put them in the compost pile, where spores could grow and spread.
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Caterpillars
Caterpillars  Caterpillars  Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Solutions: Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers. For severe cases: Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps. For less severe cases: Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Learn More more
Underwatering
Underwatering  Underwatering  Underwatering
Leaves may wilt for a variety of reasons.
Solutions: The easiest (and most obvious) way to address underwatering is to fully hydrate the plant. However, this must be done carefully. A common mistake that many gardeners make is to douse their underwatered plants with water. This can overwhelm the roots of the plant and shock its system, something that can be even more damaging than the lack of water to begin with. Instead, water thoroughly and slowly, taking breaks to let the water slowly saturate through the soil to get to the roots. Use room temperature water, as cold water might be too much of a shock. In the future, shorten the time between waterings. A good rule of thumb is to check the soil around each plant daily. If it’s dry to at least two inches down, it’s time to water. If a container plant is repeatedly drying out very quickly, repotting into a slower-draining container might be a good idea, too.
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Brown spot
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Brown spot
This infection can cause brown spots or patches to appear on the plant.
Overview
Overview
Discolored spots on the foliage of plants are one of the most common disease problems people observe. These spots are caused by fungal and bacterial diseases, with most infections related to a fungal pathogen.
Brown spot can occurs on all houseplants, flowering ornamentals, vegetable plants, and leaves of trees, bushes, and shrubs. No plants are resistant to it, and the problem is worse in warm, wet environments. It can occur at any point in the life stage as long as leaves are present.
Small brownish spots appear on the foliage and enlarge as the disease progresses. In severe cases, the plant or tree is weakened when the lesions interrupt photosynthesis or cause defoliation.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
In most cases, brown spot only affects a small percentage of the whole plant, appearing on a small amount of the leaves. A small infection only puts minor stress on the plant. However, if left untreated and the disease progresses over numerous seasons, it will severely impact the health and productivity of the infected specimen.
  • Sporulation begins (reproduction of the fungal spores), and tiny spots appear on leaves.
  • Placement is often random and scattered as diseases are spread through raindrops.
  • May appear on lower leaves and the interior of the plant where humidity is higher.
  • Brown spots enlarge and grow large enough to touch neighboring spots to form a more prominent blotch.
  • Leaf margins may turn yellow.
  • Tiny black dots (fruiting bodies of the fungi) appear in the dead spots.
  • Blotches grow in size until the entire leaf is brown.
  • The leaf falls off the plant.
Severe Symptoms
  • Partial or complete premature defoliation
  • Reduced growth
  • Increased susceptibility to pests and other diseases
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Brown spot, or leaf spot, is a common descriptive term given to several diseases affecting the leaves of plants and trees. Around 85% of diseases exhibiting leaf spots are due to fungus or fungus-like organisms. Sometimes brown spot is caused by a bacterial infection, or insect activity with similar symptoms.
When conditions are warm and the leaf surfaces are wet, fungal spores being transported by wind or rain land on the surface and cling to it. They do not rupture the cell walls but grow in the space between the plant plasma membrane and the plant cell wall. As the spores reproduce, they release toxins and enzymes that cause necrotic spots (i.e., dead tissue) on the leaves, allowing the fungi to consume the products released when the cells degrade.
Solutions
Solutions
In minor cases of brown spot, there isn’t any need to treat the disease. However, if much of the foliage is affected and defoliation occurs, the plant will benefit from getting rid of the infection. It is recommended to start by applying organic treatment options, working up to the more potent synthetic, chemical fungicides if necessary.
Organic options won’t kill the fungus, but will prevent it from spreading.
  1. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water. Using a spray bottle, spray on tops and bottoms of leaves until the mixture drips off. Repeat every two weeks until existing spots stop enlarging and new spots no longer appear.
  2. Spray a copper-based fungicidal soap on the leaves, coating the top and bottom leaf surfaces. Reapply as directed on the product label. Copper penetrates the leaf surface and prevents germination of spores so the fungus cannot spread.
  3. Apply an all-purpose fungicide to the entire plant, following the label instructions carefully.
Prevention
Prevention
Like many other diseases, it is easier to prevent brown spot than cure it, and this is done through cultural practices.
  • Clear fall leaves from the ground before winter to minimize places where fungi and bacteria can overwinter.
  • Maintain good air movement between plants through proper plant spacing.
  • Increase air circulation through the center of plants through pruning.
  • Thoroughly clean all pruning tools after working with diseased plants.
  • Never dispose of disease plant material in a compost pile.
  • Avoid overhead watering to keep moisture off of the foliage.
  • Keep plants healthy by providing adequate sunlight, water, and fertilizer.
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Flower withering
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Flower withering
Flowers may dry out due to a sudden change in environment or because the plant has completed its normal flowering period.
Overview
Overview
Flower withering occurs when flowers become weak, droopy, wilted, or faded until they can’t be revived. During withering, they begin to wrinkle and shrink until the flower becomes completely dry or dead.
Any flowers, regardless of the plant type or the climate they are grown in, are susceptible to withering. It is a worldwide problem across houseplants, herbs, flowering ornamentals, trees, shrubs, garden vegetables, and food crops.
Unlike wilting—which withering is often confused with—withering can be caused by different things and is often due to more than a lack of water. Withering can be fatal in severe cases.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Flower withering progresses from very mild cases to severe occurrences that kill the flower. The severity of the symptoms is related to the cause and how long the condition is allowed to progress before action is taken.
  • Wilted, droopy flowers
  • Petals and leaves begin to wrinkle
  • Brown papery streaks or spots appear on the petals and leaf tips
  • Flowerhead shrink in size
  • Petal color fades
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Complete death of the flower
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
The main causes of flower withering include natural age progress, lack of water, nutritional deficiencies, and bacterial or fungal diseases. It’s critical to determine the underlying cause when flower withering is noticed. This will guide the best course of action, if treatment is possible.
Check the soil for moisture and then closely examine the entire plant for signs of nutrient deficiencies. If neither of those appears to be the cause then cut open the stem below a flower. If a cross-section reveals brown or rust-colored stains it is safe to assume that this is a bacterial or fungal infection.
If the flower is nearing the end of its normal lifespan, genetic coding within the plant increases the production of ethylene, a phytohormone that controls senescence, or cell aging and death. Cell division stops and the plant begins breaking down resources within the flower to use in other parts of the plant.
In all other cases, flower withering happens when the plant seals off the stem as a defense mechanism, stopping transport within the vascular system. This prevents further water loss through the flowers but also stops bacteria and fungi from moving to healthy parts of the plant. Once water and nutrient transport stops, the flower begins to wither and ultimately die.
Solutions
Solutions
If flower withering is a natural progression due to age, there is nothing that can be done to slow or stop the process. Once hormones within the plant begin the process of senescence, it’s irreversible.
For lack of water, immediately water the plant using room temperature rainwater, bottled spring water, or filtered tap water. Water container plants until excess water drains out the bottom; water in-ground plants until the soil is soaked but there isn’t standing water on the surface.
In the event of nutritional deficiencies, the best solution is to use a granular or water-soluble liquid fertilizer, and apply it to the soil at about half the recommended dosage. Keep it off the leaves and make sure granular products are watered into the soil well.
If the plant is infected with a bacterial or fungal pathogen, there is no course of treatment that cures the diseased plants. The best solution is to remove the infected plants and dispose of the plant material off-site. Do not put in a compost pile.
Prevention
Prevention
This is definitely one of those instances where prevention is more effective than cure. Here are some preventative measures for avoiding premature flower withering.
  • Water plants according to their needs -- either keep the soil slightly moist or allow the top inch or two to dry out before watering again.
  • Fertilize lightly on a consistent basis, depending upon the plant’s growth. Quick-growing plants and those that flower or develop fruit will need more frequent fertilizing than slow-growing plants.
  • Purchase plants that are certified disease- or pathogen-free.
  • Look for disease-resistant cultivars.
  • Isolate plants showing disease symptoms to prevent the spread to neighboring plants.
  • Practice good plant hygiene by removing any fallen plant material as soon as possible.
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Wilting after blooming
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Wilting after blooming
Flowers may wither for a variety of reasons.
Overview
Overview
Wilting after blooming is sometimes a natural aging process of the flower, while other times it may indicate a problem. Orchids, for example, can bloom for anywhere from two weeks to three months, so wilting after a few days signals a problem for most varieties. This can happen to virtually any ornamental flowering plant, but those with shallow roots and limited tolerance for drought, full sun, and low humidity are more susceptible.
This is a common problem, and often has an easy fix. Sometimes, however, it is the result of more serious causes such as pests or disease of the root system.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
  • At first, flowers may look a little limp.
  • Petals may start to appear dried out and turn brown.
  • Eventually they may drop off the plant all together.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Wilting blooms can be a sign of an unhealthy root system. Any condition that prevents the plant from absorbing enough water and nutrition can result in wilting blooms and sometimes other symptoms. If the plant doesn’t have enough water, it cannot maintain appropriate pressure within stems, leaves, and blooms, causing them to wilt.
This can result from physical damage – for example from root breakage during re-potting or attack by insects like cutworms. If you recently re-potted your plant, physical damage to the roots is a likely cause. If you see insects, they may be eating leaves, roots, or flowers. Fungal infections can also cause root rot and damage, preventing water and nutrient uptake.
Finally, wilting blooms can result simply from age. If no other symptoms are visible, it may simply signal the natural end of the flower’s lifespan. If it seems premature, this may be caused by environmental factors: water, humidity, light, or stress. Under-watering is a common cause. Similarly, plants adapted to high humidity dry out easily when humidity is low, like during winter or in dry climates. Too much light can also stress plants that need shade, causing blooms to wilt.
Solutions
Solutions
  • Check the soil or potting medium. Coarse textures can allow water to drain too rapidly, preventing the plant from taking up enough. If the soil and roots seem very dry, add sphagnum moss or other mediums that hold water.
  • Water according to recommendations for each plant's species.
  • Low humidity can be corrected by misting the plant regularly or placing it near a humidifier. Keeping it near other plants helps, too.
  • Keep the environment consistent in terms of temperature, humidity, and lighting. Keep it away from vents, heaters, and air conditioners, and avoid moving it to locations where it will experience a temperature shock. Hot, dry heat, and cold drafts are problematic for many plants.
  • Especially if the plant is outside, it could be experiencing heat or light stress. Try moving it to a shadier location.
Prevention
Prevention
  • Read up on moisture, light, and soil type preferences for each plant to avoid underwatering, incorrect light levels, or other conditions that can cause wilting blooms.
  • Avoid re-potting during the flowering period. This causes additional stress on the plants because they need to repair root damage and adapt to the new micro-environment, all of which can result in wilting.
  • One other potential cause is ethylene gas, a plant hormone related to ripening. Some fruits and vegetables emit ethylene, especially bananas. Apples, grapes, melons, avocados, and potatoes can also give it off, so keep flowering plants away from fresh produce.
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Petal blight
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Petal blight
Bacterial infections can cause flowers to become soft and rotten.
Overview
Overview
Petal blight, sometimes called flower blight, is a fungal disease that only affects the blooms of some ornamental flowering plants. As the infection progresses, it destroys the flower, yet it never damages the vegetative or green parts of the plant.
When flowers are infected, the symptoms look similar to Botrytis blight, but Botrytis also infects dead or dormant vegetative tissue.
The disease was first discovered in Japanese plants in 1919 and in the US in the late 1930s. Presently it is also found in New Zealand, Australia, and parts of Europe. Unfortunately, no plants have high resistance to petal blight, but specific cultivars are more susceptible than others, particularly species with double blooms.
Petal blight infection rates are high when temperatures are mild to warm (optimum temperatures are 15 - 21 ℃) and the weather is misty or rainy.
Overall, petal blight is an aesthetic problem that ruins blossoms. The disease is not harmful to the long-term health of the plant.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
The severity of the symptoms varies, depending upon the species of plant infected. Signs of petal blight are commonly seen on the blooms just after they open.
  • Pallid spots on colored petals.
  • Brown spots on white petals.
  • Browning around the petal edges.
  • Small spots look water-soaked.
  • Spots rapidly enlarge and merge.
  • Flowers become limp.
  • The entire flower turns light brown, but does not crumble.
  • Flowers become slimy at first and then take on a leathery texture.
  • A ring of white or gray mycelium can be seen at the base of the petals.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Petal blight is caused by several different fungi, with each type infecting specific plants. Ovulinia azalea infects azaleas species and cultivars, and rhododendrons. Ciborinia camelliae infects camellia cultivars.
Shortly after blooming, the fungus infects the base of the flowers by the calyx. The fungus produces cell wall-degrading enzymes that destroy flowers within a couple of days. When the flowers fall to the ground, the fungus' hard fruiting bodies fall to the soil as well, overwintering until the following spring.
When temperatures hit the optimum range the following season, spores are transmitted by insects or can spread on wind currents up to about 12 miles. Once in the soil, the pathogen can be active for three to five years.
Solutions
Solutions
Like other fungal diseases, the progression of petal blight is extremely difficult to stop and impossible to reverse once it infects a plant. The best course of action is to remove all damaged flowers immediately and dispose of them entirely. Do not put them in the compost pile, where spores could grow and spread.
Prevention
Prevention
  • Apply a preventative dose of fungicide as soon as blooms start to show color on the plant. The preventative can be applied as a soil drench or directly to the flowers on the plant.
  • Avoid overhead watering during blooming.
  • Remove any leaf litter and dead flowers at the end of the season.
  • Cover the ground under infected plants with 4” of fresh organic mulch before winter, taking care not to disturb the infected soil.
  • Buy bare-root specimens when available.
  • When potted plants are purchased, remove the top layer of potting soil and replace it with fresh mulch.
  • Plant cultivars that bloom early in the season before the temperatures get high enough for petal blight pathogens to be spreading.
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Caterpillars
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Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Overview
Overview
Caterpillars can cause problems for home gardeners. If not managed, these insects can defoliate a plant in just a matter of days. However, home gardeners face a challenge because these caterpillars eventually turn into beautiful butterflies and moths, which are important for pollination and the general ecosystem.
There are thousands of different species of caterpillars and many will only target certain plants. If caterpillars are posing a problem, they can be removed by hand, or gardeners can use insect-proof netting to protect their valuable plants.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths. During the warmer months, butterflies and moths that visit gardens will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves.
When the tiny eggs hatch, the young larvae emerge and start feeding on the leaves of the plant. Depending on how many larvae have hatched, they can easily defoliate the plant in a very short period of time. Caterpillars will shed their skin as they grow, around 4 or 5 times during this feeding cycle.
Symptoms of caterpillars eating plants appear as holes in the leaves. The edges of the leaves may be eaten away as well, and flowers can be affected as well.
Some are easy to see, but others need to be searched for. This is because their bodies are often camouflaged to look like part of the plant. Gardeners need to look carefully along the stems of the plant as well as under the leaves. Also, look for tiny white, yellow, or brown eggs that can be found in groups on the underside of leaves.
Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it transforms into a pupa or chrysalis. Then, after a period of time that varies according to the species, a butterfly or moth will emerge from the pupa and the cycle begins again.
Solutions
Solutions
Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers.
For severe cases:
  1. Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects.
  2. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans.
  3. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps.
For less severe cases:
  1. Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water.
  2. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Prevention
Prevention
Prevention may require less effort than attempts to eradicate infestations that have already begun. Here are our top steps for prevention:
  1. Monitor plants. Check plants regularly for caterpillar eggs on leaves. If they do not belong to an endangered species, they should be squished.
  2. Use insect netting. Cover plants with insect netting to prevent butterflies and moths from laying eggs on plants.
  3. Apply diatomaceous earth. Apply DE to plants early in the season and reapply after rain.
  4. Encourage plant diversity. This will attract predatory insects including parasitic wasps.
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Underwatering
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Underwatering
Leaves may wilt for a variety of reasons.
Overview
Overview
Underwatering plants is one of the quickest ways to kill them. This is something that most gardeners are well aware of. Unfortunately, knowing exactly how much water a plant needs can be tricky, especially considering that underwatering and overwatering present similar symptoms in plants.
Therefore, it’s important to be vigilant and attentive to each plants’ individual needs.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
As mentioned earlier, overwatering and underwatering present similar symptoms in plants. These symptoms include poor growth, wilted leaves, defoliation, and brown leaf tips or margins. Ultimately, both underwatering and overwatering can lead to the death of a plant.
The easiest way to determine whether a plant has too much water or too little is to look at the leaves. If underwatering is the culprit, the leaves will look brown and crunchy, while if it’s overwatering, they will appear yellow or a pale green in color.
When this issue first begins, there may be no noticeable symptoms at all, particularly in hardy or drought-tolerant plants. However, they will begin to wilt once they start suffering from a lack of water. The edges of the plant’s leaves will become brown or curled. Soil pulling away from the edges of the planter is a telltale sign, or a crispy, brittle stem.
Prolonged underwatering can cause a plant’s growth to become stunted. The leaves might drop and the plant can be more susceptible to pest infestations, too.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Underwatering is caused by, quite simply, not watering plants often or deeply enough. There is a heightened risk of underwatering if any of these situations apply:
  • Extreme heat and dry weather (when growing outdoors)
  • Grow lights or indoor lighting that is too bright or intense for the type of plant
  • Using fast-draining growing media such as sand
Solutions
Solutions
The easiest (and most obvious) way to address underwatering is to fully hydrate the plant. However, this must be done carefully. A common mistake that many gardeners make is to douse their underwatered plants with water. This can overwhelm the roots of the plant and shock its system, something that can be even more damaging than the lack of water to begin with.
Instead, water thoroughly and slowly, taking breaks to let the water slowly saturate through the soil to get to the roots. Use room temperature water, as cold water might be too much of a shock.
In the future, shorten the time between waterings. A good rule of thumb is to check the soil around each plant daily. If it’s dry to at least two inches down, it’s time to water. If a container plant is repeatedly drying out very quickly, repotting into a slower-draining container might be a good idea, too.
Prevention
Prevention
Always check the soil before watering. If the top inch of soil feels moist, though not wet, the watering is perfect. If it’s dry, water it immediately. If it feels soggy, you avoid watering until it dries out a bit more.
Also, make sure the lighting is sufficient for the species. Plants grow faster and need more water when there is intense light or lots of heat. Being aware of these conditions and modifying them, if possible, is a good way to prevent underwatering. Many container plants are potted in soil mixtures mean to be well-draining. Adding materials that retain moisture, like compost or peat moss, can also prevent these symptoms.
Other tips to prevent underwatering include:
  • Choose pots with adequately-sized drainage holes
  • Avoid warm temperatures
  • Use large pots with additional soil (these take longer to dry out)
  • Avoid terracotta pots, which lose water quickly
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distribution

Distribution Map

Habitat

Dry open stony slopes, riverbanks, sparse woodland edges, woods, grasslands

Map

distribution map
Native
Cultivated
Invasive
Potentially invasive
Exotic
No species reported
plant_info

More Info

Plant Type
Plant Type
Herb, Shrub
Flower Color
Flower Color
White
Pink
Yellow
Red
Bloom Time
Bloom Time
Spring
Leaf Color
Leaf Color
Green

Name story

Common garden peony
As an ornamental plant, it happens to have up to hundreds of different species varying in color, size and appearance. Any of the varieties add beauty to any garden. Considering it is commonly planted in gardens, it is called the common garden peony. Interestingly, the word “peony” is derived from the Latin name “paeonia”.

Symbolism

Have a heart, beautiful and moving, reluctant, inseparable, honor, good fortune

Usages

Artistic Value
The Chinese peony is one of the ten famous flowers in China, and is often used as the theme of painting and poetry.
Garden Use
Chinese peony is one of the most common perennial flowers, found in gardens across temperate climates. Chinese peony is renowned for its large, showy flowers and beautiful array of colors. Its strong stem makes it great as a cut flower, and the wide variety of cultivars make for great borders, specimen plants, cottage or urban gardens, and more. It works well with alliums, roses, and bearded irises.
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