If your peony leaves are turning yellow, don’t panic! This is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of things. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common causes of yellow leaves in peonies and how to solve them. We will also provide some tips on how to prevent this from happening in the future.
Why Is My Peony Turning Yellow?
The main reasons for yellow leaves on a peony plant are overwatering, fungal infections, nutrient deficiencies, not enough sunlight, and environmental stressors.
I will now cover each of these reasons in more detail so that you can determine which one is causing your peony leaves to turn yellow. Don’t worry, I will also provide solutions for each problem!
One of the most common reasons for yellow leaves in peonies is overwatering. Peonies are drought-tolerant plants and too much water can actually be harmful to them. If you think that you are overwatering your peony, reduce the amount of water that you are giving each week.
You should also make sure that the plant is getting enough drainage. If the roots are sitting in water, they will start to rot and this will cause the leaves to turn yellow or start to curl.
If you are unsure about how much water your peony needs, check the soil before watering. If it is dry a few inches down, then it is time to water. Be sure to water the plant at the base, not on the leaves.
Check for root rot by gently digging around the plant. If you see any black or brown roots, they are probably rotted and you will need to replant your peony.
Finally, make sure that you are not watering in the evening. Water that sits on the leaves overnight can cause them to develop fungal infections (which we will discuss next).
2. Fungal Infections
If your peony leaves are turning yellow and they have spots or blotches, it is probably due to a fungal infection. The most common type of fungus that affects peonies is botrytis blight, also known as gray mold.
This fungus thrives in wet and humid conditions, so it is important to water your plant in the morning so that the leaves have time to dry before the evening.
You can also treat botrytis blight by spraying the affected leaves with a fungicide. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully. My favorite anti-fungal treatment is neem oil (Amazon link), which is a natural and effective way to stop the fungal disease from spreading.
Finally, make sure to clean up any fallen leaves or petals from around the plant. Keeping your garden clean is one of the best ways to prevent fungal infections from happening in the first place.
3. Nutrient Deficiencies
If your peony leaves are turning yellow and they have pale or white patches, it is probably due to a nutrient deficiency. The most common deficiencies in peonies are iron and nitrogen.
You can solve this problem by fertilizing your plant with an all-purpose fertilizer that contains iron. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully.
I recommend a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer (Amazon link) for peonies. This will provide your plant with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and green.
Finally, make sure that you are not fertilizing too often. Over-fertilizing can actually be harmful to your plant and cause the leaves to turn yellow. Also, be mindful of how much nitrogen is in your fertilizer, as too much nitrogen can cause leaf scorch.
4. Lack of Sunlight
If your peony leaves are turning yellow, it could be because the plant is not getting enough sunlight. You see, plants need sunlight to produce chlorophyll, which is what gives leaves their green color.
If your plant is not getting enough sunlight, it will start to produce less chlorophyll and the leaves will turn yellow. The best way to solve this problem is to move your plant to a sunny spot in your garden.
Just be sure not to put it in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves. If you live in a climate with hot summers, it is best to plant your peony in an area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade.
Finally, make sure that you are not shading your plant with other plants or objects. This will prevent it from getting the sunlight it needs to stay healthy.
5. Environmental Stressors
There are a number of environmental stressors that can cause peony leaves to turn yellow, like extreme temperatures, wind, or drought.
If the weather has been particularly hot or cold, it can cause the leaves to turn yellow. This is because plants are sensitive to changes in temperature and they can be damaged by extreme heat or cold.
Wind can also damage peony leaves and cause them to turn yellow. Windburn is a common problem in peonies, especially in areas with high winds.
Finally, drought can cause the leaves to turn yellow. This is because the plant is not getting enough water and it is stressed. If you live in an area with drought conditions, it is important to water your plant more often.
Should I Cut Yellow Leaves off My Peony?
It is not necessary to cut yellow leaves off your peony plant. In fact, it is best to leave them on the plant so that they can photosynthesize and produce food for the plant.
However, if the leaves are severely damaged or they are preventing the plant from getting enough sunlight, you can trim them back. Just be sure not to cut too much, as this can damage the plant.
If you do decide to cut yellow leaves off your peony, make sure to use sharp pruning shears and cut at an angle. This will prevent the plant from being damaged and it will help it to heal quickly.
Finally, make sure to dispose of the yellow leaves properly. Do not compost them, as this can spread disease to other plants. Instead, throw them away in the trash.
Will Yellow Peony Leaves Turn Green Again?
No, it is not common for yellow peony leaves to turn green again. Once the leaves have turned yellow, they will usually stay that way until they fall off the plant.
The good news is that fixing the issue that is causing the leaves to turn yellow will usually prevent future problems. For example, if the problem is a lack of sunlight, moving the plant to a sunnier spot will mean future leaves will be green.
In conclusion, if your peony leaves are turning yellow, it could be due to a number of different factors. The most common causes are nutrient deficiencies, lack of sunlight, overwatering, environmental issues, and fungal infections.
If you are unsure about the cause, I recommend taking a sample of the affected leaves to your local Cooperative Extension office for diagnosis. They will be able to help you figure out what is causing the problem and how to fix it.
In most cases, however, you can solve the problem by following the tips in this article. Just be sure to take action quickly, as yellow leaves are often a sign of a serious problem.
I hope this article was helpful in troubleshooting why your peony leaves are turning yellow. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below and I will be happy to help.
Tim is an avid gardener from the UK. He was the founder of PlantCarer.com from 2021 to Sep 2023. He sold PlantCarer.com to Aaron. He has since started his own business called Seed To Supper, which provides new gardeners all the materials you need in a box (pots, seeds, compost and instructions) to grow your own delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs from start to finish – no garden required.