Swenson Gardens

Late season frost on peonies…

We have an extremely busy weekend with our sons graduation and apologize for this late post on Zones 3 and 4 freeze watch/warning tonight. As mentioned in a previous post, our experience has been three nights of 19 F degrees or less that will damage the peonies for that specific year. Needless to say they still came up the next year. For some of you who have been contacting us on peonies planted last fall, we suggest you remove the first year buds to put all stored energy into root production for the next year. What may a late season frost/freeze do to peonies in the bud stage? Well unfortunately that may damage the buds and prevent them from blooming and/or the blooms will be stunted. Time will tell after the colder temps tonight and tomorrow night. You may see the buds turn brown and if they do, snip them off as they won’t bloom. We saw this happen about 10-years ago in the fields and the two nights of mid to high 20 F degrees took out about 50% of the blooms. The foliage and stems were ok but the delicate buds did not fare so well. Then the next year we had massive amounts of blooms as the energy went into root production amazed us beyond belief. The resilience of peonies are unbelievable!  As far as covering peonies, well it doesn’t hurt in home gardens! Will the late season frost/freeze kill the peonies? Apparently in our case it did not. We ourselves just let the peonies weather the temps, storms and yes today we had a brief shower of ‘sleet’. YIKES! You got to love peonies!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *