Skip to Left navigation Skip to Main content Skip to Footer

University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > What's wrong with my plant? > Annuals and Perennials > Peony > Spots on leaves

Print Icon Email Icon Share Icon

Peony > Leaves > Spots on leaves

1 of 5
  • Image: leaf blotch 1
  • Image: leaf blotch 2
  • Image: leaf blotch 3

Leaf Blotch (aka Measles)
Cladosporium paeoniae

  • 1 inch or larger, irregular to round reddish purple blotches on leaves
  • Older leaf spots have dead tan areas with irregular black lines in the center
  • Leaves may be curled or twisted near the leaf spot
  • In severe cases leaves completely die, but remain attached to the plant
  • Red streaks on stems
  • Typically seen mid to late summer, after bloom
2 of 5
  • Image: gray mold 3
  • Image: gray mold 2
  • Image: gray mold 1

Gray Mold
Botrytis paeoniae

  • New shoots turn black, wilt and die when they emerge in the spring
  • Leaves and petals have black to brown irregular spots, and may turn completely black
  • Stem infections turn brown or black and often have a target spot appearance
  • Flower buds turn black to brown and fail to open
  • All infected plant parts produce fluffy gray spores with moisture
  • Most common in cool, wet weather
  • More information on Gray Mold
3 of 5
  • Image: foliar nematode 1
  • Image: foliar nematode 2
  • Image: foliar nematode 3

Foliar Nematode
Aphelenchoides sp.

  • Wedge shaped sections of the leaf turns yellow then reddish-purple
  • Purple area of the lea limited by major leaf veins
  • Most common late summer to early fall
  • Seen of the lower leaves first, but can spread to the entire plant
4 of 5
  • Image: virus 1

Tomato spotted wilt, Tobacco rattle virus and others

  • Yellow or light green rings, wavy lines or spots on leaves
  • Occasionally dead brown spots on leaves
  • Plants may be small, have spidly stalks, and may not flower
  • Lab test required to distinguish between viruses and verify infection
  • Virus-infected peonies may grow and bloom normally except for the strange patterns on the leaves or other subtle symptoms.
  • No treatment is suggested to help cure a virus-infected peony.
  • If symptoms are severe, and growth and flowering are greatly reduced, the plant can be removed and discarded.
5 of 5
  • Image: phytophora 1

Phytophora Leaf Blight
Phytophora cactorum

  • Black leathery spots on leaves or buds
  • New shoots or stems have long sunken black lesions and may fall over
  • In severe cases the crown and roots of the plant are soft, wet and mulchy; the entire plant wilts and dies
  • Common in heavy, poorly drained soil
  • Most severe in wet weather
  • Confirmed cases should be removed and destroyed, together with adjacent soil.
  • Planting healthy clumps in new locations where the soil is well drained usually prevents further trouble.

Don't see what you're looking for?