Everything You Need To Know About Transplanting Peonies

Everything You Need To Know About Transplanting Peonies

Everything You Need To Know About Transplanting Peonies


Everyone knows how well peonies can liven up a garden. With their giant blooms and bright, gorgeous color, it’s difficult not to notice them. Unfortunately, after a while, they can become dreary and droopy due to a lack of sunlight from shrubs or trees. This is why it’s important to transport them from one spot to another every so often. Some perennials require frequent transplants, but not peonies. This flower only needs to be divided and moved once about every 10 years, though some can last decades.

However, this doesn’t mean you should start ripping out your peonies and putting them in a random spot; there is a specific way to transport them that must be done carefully to ensure their safety. In order to successfully grow your peonies, It’s all about knowing when and how to uproot them from their current location and move them to a new one.

When and where to transplant them

Red boots digging up dirt

Cjp/Getty Images

If you want to ensure a successful peony transplant, you’ll need to uproot and relocate the flower sometime between late August and early September. This is the time of year when the soil is warm enough to support root growth. If you wait any longer, the cold temperatures could prevent any growth at all. Plus, because the days are shorter and cooler than they are in the middle of the summer, plants are able to retain more water to become better established during this time. By the time flowers start growing again in the spring, your peonies will have a great root system, so they’ll not only grow but flourish.

The best spot to plant your peonies is somewhere they’ll receive a good amount of sunlight. This means an average of six to eight hours a day. Additionally, you’ll want to keep them a minimum of 3 feet apart to prevent any powdery mildew buildup on the flowers, which tends to happen if they’re placed too close together. Make sure you dig a hole large enough for the roots to grow. They need their space too!

How to carefully divide your peonies

Peony roots and buds


Before you actually transport your flowers, you need to divide them properly. This means separating the peonies so you can have multiple plants instead of one large one. Start by digging up the plant, being careful of its roots. Here is where you’ll find the tuber — a lumpy little chunk of underground stems with red buds poking out from it. Give it a shake or a quick rinse to remove the soil from its roots. Once it’s been cleaned, take a look at how many buds the tuber has. If you see six or more, you can split the flower into sections.

To actually divide the peony, use a saw to cut the tuber into several pieces. It’s like breaking up a cookie to share with your friends. Keep in mind each piece of the tuber you cut has at least three buds and a strong root system. As you cut, the new pieces should break right off. After you have the number of pieces you want, it’s time to plant them.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.