The Best Method For Propagating Peonies

Published
The Best Method For Propagating Peonies

The Best Method For Propagating Peonies

Fotolinchen/Getty Images

Peonies are some of the most popular flowers for enthusiasts, and it’s easy to see why; they’re beautiful, they can grow to a gigantic size, and you can find them in many different colors. The peony flowering season is one of the most anticipated times of the year in the gardening community. If you own a lovely peony plant, you’ll surely want to propagate it throughout your garden before all of them start to flower, but how should you do it?

The best method to propagate your peonies is by division rather than growing them directly from seeds. Peonies can definitely reproduce by seed, but it usually takes around 18 months to see them flowering. Dividing your plants won’t only let you propagate them in a healthier way, but it’ll also encourage better growth in plants you only want to move. Keep reading and learn how to divide your peonies to enlarge your beautiful flower collection!

How to divide peonies the right way

Peony root system

Khorzhevska/Shutterstock

Dividing peonies is pretty straightforward, but you’ll need pruning shears or a big knife to cut through the crown. If the plant is older than 4 or 5 years, you’ll probably need something stronger to deal with more prominent roots. It’s essential to wash all your tools beforehand to avoid spreading bacteria or fungi when doing the transplanting. Grab your tools, and let’s begin!

First, uncover the roots of the plant for better examination. Cut the stems and dig with the spade about 6 inches away for the plant. After circling the plant with a little ditch, stick the spade deeper on an angle to gently lift the roots from the ground. Wash them with running water when they’re out. You will then inspect the crown to locate all the little pink growths around it, called eyes, where the new stems will grow.

You’ll have to divide the root system into sections before cutting. Make sure every section has three to five healthy eyes and at least three robust roots; this ensures your new plant will be ready for the next flowering season. Now, find a spot where your plant can get six to eight hours of sunlight each day and plant your sections 2 to 3 inches below the soil. Don’t dig too deep, or your plants might struggle to flower. Also, remember to keep the soil moist to establish the roots as soon as possible.

Things to consider before dividing peonies

Red peonies flowering

S.O.E/Shutterstock

The best time of the year to divide and transplant peonies is fall. Roots planted in fall have enough time to properly establish themselves before the flowering season, so you’ll have beautiful blooms!

While most of the time, you’ll just want beautiful flowers all around your space, there are other reasons to move a peony plant. You may want to transplant a pretty established plant that’s taking too much space in your garden, you may have a plant growing under shade and want to improve its flowering potential, or you might have a project for a new garden section. The possibilities are endless, especially with younger plants.

Having a big garden may seem daunting initially, but taking on little projects like this will slowly improve your confidence. On top of that, everyone loves a garden full of blooming flowers. Prepare your tools for this fall, and try dividing and propagating a peony plant for yourself. You’ll have a great surprise when the flowering begins next year!

✿ Read More About Flowers.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.