The Most Effective Technique for Propagating Peonies: An In-Depth Guide


If you live in the northwest, you may be interested in learning the best methods for propagating peonies. These tips can help you successfully propagate your peonies and create more beautiful plants for your garden.

One of the most popular methods for propagating peonies is through above-ground cuttings. This involves taking a young, healthy branch from a mature peony plant and cutting it into three or four pieces. Each piece should have at least three or four buds. These cuttings can then be planted in a nursery bed and left to grow for a few years before being transplanted to their permanent location in your garden.

Another method is by division, where the rootstock of a mature peony plant is divided into several pieces. Each piece should have a healthy portion of the root system and at least one bud. These divisions can be planted directly into your garden and will grow into vigorous, mature peony plants in a few seasons.

If you are looking for a quicker method, you can also try propagating peonies through root cuttings. This involves taking a small section of the root and planting it in a nursery bed. This method can yield results in as little as one or two years, but it is important to note that not all peonies will root from cuttings.

Lastly, peonies can also be propagated through grafting. This method involves creating a union between a peony scion (the top part of the plant) and a peony rootstock (the bottom part of the plant). By grafting these two parts together, you can create a new peony plant with the desirable traits of the scion and the vigorous root system of the rootstock.

Before attempting any of these propagation methods, it’s important to consider the space and resources you have available. Peonies are perennial plants that require full sun and well-draining soil. They also need protection from harsh winter conditions, so it’s important to choose the right method for your climate. If you’re unsure which method to choose, it’s always a good idea to consult a local gardening expert or nursery for more information.

In conclusion, there are several methods for propagating peonies, including above-ground cuttings, division, root cuttings, and grafting. Each method has its own steps and considerations, so it’s important to choose the method that works best for your needs and resources. With the right care and attention, you can successfully propagate peonies and create a beautiful garden full of these stunning, long-lived perennials.

For more information and step-by-step instructions on propagating peonies, be sure to check out the accompanying photo guide.

Things to Consider: Peonies are best propagated in early spring or late fall when the weather is cool. Make sure to choose healthy, disease-free plants to use as your mother plants. Peonies can take several years to bloom after being propagated, so patience is key. And remember, not all peonies will root from cuttings, so consider trying multiple methods to increase your chances of success.


Peonies can be propagated through several methods, including division, seeding, and layering. The majority of growers prefer division as it is the most reliable and predictable method.

To propagate through division, the peony plant is dug up and the root system is carefully divided into sections. Each section should have at least three to five healthy rootlets and a dormant bud. The sections are then planted in a new location.

Another way to propagate peonies is through seeding. This method requires more time and patience as it takes several years for the seed to sprout. To ensure successful germination, the seed must be subjected to a period of stratification where it is placed in a moist, cold environment for several weeks. After stratification, the seed is sown in a seed tray or pots indoors. Seedlings are then transplanted outdoors once the danger of frost has passed.

Layering is another method of propagation. This method involves creating a new plant by bending one of the branches from the parent plant and burying it in the soil. Once roots have formed at the buried section, the branch can be severed from the parent plant and grown as a new peony.

Regardless of the method chosen for propagation, it is important to note that peonies are susceptible to damage from bacteria and weather conditions. Therefore, it is best to use clean and sterilized tools when working with the plants. Providing protection, such as mulch or a cloche, can also help safeguard young plants from extreme temperatures and inclement weather.

Growers who are interested in propagating peonies can also consider collecting seedpods from mature plants. Once the seedpods have turned brown and split open, they can be collected. The seeds can then be sown in a well-drained seed-starting mix and placed in a sunny spot indoors.

In summary, the best method for propagating peonies is through division, although seeding and layering can also be effective. Proper care and attention to detail are crucial to ensure successful propagation and the development of healthy plants.

For additional resources on how to propagate peonies, growers can join gardening forums or seek advice from experienced horticulturists.

Additional Resources

If you want to learn more about propagating peonies, there are several great resources available to help you. Here are a few recommendations:

1. The Complete Guide to Peony Propagation

This comprehensive guide covers everything from basic methods of propagation to advanced techniques. It includes step-by-step instructions, detailed photos, and helpful tips for successful peony propagation.

2. Growing Peonies: A Practical Guide

Written by a certified horticulturist, this book provides valuable information on growing peonies in various climates. It offers advice on soil preparation, proper planting techniques, and caring for peonies throughout the year.

3. Peony Propagation Techniques for Beginners

If you’re new to peony propagation, this beginner’s guide is a must-read. It explains the different methods of propagation, including division, cuttings, and seed planting, and provides helpful tips for success.

By utilizing these resources, you can expand your knowledge of peony propagation and become confident in your ability to successfully propagate these beautiful flowering plants.

Join the American Peony Society Today

If you’re captivated by the beauty of peonies and want to immerse yourself in the world of these stunning flowers, consider joining the American Peony Society. With over five decades of experience, this society is dedicated to peony enthusiasts like you.

By becoming a member, you’ll gain access to a wealth of resources, tips, and expert advice on everything related to peonies. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, the American Peony Society has something to offer.

As a member, you’ll receive the latest information on peony cultivation, propagation, and care. The society regularly publishes informative articles and hosts educational events to help you expand your knowledge. You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with fellow peony lovers and share your passion for these beautiful flowers.

Joining the American Peony Society is easy. Simply visit their website and follow the instructions to become a member. Membership dues are affordable and offer great value for your money. By joining, you’ll be supporting the society’s efforts to promote and preserve these beloved flowers.

Don’t miss out on the chance to be a part of an enthusiastic community of peony enthusiasts. Join the American Peony Society today!

Captivated by Peonies

Peonies are a beloved flower in American gardens. They are known for their large, showy blooms and their ability to thrive in a variety of climates. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, peonies are a great addition to any garden.

When it comes to propagating peonies, there are several methods you can use. One of the most common ways is by dividing the plants. This can be done in the early spring or in the fall when the plants are dormant. To divide a peony plant, dig around the base and gently lift the rootstock out of the ground. You can then separate the plant into smaller divisions by carefully cutting the roots with a sharp knife. Each division should have at least 3-5 healthy buds.

Another method of propagation is by taking cuttings. This can be done in the early summer when the plants are actively growing. To take a cutting, select a branch that is healthy and disease-free. Using a sharp knife, cut a 4-6 inch section of the branch just below a set of leaves. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting, and then dip the cut end into a diluted rooting hormone solution. Plant the cutting in a container filled with moist, well-draining soil and place it in a sunny spot. Keep the soil moist and provide protection from extreme temperatures.

Peonies can also be propagated by grafting. This method involves joining the top part, or scion, of one plant to the rooted base, or rootstock, of another plant. Grafting is usually done in the winter when the plants are dormant. It is a more advanced propagation technique, but it can be a great way to create new peony varieties.

Regardless of the propagation method you choose, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, make sure to plant your peonies in well-draining soil that is enriched with organic matter. Peonies prefer full sun, so choose a location where they will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Secondly, provide protection for your peonies during the winter months. Mulch around the base of the plants can help to insulate the roots from the cold. Lastly, be patient! Peonies can take a few years to become established and start producing the large, beautiful blooms they are known for.

In conclusion, peonies are a captivating flower that can be easily propagated in a variety of ways. Whether you choose to divide the plants, take cuttings, or try your hand at grafting, these tips will help you be successful in growing your own peonies. So go ahead and get started on your own peony garden and enjoy the beauty they will bring!

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.