How to Plant Peony Roots


Peonies are a favorite old-fashioned garden flower with many-petaled blooms that flower all summer. Flowers bloom in black, yellow, white, red and shades of pink. They are a perennial plant that is hardy in zones 2 to 8. Peony roots are best planted in September and October. They should have three to five "eyes" or growing buds when planted. Roots with fewer buds will take three to four years to bloom. Peonies root deeply and thrive in fertile soil amended with compost.

How to plant a peony root

Step 1

Determine where to plant the peony roots. Choose a northern exposure to maximize cold exposure in the winter, which will encourage summer blooms. Peonies need six to eight hours of sun per day.

Step 2

Dig a hole 12 to 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide. Space holes 3 to 4 feet apart. Add two shovels full of compost and mix well. The hole should be half full. Composted soil ensures good drainage.

Step 3

Place the peony root in the planting hole with the growing buds facing upward. Cover with soil so the root is buried 2 inches deep. Press down carefully around the root so it is firmly settled in the soil. Water thoroughly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant peonies near large shrubs or trees. This creates competition for sunlight and soil nutrients. Peonies do not respond well to transplanting or dividing the roots until they are 10 to 15 years old. Divide roots in the fall as the dormant period begins. Dig carefully around the roots. Cut them with a sharp knife that has been sterilized with an open flame or alcohol. This reduces the chance of disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden gloves
  • Shovel
  • Compost, commercial or homemade


  • North Carolina State University Extension: Peonies for the Home Landscape

Who Can Help

  • Ohio State University Extension: Peonies
Keywords: plant peonies, peony roots, grow peonies

About this Author

Joan Norton, M.A., is a licensed psychotherapist and professional writer in the field of women's spirituality. She blogs and has two published books on the subject of Mary Magdalene; "14 Steps To Awaken The Sacred Feminine:Women in the Circle of Mary Magdalene," and "The Mary Magdalene Within."