How to Divide Peony Plants


Peony plants are among the most colorful and impressive of flowering perennials. The large, often fragrant, blossoms come in a wide variety of colors and designs. The easiest way to propagate peonies is through division of a mature plant into separate plants. Peony plants possess a crown of underground roots that store food as tubers. These can be separated from the parent plant and replanted to produce other plants of the same variety. The blossoms that result from this form of propagation will be identical to those of the parent plant.

Step 1

Divide peonies in August or September when the plants are dormant. The newly planted peonies will over-winter and sprout in the spring.

Step 2

Identify a larger, mature peony plant that has multiple tubers. Dig around the plant using a sharp shovel or spade, ensuring that you do not damage the root system.

Step 3

Remove the plant from the ground and clean any loose dirt from the roots by rinsing them with clean water.

Step 4

Set the roots aside to rest in the shade for a couple of hours. This will allow them to soften and make them easier to cut.

Step 5

Locate a section of the root that has crown buds. These are similar to the eyes on a potato. Use a sharp knife to separate section from the main root. Ensure that each piece you cut has at least on crown bud. The more, the better.

Step 6

Allow the roots to dry for a day before planting. Plant each section cut in good, well-draining soil about two inches below the surface. Water the roots in. If the weather is good, they may sprout. the plant will go dormant during winter and sprout again in the spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or spade
  • Sharp knife


  • Gardening Know How: Dividing Peony Plants -- Tips On How To Propagate Peonies
  • American Peony Society: To Divide and Replant a Peony
Keywords: dividing peonies, propagate peonies, divide peony plants

About this Author

Located in Jacksonville, Fla, Frank Whittemore has been a writer and content strategist for over 15 years, providing corporate communications services to Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics that stem from his fascination with nature, the environment, science, medicine and technology.