How to Transplant White Peonies


Peonies are flowering plants that need cold winters in order to thrive and bloom. They are available in many colors, including white varieties such as Baroness Schroeder and Festiva Maxima. Peonies usually do not respond well to transplanting, which is why it should ideally only be done when the area becomes overcrowded. This occurs usually only every 10 to 15 years. If you do need to transplant your white peonies, do so in the fall when you will be able to clearly see the eyes of the plant's roots so you can properly divide them before planting them again.

Step 1

Prepare the new planting site, which should be in full sun or light shade. Avoid a location that is susceptible to high winds and one where peonies have grown before. Turn over the soil about 12 to 18 inches with a garden rake or hoe. Mix in about 2 to 4 inches of compost or manure.

Step 2

Dig holes in the new planting site that are 18 inches deep and wide. Space multiple plants 3 to 4 feet apart.

Step 3

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of 10-10-10 granular fertilizer in the bottom of each hole. Fill the hole back up halfway with the soil.

Step 4

Sterilize your utility knife with rubbing alcohol. Set aside in a clean spot, such as in a plastic baggie, until you are ready for it.

Step 5

Cut off the white peonies' foliage with pruning shears. Cut straight across, just above the ground.

Step 6

Dig up your white peonies. Use a trowel and carefully dig around the plants. The roots should be just a couple of inches beneath the soil, but how deep will depend on the plant's size. Keep as much of the roots intact as possible. After you dig up the first peony, you will have an idea of how large the roots are.

Step 7

Cut the tubers with the sterilized utility knife. Keep three to five eyes--also called buds--on each section. Dust them with a powder fungicide to thwart disease and root rot.

Step 8

Replant the peonies in the holes you have prepared. The eyes should be facing up and only 2 inches beneath the soil. Fill in the hole the rest of the way with soil and lightly pack it down to remove any pockets of air.

Step 9

Water the tubers with about 1 to 2 inches of water.

Step 10

Mulch the area in colder climates in the late fall with about 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch, such as straw or pine needles. Remove the mulch in the spring before new growth begins.

Things You'll Need

  • Hoe or tiller
  • Compost or manure
  • Fertilizer
  • Utility knife
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Pruning shears
  • Trowel
  • Fungicide
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • North Carolina University: Peonies for the Home Landscape
  • Iowa State University Extension: Transplanting Peonies
Keywords: transplant white peonies, divide peonies, grow peonies

About this Author

Melissa Lewis graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has written over 20 episodes for the radio drama entitled "A Work in Progress." She also writes for several online outlets, including Gardenguides, Travels and Examiner, and is currently finalizing a movie script to be filmed in 2010.