How to Transplant Peonies in the Spring
Honestly, the best time to transplant peonies is in September. However, you may successfully transplant peonies in the spring, though you should be aware that plants moved during this season are not likely to produce the abundant flowers or foliage they've produced in the past—or may take a season or two before they start blooming.
Remember that peonies need direct sunlight, so observe the new location you've chosen to make sure it receives at least six hours of sunlight per day.
Cut the peony stems to ground level prior to digging up the plant.
Place the edge of your shovel at the edge of the root base, and firmly press down to break apart the soil.
Lift the plant out of its current space gently, so as not to break any roots. Shake off excess dirt to expose the root system to the air.
Prepare the location where you wish to transplant the peony and dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root system, and deep enough to allow for layers of compost and fertilizer underneath the soil that will surround the roots.
Place the plant in the prepared hole, so that the eyes on the roots are only one to two inches below the surface. Cover your peony with mulch and soil to protect the newly transplanted plant. Water it heartily.
The root clumps of garden peonies (Paeonia officinalis) are typically divided and transplanted after the plants go dormant in late summer or early autumn. It should be well-drained to prevent their roots from rotting. Peonies go dormant in late August to early September, depending on local climate. If a peony is dead in the center or has stopped producing flowers, it’s time to divide it and transplant the divisions. When this happens, divide the roots and transplant the divisions in a sunny location. Divided peony roots are not typically stored. Wash the soil off the roots. Dig a hole 18 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches deep. Alternatively, work compost about 12 inches into the soil before transplanting. If you plant them deeper, the peony will produce leaves but no blossoms. Do not apply mulch any deeper because keeping them too warm might prevent them from flowering the next spring.
Peonies grow best in well-drained soil.
Typically, transplanted peonies will not bloom the year they are transplanted; instead the plant's energy will go into building a strong root system.
- Peonies grow best in well-drained soil.
- Typically, transplanted peonies will not bloom the year they are transplanted; instead the plant's energy will go into building a strong root system.
- Garden shears
- Spade or shovel
- Compost and/or mulch
- ISU Entomology
- North Carolina University
- Iowa State University Extension: How to Transplant Peonies
- University of Nebraska Extension: Divide and Plant Peonies in Fall
- University of Illinois Extension: Time to Divide Peonies
- North Carolina State University Extension: Peonies for the Home Landscape
- Kansas State University Extension: Peonies
- University of Minnesota Extension: Planting Peonies
- Zipcodezoo: Paeonia Officinalis
- Zipcodezoo: Paeonia Suffruticosa
- Cornell University Extension: Peonies
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Disinfecting Pruning Tools