Transplanting and Planting Peonies

Transplanting and Planting Peonies


It’s Autumn! The time of year gardeners are scurrying to get their garden beds and plant babies ready for the winter months ahead!

While you are hurrying to take care of all your garden chores, don’t forget your Peony plants!

Scented, Ruffled, and Romantic Must-Haves!

Peony plants are spring must-haves in gardens all around the world! This is due to more gardeners catching the drift about how easy to grow and how beautiful these plants are! Not to mention their heavenly scent!

close up peony

Peonies are long-lived perennial plants that are remarkably cold-hardy! Sometimes found growing on abandoned farmsteads for decades, Peony plants are easier to grow than other plants due to their nature to be able to sustain themselves without much human interference! 

They handle periods of drought, aren’t particular on soil type as long as it is well-drained, and are widely adaptable to a wide range of environments!

They make excellent focal points and garden filler after the ruffled blooms have faded. Their dense green, lobed foliage works as edging and leafy backdrops and fringe!

But those blooms! The soft fragrance of the Peony plant will waft on the air and provide a nice springtime feel outdoors, and to your home when used in your bouquets. No matter what the color scheme is, there is a Peony plant that will complement it perfectly!

Peony plant blooms come in nearly all colors, except for shades of blue, and can be quite large and voluminous. Peony plants also bloom early, usually in mid to late spring, and would work as a great start for a long, colorful flowering season!

All this and so very little fussing to keep them looking as good as they naturally do!

Planting and Transplanting Peony Plants

planting peony

Keeping these fuss-free perennials happy is easy! Finding a full sun location in well-drained soil is the easy part since Peony perennials are so easy-going! And planting or transplanting your plants is just as easy!

Peonies are best planted and transplanted while dormant - so spring and fall are best, but you can plant container Peonies any time when the ground isn’t frozen. Also, you should avoid transplanting or dividing Peonies when they are in bloom.

Step By Step Peony Planting


Once you have your chosen Peony and a well-drained and sunny location, ensure the site accommodates the Peony's mature spread without crowding. These plants need good air circulation and morning sun to help prevent powdery mildew. Pick a site that will not soon be shaded out by young trees growing nearby as well.

  1. Dig a hole that is as deep as the plant's roots - as deep as it is planted in its container or as deep as the bareroot plants were planted previously before the roots were dug. The crown of the Peony (where the roots come together) should be just an inch or so beneath the surface of the soil.
  2. The hole should be large enough to house the entire root system freely, and not in a large clump.
  3. Soak your container until bubbles stop rising or soak your bareroots for a few hours until overnight.
  4. Remove your Peony from the pot or remove the bareroot plants from their soaking pot and spread their roots out in the hole and adjust the planting depth.
  5. Fill the hole with some soil, fill the hole with water, and let it drain away before backfilling with additional soil.
  6. Water in again and gently tamp down to remove extra air pockets.
  7. Top with 3-4 inches of arborist mulch to hold in moisture and add insulation
  8. Check daily using the Finger Test Method and maintain consistent moisture levels until the ground freezes or your plant is established and can hold its own.


Step By Step Peony Transplanting


Can I transplant Peonies in the fall? Yes!

Transplanting Peonies is often done when they are not growing, either in the early spring (before they grow/bloom), or late fall. You may need to transplant your Peony for a variety of reasons.

One reason is that the plant may not be thriving in its current location. This may be for several reasons, including not enough sun or poor soil drainage. Maybe the Peony got too large for its location or you are moving and taking your plant with you? Another reason is that you have divided your Peonies; a chore that should be done every few years. Spreading these joyful plants into more areas of your landscape or sharing them with friends, family, and neighbors!

Transplanting is just as easy as planting!

  1. If your Peonies have gone dormant, trim away all stems and foliage down to a few inches and remove the debris from the area.
  2. Dig around the plant, about a foot away from the stems, and dig fairly deep - straight down. The underground root structure of a Peony plant can sometimes get pretty large, and it is important not to damage any of the tubers if possible.
  3. Using a garden fork, gently begin lifting all around.
  4. Once the plant is up, remove as much of the soil from around the tubers as possible. This can be done using water or lightly shaking the roots.
  5. Once the soil has been removed, you will be left with a mass of fleshy tuberous roots that can be cut into smaller pieces to move into other areas of the landscape and maintain the vigor of the individual clumps.
  6. Using a clean knife, or sharp spade, divide your Peonies by cutting the tubers into pieces with at least 5-7 eyes. The eyes are pink or green and pointed and each eye will become a stem as these eyes sprout in spring.
  7. Select a new location that will satisfy the needs of the plant and follow the steps for Planting a Peony above.

Easy Peasy Peonies!

Planting and transplanting Peonies brings scented beauty to your landscape! Not to mention drawing butterflies and Hummingbirds into your garden and ample blooms for cut flower gardens!

Remember that when you plant a new Peony or transplant an existing plant to a new location - you will need a bit of patience as only about half of these plants will bloom the first year. In the 2nd year, they should all bloom and in the 3rd year they will usually have developed more stems and produced a nice clump for you to enjoy.

Check out our Garden Blog and #ProPlantTips for all your Peony and Perennial Plant Care needs! Nature Hills is here to help you with all your favorite plants’ care and maintenance! 

So check out all the gorgeous Peony varieties available for shipping this fall and we’ll get your order shipped to you at the perfect planting time for your growing zone!

Happy Planting (and Transplanting)!

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