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What Are the Best Tips for Transplanting Peonies?

Transplanting peonies requires careful timing and technique. The best tips include choosing a cool, overcast day in the fall, preparing a well-draining spot with rich soil, and ensuring the roots are planted shallowly with eyes facing upwards. Water thoroughly after planting. Are you ready to learn the secrets to helping your peonies thrive in their new home? Keep reading for expert advice.
A.E. Freeman
A.E. Freeman

When transplanting peonies, working quickly is important. Transplanting the flowers at the right time of year is also key to a successful transplant. A gardener should choose a spot that gets enough sun and has good soil for the peonies. To make sure the plants bloom again, a gardener should be careful that each peony has several eyes on the stem.

Transplanting peonies should happen in the fall. Preferably, a gardener should wait until the first frost before transplanting these flowers. The first frost can be as early as September or not until late November, depending on the location. If transplanting doesn't happen in the fall, it is possible do it in the spring, before the weather becomes too warm.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

One reason for transplanting peonies is that the area they are growing in doesn't receive enough sunlight any more, perhaps because buildings have been constructed over the years or other plants and trees have grown large enough to block the sun. The new spot for the peonies needs to receive full sun throughout the day for the flowers to thrive.

The new spot for the peonies needs to have soil that drains well so that the roots do not rot. Peonies also need rich, fertile soil. A gardener should mix compost and 10-10-10 fertilizer into the soil before transplanting peonies.

To move the peonies, a gardener needs to dig around and underneath the plant's root ball. Some of the roots may be cut, but ideally as much of the roots will be undamaged as possible. A hole should be dug in the transplant location that is slightly larger than the root ball of the peonies. Transplantation should happen quickly, as the sooner the peonies are placed back in the soil, the more likely they will be to thrive and survive.

Peonies have eyes on the shoots, from which the flowers bloom. When transplanting the flowers, a gardener may need to divide the plant, especially if it is older and has grown quite large. To divide and transplant peonies successfully, the gardener should make sure that each division has at least three eyes on it. The divided plants should be placed back in the soil as quickly as possible.

The eyes of the peony shouldn't be planted too deeply into the soil or else the plant won't bloom. A gardener should place each shoot with the eyes no more than an inch or two (2.54 to 5.08 cm) below the surface of the soil. After planting, she should press in the soil and water well.

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Discussion Comments


One year I transplanted a peony bush because I didn't think that it was getting enough sun. Though the area I transplanted it to was sunny and had good soil, the plant didn't do very well for several years. It actually did much better in its original shady spot.

I don't think I was very well-versed on the proper transplanting techniques, so I did my poor peony bush more harm then good.

I learned a lesson about transplanting plants- make sure you know the proper transplanting methods before you begin. An article like this is a good place to start.


I know that most people say that peonies should be transplanted in the fall, but I have found that it can be done in the early spring if you are very careful.

To do this, just make sure that you do it before the plants are tall and have buds for the year's blooms. Dig deep around the roots, and divide the plants very gently. Have the new area where you will be transplanting your peonies ready so they don't have time to wilt.

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