Dividing and Moving Peonies

Dividing and transplanting your Peonies

Peonies are one of those perennials that can be left undisturbed for hundreds of years. If they are happy, they will continue to grow and bloom.  They have always been one of my favorite flowers.  So many people will say to me “ The peonies are from my grandmother’s garden.”

There comes a time however when moving or dividing becomes necessary. 

Here are a few reasons to move your peonies:

  • They do not bloom
  • They are crowded in the garden
  • Your garden has become too shady
  • You are moving and want to bring them with you.
  • You are kind enough to give your best friend a piece of Grandmas old plant!

September is the right time split and transfer. The process is simple. Just roll up your sleeves, have the right tools and dig in!

Start by cutting off all of the foliage and discarding. Discarding the foliage is an important step especially if there are any ailments such as powdery mildew (turns leaves white), fungus or spots. Do not use any discolored leaves as mulch. You may leave a few inches of the stem to help you identify the placement.


Begin by gently digging around your peony and under.  Try to keep as much of the root intact as possible. If you are moving the plant to a new location, make sure you have the hole already prepared in a nice sunny spot. Place in the hole. The top part of the clump should be no more than 1-2 inches below the soil surface. Water and mulch to protect for the winter. Straw is a good choice.  Make sure to remove the mulch in the spring to promote growth.

Do not plant too deep!! The biggest mistake gardeners make when planting peonies is planting them too deep. This will result in no flowers and poor performance.


If you are dividing your peonies follow the same steps as above but add the following:

Remove soil from the root system and inspect. Make sure that there are “Eyes”. These are the little red nobs at the top of the roots and bottom of the stems, and they are the future flowers! Divide your clump of root into sections making sure that each section has at least 3-5 eyes. 

Place your divided clump in the prepared hole. Remember NOT TOO DEEP! The eyes should no be no more than 1-2 inches below the soil surface. Remember to mulch to protect from the winter elements.

Your new plant may not bloom the first year, but that’s OK. You have 100 years to catch up with grandma!