How to Transplant Peonies Without Killing the Plant

As an avid gardener, I always look for ways to improve my garden and add new plants to my collection. One plant that I have always loved is the peony, with its beautiful blooms and delicate fragrance. However, sometimes peonies can become overcrowded or outgrow their current location, which is how you know it’s time to transplant them to a new spot in the garden or a larger pot if you wish. 

Transplanting peonies can seem intimidating, but with the right preparation and techniques, it can be a rewarding and successful task. In this article, I will walk you through transplanting peonies, from preparing the new location to caring for the transplanted plants.

Why Should I Transplant Peonies?

Peonies transplant

There are a few reasons why you might want to transplant peonies:

Outgrown current location: Peonies can live for many years, and over time they may outgrow their current location or become overcrowded. Transplanting them to a new location can give them more space to grow and thrive.

Poor soil quality: Peonies prefer well-draining soil rich in organic matter. If the soil in your current location is not ideal for peonies, transplanting them to a location with better soil can improve their health and growth.

Aesthetic reasons: You may want to transplant peonies to a new location in your garden to change the layout or to fill in empty spaces.

Divide and multiply: Peonies can be multiplied by transplanting a portion of the plant to a new location. This allows you to create new plants from the original, which can be a cost-effective way to add more peonies to your garden.

Overall, transplanting peonies can be a good way to improve their health and give them the space they need to grow and thrive. It’s important to choose the right time of year and follow proper transplanting techniques to ensure the success of the transplant.

What Time Is Best For Transplanting Peonies?

The best time to transplant peonies is when the plants are dormant in the fall. Depending on your location, this typically occurs in late September or early October. At this time, the soil is still warm enough for the roots to establish themselves, but the cooler temperatures will help prevent the plants from going into shock.

To transplant peonies, start by choosing a new location with at least 6 hours of sun per day and well-draining soil. Then, carefully dig up the peony plants to get as much of the root system as possible. Plant the peonies at the same depth they were previously growing, and water them well to help them get established.

If you cannot transplant your peonies in the fall, you can also do it in early spring, just as the plants start to come out of dormancy. However, be prepared for the plants to take longer to become established in their new location if you transplant them at this time.

How to Prepare for Transplanting Peonies

Before you begin the transplanting process, there are a few things you should do to prepare:

Water the plants well the day before you plan to dig them up. This will help to soften the soil and make it easier to dig.

Choose a new location for the peonies with well-draining soil and full sun or partial shade. Peonies prefer a location with well-draining soil and full sun, but they can also tolerate partial shade.

Dig a hole in the new location that is large enough to accommodate the root system of the peony. Make sure to dig the hole at the same depth as the peonies were previously growing.

How to Transplant Peonies?

To transplant peonies, follow these steps:

Carefully dig up the plants using a spade or shovel. Make sure to get as much of the root system as possible. Try to dig at least 6 inches away from the plant to ensure you get all the roots.

Trim any damaged or diseased roots with a sharp knife or pruning shears.

Place the peonies in the hole in the new location, spreading the roots out evenly. Fill the hole with soil, tamping it down gently to remove any air pockets.

Water the plants well after planting, and mulch around the base to help retain moisture and protect the plants from extreme temperatures.

Tips for Transplanting Peonies

white Peonies

When digging up the peonies, be careful not to damage the root system. Try to keep as much of the root system intact as possible.

If the peonies are especially large or difficult to transplant, you may need to divide the plants into smaller sections. To do this, gently pull the plants apart, getting as much of the root system as possible with each division.

Water the plants well after transplanting to help them get established in their new location. Be sure to water them regularly until they become established.

Mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture and protect the plants from extreme temperatures.

Following these steps, you can successfully transplant your peonies to a new location in your garden. With proper care, your peonies will thrive in their new home and continue bringing beauty to your garden for many years.

Monitoring Peonies After Transplant

After transplanting peonies, monitoring them closely is important to ensure they adjust well to their new location. Here are a few things to look for:

Watering: Be sure to water the peonies regularly, especially during dry spells. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged.

Mulching: Mulch around the base of the peonies to help retain moisture and protect the plants from extreme temperatures.

Fertilizing: Peonies do not require a lot of fertilization, but you can provide them with a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in the spring to help them get off to a good start.

Pest and disease control: Keep an eye out for pests or diseases that may affect your peonies. Common pests include aphids, Japanese beetles, and leaf miners. If you notice any pests, try removing them by hand or using an organic pest control method. If you notice any disease, such as wilting or discolored leaves, you may need to treat the plants with a fungicide.

By monitoring your peonies closely after transplanting, you can help them to thrive in their new location and continue to bring beauty to your garden.


Can I transplant peonies in the spring?

While it is generally best to transplant peonies in the fall, it is also possible to transplant them in the spring. However, spring transplanting can be more stressful for the plants and may result in reduced blooming in the first year after transplanting.

How do I care for transplanted peonies?

After transplanting peonies, water them regularly to help them establish their root systems in their new location. Fertilize the plants with a balanced fertilizer according to the label instructions. Mulch the plants with a layer of organic matter, such as bark or straw, to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Can peonies be transplanted successfully?

Peonies can be successfully transplanted with proper care. However, they do not like to be disturbed, and can take several years to fully recover from transplanting. To increase the chances of success, choose a suitable location, prepare the soil well, and handle the plants gently during the transplanting process.

Transplanting peonies can be daunting, but proper planning and care can be a rewarding experience for both the plant and the gardener. When transplanting peonies, choosing a location with well-draining soil, full sun, and enough space for the plant to grow is important.

It is also essential to dig up the peony carefully, trying to preserve as much of the root system as possible. After transplanting, water the peony regularly and fertilize it to help it adjust to its new location. With the right care, your transplanted peony will thrive and bring beauty to your garden for years.

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