How to divide and transplant peonies

I have always dreamt of mass plantings of peonies in my garden, and this dream quickly became a reality when I found about 12 mature peony plants that were almost choked out by weeds in my lower garden. This entry is about how I successfully transferred them to a new location in my garden.

First of all, there are three types of peonies: herbaceous peonies, tree peonies and itoh peonies. This is about herbaceous peonies, with stems that die back to the ground each winter and reemerge in spring

The best time to transplant herbaceous peonies is in the autumn, after the foliage begins to brown and die down. They prefer areas with full sun and good drainage.

I decided to plant my peonies at the top of a hill which gets both morning sunlight and evening sunlight. Behind the planting area is a short stone wall which warms the soil quite early in the season.

I carefully dug out and untangled most of the peony tubers out of weeds and overgrown roots in autumn 2019. I had no idea what I was doing, but I Googled profusely.

AUTUMN 2019

Here they were! Large well-established plants in a forgotten area of the garden.

I carefully brushed dirt away from the tubers and looked for “eyes”.

If you want to divide your peony tubers – make sure that each divided tuber has a few eyes on them.

I planted the tubers at the very surface of their new home, as I read that they don’t like to be planted too deep.

Knowing that frost was only a few weeks away, I protected the surface with old leaves.

I cut off the rest of their withering foliage, sprinkled bone meal over them and crossed my fingers.

TIP: I read somewhere that peonies wont bloom for a year of two after being transplanted, so I planted tulips bulbs around them to decorate the flower bed while they established themselves in their new home.

SPRING 2020

In early spring I was relieved and happy to see that they were all poking out of the soil.

To my surprise I suddenly saw peony buds popping up everywhere!

*The dark purple flower in this image is a double tulip that can easily be mistaken for a peony.

Suddenly the peony buds started opening, and I realized that I would be getting peonies on their first year after transplanting after all!

SUMMER 2020

The peonies were utterly heart-stopping in the early summer. I feel that the images speak for themselves.

AUTUMN 2020

Now it is autumn again, and I’ve decided to make it “official”. I’ve turned the area into a proper flower bed, and have transplanted the last of the tubers from the lower garden. I now have an over 10 meter long bed with only gorgeous scarlet peonies – all inherited from a previous owner. I even had enough to gift my neighbor with a large tuber which I hope blooms for her next year.

I will keep you updated on this flower bed next spring/summer.

1 Comment
  1. You did such a beautiful job transplanting them! I also loved the tulips planted in between. I look forward to more of your garden blogs as you get really into it ????