The Q&A Archives: Invigorating Peonies after Division

Question: About 1 1/2 months ago I separated a peony bush into 8 pieces. One of the 8 looks great. Are the other ones dead, dormant or are they in shock? Connie Kates Piedmont, OK

Answer: While the best time to plant peonies is in the fall, they can be successfully transplanted in the spring if they are given adequate water and good soil. When dividing them, each piece of root should have at least three eyes or growing buds, and they should be planted at the same depth at which they were growing previously. Your plants are likely in shock and need time and extra care to develop a strong root system and get them through the hot summer. Provide plenty of water and sprinkle some compost and wood ashes around the base of the plants. You can also fertilize them with a fertilizer high in potash (the last number in the analysis) which promotes strong root growth. Avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen (the first number in the analysis) because this promotes more vegetative growth than the root system may be able to handle yet.

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