Just Transplanted Peonies - Knowledgebase Question

Renton, WA
Avatar for tbusacker
Question by tbusacker
October 13, 1999
I just transplanted 2 peonies. These were rather big ones and I just uprooted the whole thing and moved it with as little disturbance as possible. Is there anything I need to do now? In order to move them I had to cut them back to about a foot high (I left some of the leaves) so that I could see where to dig. When I planted them I made sure the "eyes" were about 3 inches below ground level...please tell me I didn't mess up!! Thank you!!! Also, I had no idea the roots were going to be so big (1 inch around in some cases), some broke off, is there a way to get these to root and become plants?

Answer from NGA
October 13, 1999
Peonies should be planted while they're dormant, to avoid the stress and shock of transplanting. But, since you've already transplanted them, we'll just have to wait and see how they react! For future reference, plant peonies in deep, rich, moist soil. Dig a hole at least 1 1/2 feet deep (roots go this far down!) and amend the soil with lots of organic matter to help loosen the soil and to retain moisture. Then backfill, planting the dormant root clump so that the eyes are no deeper than 2-3 inches under the surface of the soil. If you plant deeper, the buds will die before the sprouts reach the sunlight in the spring.

Peonies are propagated by dividing the crown (the underground mass of the plants). Unless a peony is at least a vigorous, 3 year old plant, it probably doesn't have a crown large enough for division.

Before you begin, prepare the site where you plan to locate the new plants, because the divisions should be transplanted right away. Dig up clumps, and cut them with a sharp knife into pieces with at least 3 "eyes" each. The "eyes" are growing points on the crown. Transplant the divisions at least 3' apart. The eyes must be no deeper than 1-2" below the soil surface, or they won't grow. It's hard to explain these parts and processes without illustrations, so if it sounds confusing, find a book on plant propagation, perennials, or peonies, and that should help. Enjoy!

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