Peony Roots - How to Plant/Transplant Peonies

We are digging, dividing and shipping peony plants. Some of you have received your bare root peony plants in the past weeks; others will be receiving them in the coming weeks.

If you haven’t chosen the spot for your new peony plantings, here are the key points to keep in mind when prepping your garden:

  • Pick a sunny, well drained location. Peonies like full sun; but, at least a half day of sun is required to get those abundant blooms.
  • Dig a nice big hole for your root, about 18” deep by 18” wide. Spade up the soil you removed from the hole and put about two thirds of it back into the hole. That’s right – fill it back in until the hole is only about 6-8” deep.  You’ll plant your peony root in the center of this hole.
  • Plant peony roots near ‘ground level’ (not very deep).  You can place the root at an angle or straight up and down. The buds (eyes) will be at the top, just below the surface of the ground. The fleshy part of the root (kind of like a carrot) will be pointing down into the hole, or at an angle. Cover the peony root until only one to two inches of soil covers the buds (eyes). Water; then check to see if the root settled deeper. If it did, lift the root, slip a little soil under it and reposition the peony root to just below ‘ground level’. Re-cover the buds (eyes) of the root with an inch or two of soil.
  • Peonies like good drainage. Think you need to increase the drainage for your newly transplanted peonies? Prepare a hole as above; but, fill the entire hole in with the spaded soil. Place the peony root at ground level, at an angle, with the buds (eyes) facing upward. Cover the entire root with soil, being careful that the top of the root is covered with only two inches of soil.  This creates a hill (mound) above ground level, which improves drainage for the peony root. The mound should end up being about 18” wide and several inches high. Be sure to double check that the root is properly covered after the first watering.

A bit of planning and prepping a good spot for your peonies can pay big dividends. They can grow in the same spot for years, rarely, if ever, needing divided.  There are homestead peonies all over the U.S. that were planted 50 – 100 years ago and are still producing gorgeous flowers each spring.

Be looking for your root stock orders in the coming weeks and plant your own ‘heirloom’ peonies. We still have a nice selection of peonies to choose from this fall.  

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