Peonies are hardy, long lasting perennials that produce beautiful, aromatic flowers in the spring and summer. They can be left undisturbed for years, but over time they can stop flowering and get overcrowded.
Subsequently, they need to be divided to regain their beauty and glory. September is the ideal time to divide your peonies, when the leaves have died back. Once the plants are dug up, they need to be transplanted immediately.
Here are the steps on how to divide your peonies:
- Prepare your new planting area. Choose a sunny area (one that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight during the day). Peonies prefer rich, well-drained soil. Amend soil with added peat moss or compost, if necessary.
- Cut the peony stems and foliage down to ground level.
- Carefully dig around the peony plant, creating a perimeter to remove the root mass (tubers). Be careful not to cause damage to the thick, fleshy roots.
- Remove any loose soil and rinse off the tubers, so that you can see the “eyes” or buds at the top of the root structure.
- Cut the plant structure into smaller, more manageable sections using a sharp knife, making sure each new division has at least 3 buds and an adequate root system. New growth develops from the buds.
- Dig a hole wide enough for the new plant, placing the roots 1-2 inches below ground level. Planting the tubers too deep can prevent flowering. Space plants about 3 feet apart.
- Fill the rest of the hole with soil and water thoroughly. Water often until the peony plant is established.
- Applying a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the plant is recommended to protect the root system from frost during the winter months.
- Patiently wait for your plant to bloom again. Newly transplanted peonies will take 3-4 years before they start flowering.
Here is a video tutorial on how to divide and transplant your peonies: