I am forced to move some old PEONIES. Is it too late to transplant. Do I dare...

Asked October 11, 2014, 4:05 PM EDT

I am forced to move some old PEONIES. Is it too late to transplant. Do I dare divide the plants that I need to move? Can I store them over the winter and plant in the spring? thanks - they are old family plants and I would hate to lose them.

Rice County Minnesota

1 Response

The time to dig, divide and re-plant peonies is late September through mid-October. And since you will be moving them anyway, it is an excellent time to divide them.
Begin by cutting the peony stems near ground level. Then carefully dig around and under each plant. Try to retain as much of the root system as possible. Gently shake the clump to remove loose soil from the root system. Using a large knife, divide the clump into sections. Each division should have at least three to five buds (eyes) and a good root system.
When planting a peony, dig a hole large enough to comfortably accommodate the plant’s root system. Position the peony plant in the hole so the buds are one to two inches below the soil surface. (Peonies often fail to bloom satisfactorily if the buds are more than two inches deep.) Fill the hole with soil, firming the soil around the plant as you back-fill. Then water thoroughly. Space peonies three to four feet apart.
Apply a four to six inch layer of mulch over the newly planted peonies. Mulching prevents repeated freezing and thawing of the soil during the winter months that could heave the plants out of the ground. Remove the mulch in early spring before growth begins.
It's possible that they won't bloom the first season but they will catch up by the 2nd year.
Good luck!