Transplanting in spring

kappuFebruary 23, 2005


I have some peonies that I had originally placed at the front of my small flowerbed. They have gotten so big & beautiful but they block out all the other plants. As I was reading this forum, it looks like I should've transplanted them last fall.

However, I really need them out of the flower bed for this coming season, and I have another suitable spot. When would the best time to transplant them in the near future and what should I look out for?

Thanks so much.



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peonyman(Zone 5, Lawrence, Ks)

It is true that fall is the only time that you should transplant peonies. If they must be moved then... I would suggest that you move them now as soon as possible unless the ground is frozen. They will have spring to get down feeder roots before flowering. I would suggest that you not divide them this time of the year but rather try to move the clumps with as much soil as possible to carry some of the feeder roots already formed in late fall/early winter.

Still would have been better to have moved them a few months ago.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 8:15PM
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Do as peonyman suggests and you will be OK. Al

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 9:24PM
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I have to say that I have always moved my peonies in spring. I wait until I see just the red tips poking through and then dig them up. I have never had a problem doing this and they always bloom yet the same year. I have moved very old peonies and also young ones this way with no problem. So you should be ok. Just be sure to water them a little more than you would have otherwise. I always feel they get a better start here in zone 4. Fall planting has never worked well for me. Seem to lose many plants. I think it is because they just don't have time to set roots before the cold winters.

Mary Lu

    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 11:28AM
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Thanks so much for the advice. I live in NYC, and we just had some snow..I can't wait to try it, and will be careful when I do. Will update as to what happens.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 5:50PM
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Kappu....the requirement of the sized root ball is utmost.
Even then, you should look forward to possibly the plants not blooming this season. Peony just do not like to be disturbed.

It would be better to wait until the fall when their foliage can be allowed to die back and you can better do the transplanting. The plant will not be under as much stress to they do in the spring.
Even then....'06 bloom may be delayed...until '07.

You are forewarned.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2005 at 12:55PM
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I only find peonies for sale here in the spring so had no choice but to buy and plant then; have had excellant luck with all surviving anyway. Nurseries here can't explain why they don't sell them in the fall though.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 3:23PM
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It's me. I managed to find the opportunity to transplant my peonies on a nice non-wet Saturday while yet still a bit cold. It went well; I do have experience with roses and bleeding hearts, so I am optimistic. Buutttt time will tell. I am not expecting any blooms this year. So, now I can plan out my garden which has very little space to work with which is why I needed to move it.

Thanks alot for the advice, and i will jump up and down when I see my first blooms, and then I will update y'all here..


    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 3:43PM
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I started to transplant my peonies but gave up because it is so big. What I want to know is if it will die on me since I broke a few of the tubers (roots)lol not sure if they're called tubers.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 1:40PM
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My transplanting seems to have gone well. The plants have come up and are looking lush. I double-digged the area and put in good amendments, tried not to place the tubers too deep. I am still crossing my fingers regarding blooms.

The tip about the coolness requirements helped me greatly.



    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 2:20PM
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lesleynd(z3/4 ND)

I moved into this house in 2003 and started fresh with foundation plantings. There was this one weed/plant that I just couldn't get rid of. I dug it up, tons of tubers and it kept coming back. If only a piece of the root was left behind, it sprouted within a few days. Well, I decided to get an expert to tell me what it was. It is a peony!!!! From what I have been reading it appears I won't get flowers this year after digging it up so much but I just want to assure people that these plants are tough!!!!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 10:52AM
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Well Kappu, how did the spring transplanting go? Did they survive, did you get bloom the next year, or how long did you have to wait?

Mary Lu, thanks for the tip about spring planting in WI. Last year I transplanted a peony in late June, and it might have died, at least it has not yet sprouted. (I did not cut the foliage back) Just yesterday I transplanted 3 peonies which had stemmed to about 18" and have tiny 1/4 inch diameter flower buds, again did not cut foliage you think they will survive?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 3:30PM
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Today I got 2 more peonies, they are at least 4 years old. This time I tried to spade outside the imagined dripline and get the whole rootball. The roots are huge! They must go down 2 or 3 feet! There are alot of shoots, most just emerging, the tallest maybe 8 inches tall. I hope to get a few blooms this summer from this spring transplant.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 12:17AM
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I married last June and moved to another city in TN. I had two very old, but small from being moved so many times, peonies which I transplanted yet again. I agree, they are tough, but don't like to be moved. They died back last summer, but came back up this spring. I'm sure I won't have blooms, but was thrilled to see that they made it yet again. This should be their last move (mine, too!)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 2:50PM
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The big thing about peonies, whether they bloom after being transplanted or otherwise disturbed, is the depth they are planted. If transplanting, be sure to put them at the exact same depth they were originally and when cultivating in the spring, do not topdress a peony because to do so puts the plant effectively deeper and may result in poorer or no-show of bloom.
Sidedress a peony only. And fresh compost, as a mulch, is a good fertilizer.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 11:09AM
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I am putting in a lawn and tearing out a flower bed and moving it to another area. I moved a whole bunch of peonies yesterday not even thinking it would be a problem then came on this site and started reading. Now I am freaking out, I really hope they don't die. I love peonies! I had no choice but to move them but fingers crossed. Yikes!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 11:18AM
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Don't freak out, Luka! While it may be ideal to move them in fall, they are really tough plants.

Four years ago I moved in July, so it was either take them then or leave them behind. Moved a dozen mature plants and they all did fine. They did better than I did - they were absolutely enormous can sure hurt yourself digging and hauling them : )

I mulched them and kept them watered the rest of the hot miserable summer. July has got to be the worst time to transplant stuff - baking and dry. All but one bloomed the next year; that one bloomed the year following, after I'd replanted it yet again (realized I'd put it in too deep).


    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 8:54PM
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