Peony is the State Flower of Indiana, and if you want more of them or you need to move the perennial, now is the time. I need to move several of these, mainly because nearby plants shroud the peonies (Paeonia latifolia). Peony blooms have become non-existent because the plant is not getting enough sun. Here’s how to transplant a peony in five steps.
Step 1: Prepare new hole
Dig the new planting hole. The new planting hole should be 10 to 12 inches deep. Mix compost, chopped leaves, well-rotted manure or other organic matter in the new hole.
Step 2: Dig peony
Dig around the peony to be transplanted to lift it from the soil. You probably won’t see a lot of roots, but you will see rhizomes.
Step 3: Cut back stems
Cut stems back to about 4 to 6 inches. You can cut them back before or after the peony is dug. Cutting the stems back makes the plant (and root ball) easier to handle.
Step 4: Planting depth
Make a small mound of soil in the new hole. On the clumps’ rhizomes (yellow arrows), you’ll see growth points or eyes (red circles). These growth points should not be planted deeper than about 2 inches, including mulch, from the soil surface. Place the peony clump on the soil mound with the rhizomes pointed down or outward down and backfill with soil mixed with organic matter. I know that doesn’t sound very deep, but if peonies are planted too deep, they will not bloom.
Step 5: Water and mulch
Water the new planting well. Mulch the planted area with compost, shredded bark or chopped leaves. Continue watering regularly until the ground freezes. A newly planted peony may take a couple of years before it resumes blooming.
Most of the peonies we grow in our gardens were bred for the cut-flower trade. That’s why the flowers are so large, top heavy and susceptible to being beaten down by rain. Next spring, as soon as you seen the peony break ground, place a ring or other brace to hold the plant’s flower head high.