Is it safe to replant peony?

Mila Myk
by Mila Myk
I've heard it might be tricky. Is it true? What is the best way to that? It's this year's plant. No flowers yet.
  26 answers
  • Rustic & Refined Rustic & Refined on Apr 30, 2014
    It can be tricky simply because peonies (in order to bloom) like to planted at a certain level. If they're planted too deep all you will get is leaves and no flowers. Spring is the best time or after the blooms have faded. I would check a peony website that gives more detail on how deep to plant or try and keep the level of soil the same when you transplant. I also cannot guarantee if you transplant now that it will re-bloom...I always wait til summer or fall to move a lot of my plants that way I get the blooms first.
  • Rustic has great points. peonies do not like to be moved and you will set them back a year. peonies like sun and they need at least a year to get rooted in the ground. Almost any flowering plant should not be moved or pruned until after it flowers. Is there a reason why you want to move it already? If it does not get 8 hours of sun then it is not going to be a prolific bloomer so maybe you should move it now so you can wait for blooms next year or year after. In my experience it will take at least 3 years for the plant to reach its potential. I have a start from a peony that is at least 50 years old that was my mother in law's whom I never got the pleasure of meeting (and so it is special and last year it had one gorgeous bloom). This peony has moved across country and in 10 years had been moved 3 times- and now it has finally forming more than 1 bloom! So patience is something you have to have in gardening- Good luck and Happy gardening!
  • In general Peonies are best moved when they are small. Once large they have huge root systems that are almost impossible to dig up by hand without damage. Large peonies are better divided and replanted as smaller sections.
  • Pam Park Pam Park on Apr 30, 2014
    Good infor, thank you all
  • Lisa Lisa on Apr 30, 2014
    Everything everyone has said so far is absolutely true. But in true Nature's fashion, I have a story that completely differs. One of the seasonal campers that is at the campground where I do all of the landscaping dug up and gave me one of the peonies on her new site. I didn't have time to deal with it and set it under a tree, along with some hostas. At the end of the season, I munched it. I did nothing with it for a full year and a half. It had leaves come up, so I knew I hadn't killed it. Yet. The next spring, I dug a hole in my sunny garden bed, added water, plopped the peony into the hole and filled it in with soil. The peony bloomed slightly that year, and has bloomed profusely every year since. It's a single, not a double. I don't know if that has anything to do with surviving my neglect (plopped on the ground in the middle of a bunch of hostas, in the shade, receiving nothing but rainwater and mulch for a year and a half), but every time I see that peony, I am reminded that all things are possible.
    • See 2 previous
    • @Lisa Love it!
  • Nancy Hatcher Nancy Hatcher on Apr 30, 2014
    Thank goodness my peonies did not know they were supposed to be fussy about being divided and replanted. I don't even know when I did it but you would never know that I moved them. They bloomed that year and never even showed any droop or loss of leaf!
  • Connie B Connie B on Apr 30, 2014
    I must be lucky, too! My sister-in-law gave me 3 nice white ones and a neighbor gave me a pink one. I planted them about a month ago and they all have buds on them.
    • @Connie B I believe, and this is going to sound crazy, but I think that the energy we put off when gardening reflects in the way our gardens grow. If you are afraid of something dying, then most often it seems to die or develop issues that send us in a panic. I just think if you are excited about something and carry no negative energy, then the outcome should almost always be great. That is why I love gardening and tell everyone that attitude is more than knowledge. I am always given plants that need resurrecting because my friends and neighbors know if it has any life left I can bring it back...enjoy your peonies and post pics when they bloom!
  • Connie B Connie B on Apr 30, 2014
    True, true, true. We downsized to a home w/ only a few boxwoods and 2 king maples in yard. Have planted over 100 trees/shrubs since last summer and I did lose 6 plants. We had a hard winter. Peonies are fine. You just never know, but I'll not dwell on it....just keep planting!!
  • Loretta Loretta on Apr 30, 2014
    I divided one big one into 5 small ones, they did great blooming this spring. I also let the bloom dry on the plant and then took it off and crushed it in my hand and dropped it on the ground in my bed and had sprouts coming up this spring. Going to give them a year or two before transplanting them.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on May 01, 2014
    If you're going to do it by the books, the time to move peonies is early fall. It is crucial they not be planted too deep: the "eyes" should be just at soil level.
  • Sarah Sarah on May 01, 2014
    I replanted my peonies this spring and you'd never know it, they're growing like crazy! They had been in the same spot 5 years. I've replanted peonies several times and always worry because I've heard they're supposed to be difficult to move but I've never lost one yet, the operative word being 'yet', LOL. The only real rule is not to plant them too deep.
  • Donna Shipley Donna Shipley on May 02, 2014
    I moved two of them last fall. One is doing great, but I dropped the other on getting it out of its pot and I think I damaged and lost it. It did not come up this Spring.
  • Bonnie S Bonnie S on May 02, 2014
    We have been able to just pull up some roots from the main plant and stick them in the ground...(some have been by accident)...They are all growing--have done this about 20 times...this will be the 3 yr for most of them. We have all sand so they grow slowly...but doing fine.
  • Claudia Claudia on May 02, 2014
    I transplanted my "Shirley Temple" into a sunnier location last Fall, raised it slightly above soil level, and it is now loaded with buds. Can't wait to see it in bloom.
  • Kelly S Kelly S on May 03, 2014
    I will have to move mine, our dog likes to pee on it and some of the stalks aren't doing so well. Something to add to the front of the house. I'm glad to know about moving them. I was afraid that I just might loose it all together.
  • Jean DeSavage Jean DeSavage on May 03, 2014
    I live in a mobile home park and in November the home next to mine had a major plumbing problem, the main line from the house to the street had to be replaced. I had only about one hour to move my peony, two rhododendrums, a wigelia and several ornamental grasses. I got the peony replanted, in a sunnier spot, so I hope it will be happier there. The rhody, wigelia and grasses were put in a tub with soil and watered and put in my shed. Two days later it started snowing and we didn't get an respite until this spring. I really figured everything was going to be dead! On Easter it was lovely out, so I decided to putter around in the yard, I pulled the tub out and was surprised and delighted to see that not only did the rhody's survive with just a bit of soil around the roots, they were budded! The wigelia seems to be fine too. I hope the grasses will be. My peony was just a tiny little thing, barely having anything above ground when I transplanted it in November. On May 1st I noticed that I have shoots starting to come up where the peony had been planted. It survived! I'm so excited, this is just my third year having any kind of garden.
  • Lynne Lynne on May 03, 2014
    I've always heard that they are super fussy for replanting etc. My experience is it depends upon the individual plant, some can take a royal beating, others are just too sensitive. I've experienced both. Take a chance and see. But just a note, I have black thumbs.... but maybe I wouldn't move one after it's started its' season.
  • Terresa K Terresa K on May 04, 2014
    I've replanted mine with no problems.
  • Suzette Trimmer Suzette Trimmer on May 04, 2014
    I have dug up transplanted just about every known perennial and peonies always have shown that they are in fact far hardier then previously thought. I had dug up 15 year old clumps of huge peony dividend it many times over, I even went several weeks between transplants, quite a few of them remained sitting in transplant solution for that time and still thrived afterwards stuck in ground for winter and this morning already re dug up to final resting spot up on sunny hill. I know using root hormone always helps this go better.
    • Kelly S Kelly S on May 04, 2014
      @Suzette T , thanks for the tip on rooting hormone. when I move mine this fall I'll be sure to use it. I'm moving the lily-of-the-valley also. Great news.
  • Mila Myk Mila Myk on May 14, 2014
    Thank you for all your helpful answers and replanting stories! Much appreciated! xx
  • Carolyn Hoxton Carolyn Hoxton on Jun 14, 2014
    I just bought three peonies at Menards, hope it isn't too late to plant them, is it? Thanks, appreciate any tips
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    • Mila Myk Mila Myk on Jun 15, 2014
      @Carolyn Hoxton I would definitely try to plant them! I don't have any blooms yet, but my replanting went well and they are getting bigger every day(thanks for all the helpfulf tips). Oh, and I put mine in the pot. In front of my front garden (lol;)) there's communal lawn and peonies that grow there blew my mind- they are size of my head! And nobody even cares deweeding the lawn. Conditions they grow in: shade till 7 pm, very wet, around 16° C- 20°C (in the summer!) and peonies are still amazing, so I would definitely give it a try! You never know with peonies, I guess. Good luck!
  • Carolyn Hoxton Carolyn Hoxton on Jun 15, 2014
    Thanks , I planted them yesterday, and gave them water last night and again this morning. I will keep them watered
  • Carolyn Hoxton Carolyn Hoxton on Jun 15, 2014
    Thanks for the tip.
  • Retha cook Retha cook on Oct 03, 2016
    I have moved my peonies to 3 different homes. They have traveled thousands of miles in a bucket. Don't rub the dirt line off and be sure to plant it to the same level in your new location.
  • Betsy Betsy on Sep 06, 2023

    Hi Mila: I have dozens of peonies in my yard that I moved from my mom's yard and they are doing quite well. Plant them about 3 or 4 feet apart as they grow large. One thing to remember is that the tuber (the thing that looks like a small sweet potato) needs to level with the ground or slightly below, depending on your climate. It's best to do the moving in the spring when the soil is warm so that the roots can have a chance to grow and get settled. The dirt should be loose, and not compacted. And, they love the sun :) And, water. Water from the bottom so that you don't get white mildew on the leaves, preferably in the morning, but not in the hot sun. Some fertilizer is good, I use tulip fertilizer. Here's a good article that may help:

    What and When to Feed Peonies (

    Good luck

  • Janice Janice on Sep 22, 2023

    Peonies when planted in just the right spot can live for years and years and are such a bright spot in your landscape. Happy that you got so much good advice.