Peonies, attractive plants that produce flowers for years, thrive in sunny areas and can provide blooms all year long. The plants are commonly propagated by dividing the plant clumps into smaller groups and replanting. The smaller the new clump the longer it will take the plant to grow to the point it has the strength to bloom. Proper timing of the dividing and planting improves the chances of a successful peony planting.
Divide the peony plant clumps in the early spring or late summer, according to University of Minnesota Extension. Use a sharp knife or the point of a shovel to break apart the clumps. It is common to break the plant clump in half or into quarters for a larger plant. Division often takes place after 10 to 15 years of growth.
Plant new clumps of the peony plant in the spring if the plant was divided in the spring. Transplant the new plant segment into the garden as soon as possible after it has been divided. Plant the peony in well-drained soil where it will receive at least five hours of full sunlight per day. Plant the peony so the top of the roots is about 2 inches beneath the ground.
Plant newly divided peony plants in the fall if it was divided in the fall. Again, plant as soon as possible after the division process. Plant full size peonies about 4 feet apart with a 2-foot spacing for the dwarf varieties. Place mulch over the plant after it goes dormant for winter protection.
Potted peonies are sometime available from greenhouses or plant nurseries. These are planted in the spring as soon as the soil is workable and the last chance of frost has passed.