Peonies are long-lived perennials that come in shades of pink, red and white. Grown from a rhizome, or tuberous root segment, they require dividing occasionally to prevent overcrowding in the bed. Each rhizome has buds on them. These are similar to the eyes on a potato, but peony buds are reddish in hue. After divisions it is best to replant the root segments, but you can store them for a short period of time if you need to make a new garden bed or are planning on giving them away to another gardener.
Things You’ll Need
- Fungicide dip
- Perforated plastic bags
- Peat moss
- Dig up peony roots in fall once the plant begins to die back naturally for winter dormancy. Dig around the plant, taking care not to hit the rhizome, then slide your spade under the root system and lever it out of the ground.
- Break apart the clumps of root with the tip of your spade. Cut each section so it has three to five large growing eyes on it.
- Mix a peony fungicide solution in a bowl, following package instructions. Rinse the dirt from each rhizome and place it in the fungicide to soak for 10 minutes.
- Spread the rhizomes out on a sheet of newspaper in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Allow them to dry completely, usually about five days.
- Fill a perforated plastic bag with dry peat moss. Place the rhizomes inside the peat moss and store the bag in a cool, dry place until ready to plant.
Tips & Warnings
Divide and store roots from plants that are at least 3 to 5 years old.
Rhizomes can also be stored in shoe boxes filled with dry peat moss or vermiculite.
Peony rhizomes may rot during storage. Check the roots weekly and cut off any soft or withered spots so the rot doesn’t spread to the healthy root sections.