Peonies are popular perennials featuring large, fragrant blooms. While they may thrive in one spot for many years, sometimes there are reasons to transplant them to a different location.
Established peony plants may need to be transplanted for many reasons: if they are not receiving enough sunlight; if, for aesthetic reasons, they would be better suited elsewhere; or if they are not flowering adequately. In addition, sometimes large peony bushes need to be moved to a more open area where they can grow freely.
To prepare a plant for a new location, cut down the plant to a few inches above ground in the fall after the plant has finished producing blooms. Use a shovel to carefully dig around and under the plant, retaining as much of the roots as possible, and move the peonies to an area that receives a good amount of direct sunlight during the day and has well-drained soil. To plant, dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root system. Place the plant down in the hole so that the buds are 1 to 2 inches below the soil level in the garden–if they are planted too low, it will prevent flowering. Fill the hole with soil, pressing down on the soil around the plant, and water thoroughly.
A bed of mulch 2 to 4 inches thick will help protect the roots over the winter. Add a layer of straw, fallen leaves, pine needles or mulch products purchased in home improvement or garden stores. Remove the mulch in early spring to allow the plants to grow.
Once established, peony plants require very little care; however, staking with twine may be a good idea, as the large flowers can get quite heavy during the summer months.
Transplanted peony plants will not bloom well in the following spring; in fact, any blooms that might develop should be removed in order to maximize the plant’s growth. After two to three years in its new location, the peony plant should bloom nicely.