How to Propagate Peonies

How to Propagate Peonies

Peonies (genus Paeonia) can be a spectacular, low-maintenance addition to any perennial border with their shiny dark green leaves and large red, pink or white blossoms. Before you learn how to propagate peony plants, you must choose an appropriate location for them.


Peonies grow best in full sun, although they will tolerate partial shade. Soil should be well-drained, humus-rich and not overly acidic. Recommended propagation methods are by root cuttings or by division. Peonies can be grown from seed but often do not breed true. Either propagation method should be done in autumn as the plants approach winter dormancy.

Propagate by Division

To propagate by division, dig up the entire clump and divide it into smaller clumps of two or three stems along with their fleshy roots. Plant each clump in a new location and water well.

Root Cuttings

Root cuttings should be taken after the plant has gone dormant for the winter. Lift the plant with a spade and cut off several of the large, fleshy roots. Be sure to keep the cuttings oriented so that the end that was nearest the parent plant is upward–if the cuttings are planted “upside-down” they won’t root. Prepare a container filled with equal amounts of sterilized potting soil and peat moss. Water the soil thoroughly and allow to drain. Dust the bottom of each cutting with powdered sulfur fungicide. Cuttings should be planted at least 1½ inches apart and the top of each should be at the surface of the soil. Once all cuttings are planted, cover with ¼” to ½” of coarse sand or pea gravel. Do not over-water; excessive moisture encourages fungi which can kill the cuttings. When shoots appear, apply a mild fertilizer. After the plants are well-established they can be transplanted to individual containers or to the garden.




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