Propagating Herbaceous Peonies

How to Divide Peonies  or Raise Peonies from Seed

Herbaceous hybrid ‘Alba Plena’ Division

Propagation is the act of increasing the number of plants from a single peony. There comes a time when it’s handy to know how to propagate peonies, whether you want to share a favorite peony plant with a friend, create more divisions of a favorite cut flower, or rescue a classic heritage variety from Grandma’s back yard.

A number of methods can be used to propagate peonies, each has its merits. Some are fairly simple, but some are difficult or complex.   All require patience, as peonies are slow growers compared to many other plants.  However, peonies require minimal care in most instances and are very long lived, making them an excellent choice for the garden.

The most common method of propagation for herbaceous peonies is crown/root division of plants that are 3 or more years in age.  Each cultivar will have its own unique crown structure and a bit of investigation will be required to determine the best areas to cut away to create a division.  The goal in making a division is to create a plant that has 3 to 5 eyes on a crown with an adequate root system to support it for a year or two.

Please note that peonies should be divided into divisions when they are dug up.  Digging, moving and replanting entire clumps , without division, will cause the plants to go into slow decline.  The creation of a division will cause new roots to grow and create a viable and vigorous plant that will be a valuable show piece in the garden for years to come.  See Additional Resources below for more detailed instructions about dividing peonies.

4 Year Old Seed Grown Peonies

Herbaceous Hybrid ‘Claire de Lune’ Division

Additional Resources

Two major forms of propagation are employed for creating new plants of herbaceous peonies. Learn how seed and division provide different outcomes.