How to take cuttings of a rose peony

Peony image by Konstantin Stepanov from

Peonies are popular garden perennials that grow and bloom through spring and summer, then go dormant for winter. The plants grow tall, upright stems that may expand into full shrubs, with large showy flowers. These flowers come in a range of colours, including yellow, orange, purple, red and rose (pink). If your rose peony bush is large and established, take cuttings to propagate the bush to other sites.

Divide your rose peony in the autumn with a goal of planting the cuttings and giving them time to grow roots and establish before spring. Choose an appropriate site for the cuttings before starting to save time during the transplant. Find a spot that gets at least six hours of direct sun every day and has at least 90 cm (3 feet) of spacing, as peonies don't appreciate crowding.

Work quick-draining soil and compost into the soil at your chosen site, ending with a mixture of 1/3 quick-draining soil, 1/3 compost and 1/3 garden soil. Amend the soil to a depth of 30 cm (1 foot) to ensure good drainage around and underneath the cuttings.

Cut the foliage of an established rose peony to 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches). Give it 7.5 to 12.5 cm (3 to 5 inches) of water to support it through the process. Dig up the entire root system of the bush, using a spade or shovel, and be careful not to break or damage any roots. Wash off the root system of the plant, using a garden hose, and leave it in a shaded, protected area until is softens.

Divide the root system of the peony, using a knife, scissors or pruning shears. Make sure each section has one to three crown buds, or shoots. Always cut the root system from the top down.

Replant the establish peony and move the cuttings to their new locations. Don't keep the cuttings out of the soil for much longer, as they could dry out and die. Plant the new cuttings 20 cm (8 inches) deep, so that the buds are 5 cm (2 inches) under the soil. Tamp the soil down to eliminate air pockets, and add 10 to 12.5 cm (4 to 5 inches) of water.

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