Peonies not blooming should I dig up?


I transplanted peonies in the fall of 2018. They are growing but not blooming. I was not aware at the time that I needed to plant them so that the eyes are 1 1/2 inches under the soil. 2 of them are not in a very sunny spot. They are all definitely growing bigger. I’m wondering should I dig them up in the fall and replant them at the right depth? Is there a way for me to check if I planted them too deep before digging them up and replanting them more shallow. Thanks


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your question about peonies (Paeonia lactiflora).  Peonies make spectacular cut flowers!

As you mentioned, two critical requirements for successful blooming of peonies are the depth of the “eyes” and a sunny location.  The eyes are the pink or white buds (similar to the eyes on a potato) you’ll see at the top of the root. The eyes should be planted no more than 1-2 inches below the soil surface.  You may be able to carefully locate and measure the depth of the eyes by very gently moving or washing away the soil from the crown of the plant, keeping in mind that the eyes will be much smaller early in the growing season.   If the eyes are planted deeper than the recommended 2.5-5cm , raise (lift and replant) your plants in the fall when the plants are dormant (mid-September).

You mentioned two of your plants are in not in a very sunny location.  Paeonia lactiflora bloom best in 6 or more hours of full sun.  If your plants are not getting enough sun, you should transplant these two plants in the fall to a sunnier location.

Peonies resent being disturbed so choose your planting locations carefully.  Ensure you have enough room to accommodate years of growth – as some peonies can live over 50 years!    Also remember next spring that newly planted peonies rarely flower their first year as energy is focused on root development and foliage.  Don’t be discouraged as the blooms are worth the wait.

Here is some information about transplanting peonies that was answered previously, including some helpful links.  Transplanting Peonies

Garden Making Magazine also has a helpful article on How and when to plant peonies.

Good luck with your Paeonia lactiflora!