Peony Seedling

I noticed a seedling peony in the lawn, close to a rockii tree peony I planted many years ago. It has a single baby leaf right now, but is clearly a peony.

Any advice on digging it out of the lawn and transplanting?


dig up as much around it so you don’t touch the root. or just wait until it is dormant and there is some more to the plant.

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I would be super careful digging it up dormant unless there is a substantial root crown. I would only transplant it now if you are very confident you can get the whole root system undamaged.

I’d wait for the seedling to grow a full year, then transplant it. Or it is just too weak…

If you can take a spade or shovel and get a good sized chunk of wet soil (so it doesn’t crumble away from the roots when trying to move the baby)…should be simple enough to move dirt and plant and not disturb it in the least. If you have a good place for it…that’s the other question. Potting in a 2 or 3 gallon pot and growing it in a shady spot for the summer is what I would do.


I had a peony root business for years, and those tiny seedlings are fragile. The competition from the grass can be a problem as the summer goes along. Moving peonies when dormant in the fall is best but you might not have that option, so IMO the advice from BlueBerry and Dudeness is the best. The little seedling will need care after you pot it up, but in a pot you can at least control some of the moisture or other issues that may come along.


I found a bunch on my neighbor yard when was cleaning her flower bed, I just took them out of the mulch where they were growing and put in the pots. They look happy, it is few days already. Interesting, this is the first time I ever see peony seedling. They say the first year when they germinate they never get out of the ground and just on second year they come up
Last spring for us was extremely wet, probably this is why they were able to germinate.

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Peonies. as a rule, do not come true from seed, you can get all sorts of beautiful flowers from one peony seed head. From Krinkled White I got a double light pink, a single deep pink, and a single pink/white.


Yes, I know that, this is why I took three seedlings :smiley:. I probably could take 33, but I have no place to put them all :grinning:



Yeah, leaving it where it is and moving in the fall is not an option. It’s in the middle of the lawn, and I don’t think being mown and walked on will be better for it than being transplanted. And if I didn’t mow, it would be shorter than the established grass around it, and I expect it would lose the competition.

Even “don’t disturb the soil near the root” is problematic, as that soil is chock-a-block full of grass roots. It’s literally poking up in the middle of healthy established grass. I’ll try to do some soil-surgery and cut away the turf, and slide out the root from the side, with as much wet soil sticking to it as possible. Shade, huh.


How big a clump of dirt would you recommend digging, before removing the grass from it?

Dig carefully, the root may go down a long way and you can cut off the leaf stem before you reach the tiny tuber. I would remove the grass with my hands pulling up the grass roots. Once you get it out of the ground you can probably stick it into a bucket of water and gently wash off all the dirt and grass roots. Grass roots grow right thru the peony roots and can be a bugger to remove once the root is large and they are entwined within, this is what makes some grasses a particularly tiresome weed in a peony field. Once you have it clean you can pot it up to care for it better and then plant it in the fall when it goes dormant. If you plant it now you will have to make sure it does not get too dry or too wet. Peonies put out the best roots in cool weather, that is why most peony growers only sell roots in the fall.


Is it realistic to cut the grass level with the soil, and smother it with plastic, cardboard, or carpet? Would Grass B Gone kill the peony? It is not supposed to kill broadleaf plants.

I think it would be better to dig 6 inches too deep than 1/4 inch too shallow.

No. Partly, I don’t know if I could do that. But partly, while I think it’s fun to have a seedling peony from the bush, it’s not close to worth it to me to kill off that patch of lawn and mow around it all summer just to modestly improve the odds that it will survive.

This weekend I’ll dig it up, gently remove the grass as per northof53’s advice, and put it in one of my irrigated pots. I may rig some shade for it. Whenever the leaf dies down (hopefully due to seasonal dormancy) I’ll transplant it someplace where it can try to establish itself. And either it will make it or it won’t.

I have no idea if grass B gone is fine for peonies, it very well could be but I don’t believe we can buy it in Canada, at least I have never been able to find it, so I have never used it.

I meant after you remove it from the lawn, not smother the grass in place.

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Ah, i misunderstood.

I’m a little worried about digging it out, but not really about removing the grass. I’m fairly good at disentangling roots. It helps if the soil is wet.

Also, I don’t really enjoy playing with toxic chemicals. My yard is mostly organic, and mostly non-toxic.

Sadly, it had sprouted right next to a sharp rock, and when I leveraged the chunk of soil up with the spade, the rock cut the stem from the root. I planted both pieces in a pot. I will be astonished if the stem survives, but the root might. The root was quite long, maybe 6" or more.

I had trouble finding the root, as there were a LOT of roots in that soil. But I found a straight, inflexible root that smelled slightly of peony. We’ll see, and oh well.


The stem would only survive if it has a piece of the tuber attached. The little tuber might live if it was large enough to make a secondary eye. Wait and see, peonies are extremely hardy. We revamped half of a small peony field one year, dug up all the peonies and tilled it all with a cultivator. I am now using it as a vegetable garden and I have peonies coming up all over the place like weeds.

I feel your pain, I have dug many, many little seedlings and it is amazing how easy it is to cut that stem off.

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The stem has a bit of tuber attached, but I think it’d far too small to root and survive. :frowning:

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