Can you take cuttings from peonies? Yes, as long as you follow this step-by-step guide

There are a few things you need to know before getting too scissor-happy

Deep pink-red peony flowers
(Image credit: Getty Images/Claire Plumridge)

You probably don’t need us to tell you that peonies are some of the most stunning flowers on the planet. And if you’re looking for a constant (and, most importantly, free) supply of peonies, you might be wondering whether you can take cuttings from peonies.

Perfect for any garden idea, peonies offer beauty, fragrance, and a wealth of possibilities. And while you’ll be happy to know that growing peonies is easy, there are a few negatives you need to consider. For starters, peonies take a few years to bloom - and when it finally happens, it’s over and done with in just 7-10 days.

With this in mind, you might want to add even more peonies to your garden to make the most of the peony’s short blooming period. And that’s where taking cuttings can help.

Can you take cuttings from peonies?

Like many other plants, it’s definitely possible to take cuttings from peonies. However, this isn’t something you can do on a whim. If you want to successfully take cuttings from peonies - no matter whether you want them for a beautiful floral display or for propagation purposes - there are some things you need to know.

How to take cuttings from peonies

What you'll need


Scissors next to plant and keys

(Image credit: Cultivar Greenhouse)

1. Choose the right time

When it comes to peonies, timing is everything. You need to know exactly when and how to plant peony bulbs and even when you should deadhead peonies. And if you stick to this timeline, you should be left with a happy and healthy peony plant that’s ready for cutting.

Because of this, it’s also important to choose the right time to take cuttings from peonies - and experts suggest adding this task to your list of jobs to do in the garden in August.

Tony Williams, Estates Manager at Mount Ephraim Gardens, explains, 'The optimal time to take peony cuttings is during late summer or early autumn.'

'At this time, the plants have completed their blooming cycle, and the stems are still vigorous enough to support new growth. This period allows the cuttings enough time to establish roots before the onset of winter, ensuring they are robust and ready to thrive in the spring.'

2. Clean your tools

If your plan is to grow your own endless supply of peonies, you need to set yourself up for success when taking cuttings from peonies. That’s why you should always clean your garden tools before getting too scissor-happy.

This will limit the spread of disease, and allow you to snip off a healthy cutting that will have the best chance of survival.

So, to ensure that your pruning shears or secateurs are as clean and sterile as possible, clean them with an alcohol solution - or something like this Agralan Citrox Ready To Use Natural Citrus Disinfectant Concentrate from Amazon.

Purple and white peony flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Inspect the plant

If you want to take peony cuttings, you should only take cuttings from a healthy plant. So, inspect the plant for any signs of damage or disease, and opt for plan B if it looks a little worse for wear.

Tony says, 'Selecting a vigorous and disease-free stem increases the chances of successful propagation.'

And if you can see that the plant is happy and healthy, you can then focus your attention on choosing the right stems.

John Clifford, gardening expert at Gardenstone, explains, ‘Choose a healthy stem which has several different sets of leaves and at least 2 or 3 nodes. Some recommend a half-ripe stem, but it can be hard to tell. As long as the stem looks healthy and has the right amount of leaves/nodes, and the plant is still actively growing, you should be fine.’

John Clifford
John Clifford

John Clifford is a director of Gardenstone, a leading garden landscaping retailer based in the UK. With over 30 years in the gardening industry and continual work alongside The National Trust, John has amassed an extensive range of gardening and planting knowledge. Alongside his younger son, John has built a strong reputation for Gardenstone as a trusted source for both high-quality garden products and expert gardening advice. 

4. Start cutting

When you’re happy with the health of your peony plant, you’re confident that you’ve chosen the right time, and your tools are as clean as they can be, you can then start cutting.

As already noted, make sure you’re cutting a half-ripe stem. Then, John advises, ‘Cut around 15cm of stem, just below a node. It's recommended to cut at a 45-degree angle.’

There's a good reason for this, too. 'This angle maximizes the surface area for root development and helps the cutting absorb nutrients and water more effectively,' adds Tony.

The Potting Bench in a greenhouse

(Image credit: Alamy)

5. Follow the propagation protocol

While you could take peony cuttings to fill up vases and add some natural beauty to your home decor, it’s fair to say that most people take peony cuttings to propagate them.

Thankfully, we’re not going to leave you in the dark when it comes to peony propagation. Check out our guide on how to propagate peonies from cuttings for all of the information you could possibly need.

Just remember to be patient when using this propagation method. John says, ‘When taking cuttings, you need to be aware that peonies can be slow to establish from cuttings and may take a few years to reach full maturity.’


Can you grow peonies from stem cuttings?

Yes! It’s definitely possible to grow peonies from stem cuttings, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. You need to make sure that you choose a happy and healthy stem and cut it at the right time and at the right point on the stem for this to be a viable option.

Because of this, many people choose to propagate peonies using the division method. John Clifford from Gardenstone says, ‘The most common propagating method for Peonies is division. Division should be done in autumn, while taking cuttings should be done while the plant is actively growing.’

Do peonies multiply?

Peonies will not multiply on their own, which means you either need to propagate or divide your peony plants to add more of them to your garden. The option you choose is completely down to you, but there’s no guarantee that propagated peony cuttings will take root.

With this in mind, many experts would suggest multiplying your peony plant by dividing it instead.

So, the answer is yes, you can take cuttings from peonies, and follow these steps for success in propagating.

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.