Is it legal to transplant peonies from Maryland to Maine?


Is it legal to transplant peonies from Maryland to property that I am purchasing in Maine?  I don’t want to leave behind my heirloom peonies, but I don’t want to cause environmental harm or break any laws.


Lynne M. Holland, Horticulture and Social Media Professional

First of all welcome to Maine!  I think you will find gardening Downeast a little different but not as much as you think.  In Maine, there are no laws limiting what you can bring into the state for your own yard.  All laws are based around quarantined plants are based on selling those plants.  That being said we truly do appreciate your consideration of the impact of bringing in plants from “away”.  There are a couple of issues that are hotbed problems as far as invasive plants and pests.  I will list them here with some resources:

Invasive Caterpillars-Gypsy MothBrowntail Moth, and Winter Moth.  Winter moth might actually be an issue with a transplanted plant so we suggest you bring in those plant plants bare root.  This extension article on transplanting peonies covers most of what needs to be done but the difference is about how much soil to bring with you.  Dig the peony when it is dormant and remove all of the soil so there is no chance of transporting any insect cocoons or other hitchhikers.  This bare root plant can then be wrapped in damp newspaper for up to a few days.  If it is going to be longer than a few days then plant it in a pot with a sterile medium (potting mix, grow mix, etc) and then plant in the ground as soon as possible.