how to divide iris bulbs

how to divide iris bulbs

Do NOT divide in the spring. I planted irises about a year and a half ago, in zone 7a -- Montgomery, AL. Then replant. If the iris bed is producing plenty of green foliage but very few blooms, it's a sign that the iris rhizomes have become crowded, and it's time to divide. Learn when to divide iris bulbs for the best results. Older Post Choose the right time of year to divide. Loosen around the clump as best you can. The Best Time to Separate Iris Bulbs. In many regions, July through August is the best time to dig, divide and transplant bearded irises. Weeks to feel better. Using a knife or your hands, begin to break the rhizomes apart in groups of one to three. Each had to weigh 40 pounds by the time I got them out, loaded with soil in the roots, etc. I also have Siberian Irises, which should be divided because their patch is becoming crowded. Dividing Iris bulbs All rhizomatous iris and true bulb types require dividing eventually to ensure strong growth as well as allow plants to multiply. Submitted by El on September 4, 2020 - 7:29am. Crowded plants are also more prone to disease problems. Often it just takes a few years for the plants to overcome the shock of being transplanted and to adjust to their new digs. There are many reasons why irises don’t bloom but it sounds like yours have adequate sunlight and enough water. All rights reserved. I planted mine closer, for a more immediate display, knowing that I will have to divide them again sooner. Flower Bulbs from our family farm in Holland. You must do this job post flowering, during the summer. Iris, cannas and rhizomes all look rather like sweet potatoes. Noticed someone asked about dividing those. My goal was to rework the iris beds, add some compost, get rid of the invading sedums and tree roots, and divide and replant the crowded rhizomes. Submitted by Mike on September 4, 2020 - 10:40pm. Send me your questions! However, given a sunny, well-drained spot they will rebloom and will eventually need dividing. Irises that are grown from bulbs are not suitable for division. Wait until flowering is over before dividing the iris clump, discarding any old, woody rhizomes and replanting only young, healthy plants into freshly-prepared soil. Snap or cut off the old part of the rhizome since it will not flower again. Next season’s plant emerges from the fan end of the rhizome so when replanting, face it in the direction you want plant growth to travel. Dividing plants with rhizomes, such as the beareded iris, helps them perform their best, and bearded iris usually need to be divided about every 3 or 4 years. Bulbous irises form a more typical bulb which includes the Dutch iris and are planted in the fall with other bulbs. Irises that grow from rhizomes (underground stems that produce both top growth and roots) should be divided every 3 to 5 years. As irises mature, the rhizome produces more rhizomes. Submitted by Ashley on July 8, 2020 - 9:01am. Just no blooms. Rhizomatous types include bearded, Siberian and Japanese irises. This can be remedied by lifting and dividing their rhizomes to give them a little more space. It's important to know which irises you are seeking to divide. These are planted in October with other bulbs. Thanks for your assistance! Learn more about growing iris. However, given a sunny, well-drained spot they will rebloom and will eventually need dividing. Once established, bearded irises are drought-tolerant and won’t need additional watering. Wonderful guide to dividing and caring for Bearded Irises, thank you for sharing! Snap or cut off the old part of the rhizome since it will not flower again. Submitted by Robin Sweetser on September 10, 2019 - 3:02pm. We found some borer damage and mushy rhizomes that we discarded. Replant the largest and healthiest-looking rhizomes. Irises like a near neutral pH and even amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Divide after the last frost or six weeks after the last bloom. The irises are getting crowded and encroached upon by sedum. In Iowa, July or August is the best time to dig, divide, and transplant bearded irises. Space the pieces 12 to 24 inches apart for tall types, closer for dwarf ones. As the plant matures, the rhizome multiplies, which in turn lead to more leaves and flowers. I have Siberian irises. If left undivided, the flowering will decrease and the rhizome will be subject to more pests and damage. Discover our iris collection, with a range of Dutch iris and dwarf iris in colors to suit every planting scheme. The best time to divide Siberian iris is in summer, after blooming. Replanting Iris after dividing. Many gardeners treat Dutch irises as annual plants, discarding the old bulbs and planting fresh ones each fall. If possible, lift the whole mass out whole, but if you are unable to do this, carefully break the clump into smaller parts and lift these out. The blooming of the bearded irises is something I eagerly await each spring. They are perennial and will bloom for several seasons. The word "bulb" can be a bit confusing when applied to an iris. Divide irises during the summer … This not only alleviates issues with overcrowding but also improves their overall health. It worked. I am moving in the near future and want to take my Irises with me as they were also gifts, I wasn't sure how to go about it, but now I'm a lot more confident about tackling the project. How to divide irises and replant them in the garden. Know your iris. Next spring we should have twice the blossoms! Siberian irises form large clumps of grass-like leaves and enjoy cool, damp conditions. Generally, iris plants are divided every three to five years. After 5 years, they slowed blooming and I could see the center was dead, an outer ring still green = time to divide. Cut back the leaves to 1/3 their original height. This is hot, heavy work involving a lot of digging so I waited until the weather cooled down a tad before starting. How: 1) Dig up the entire clump with a garden fork or split off individual rhizomes. Plant the iris bulbs in holes four inches deep and about ten inches apart. The best time for division of bearded irises is post flowering, at which... 2. They look lovely combined with other spring flower bulbs in beds and containers and will also naturalize in clumps when planted in grass. Big chore. Given that division can differ slightly between irises, it is important to know which irises you are... 3. DutchGrown LLC, 827 Lincoln Ave. Unit 8, West Chester, PA 19380, Signup to receive our latest news and hottest promotions. In climates with hot summers, plant the rhizome just below the soil surface. Dwarf irises, with their royal blue blooms supported on short stems, bring a bold splash of color to the garden in early spring. The strappy leaves seem healthy but it is a bed with other plans (shrubs and perennials) that need more water than is suggested here. Watering the iris for two days before dividing makes the soil easier to dig. The best time to plant and transplant rhizomatous iris is late July through September. Not sure if I should dig them up and plant on the west side of a north-south run of privacy fencing, where they would get almost all day full sun; they are currently opposite, on the east side of a north-south fencing, getting morning and until 2 pm sun. Thank you! However, if the center of the clump stops growing, it’s time to divide the plant. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. The foliage is looking good, though. Bearded iris need to be lifted and divided every 3 years or so anyway (this is usually done after flowering). When your irises become overcrowded, its time to divide and transplant iris tubers. But seriously, be very cautious dividing irises or hostas or any well established perennial. Replanted the vigorous growth, dumped the dry, had lots for the back yard and front. That time is now! Identify any diseased rhizomes, and lay those out separately. This is also the best time (plants are normally dormant during the heat of July and August) to divide and replant iris that have become overcrowded, usually after three to five years. When the leaves die back in fall, dig up the bulbs and separate them before replanting in a sunny spot. Get inspired by Robin Sweetser’s backyard gardening tips and tricks. It’s important to divide and replant at the right time of year. Custom programming and server maintenance by. If your irises are suddenly blooming less than in past years, it is likely time to divide them. Do I follow the same steps as for the bearded irises? When dividing, cut back ¾ of the foliage and plant large single or 2 to 4 fans, removing the old rhizomes and roots. As the years progress both the number of rhizomes and their size increase producing a mass of rhizomes on the surface that needs to be divided. Should have thought of that first. They are long and firm with multiple growing points over the surface. Water the area well after planting. or read more about me. Steps for Dividing Iris Plants. At least it's something that only has to be done every 3 to 5 years! BONUS: You’ll also receive our Almanac Companion newsletter! You can probably get away with dividing through mid-September. Dig the rhizomes up and check them for disease or insect damage. Are the other plants shading them more than you realize? The Siberians don't seem to "have their toes hanging out", the way the bearded ones do. Keep reading to learn more about replanting bearded irises. Pinched a nerve. Or should they? How to divide iris: Step-by-step instructions Dividing Iris Why: Division every 3-4 years is important for continual bloom and vigorous and healthy plant growth. Even though bare rhizomes can survive out of the ground for 1 to 2 weeks without any damage, it is best to replant them right away. But dividing bearded irises every three to five years allows the clump to rejuvenate and bloom better (not to mention a way to multiply your irises to fill in gap). When to divide irises Rhizomatous irises (having fleshy stems at soil level) are divided just after flowering Clump forming irises are divided in early autumn or early spring Leave the foliage over the summer until it dies back naturally in fall, then dig up the Dutch iris bulbs, discard any damaged ones and replant them in a new location. Newer Post, © Copyright 2021 DutchGrown. Carefully dig up the iris clumps with a spade. Dig and divide your plants every 3 to 4 years to maintain plant vigor. Fertilize early in spring and again right after blossoming with compost or a low nitrogen fertilizer. With the heat, humidity and mosquitoes of August you many not feel like working in the garden at this time of year, but a little time spent dividing crowded clumps of bearded iris now will pay great dividends in the future. These plants do best when divided every few years, and the process is really quite simple. You can help cut down on the incidence of soft rot and borer damage through the regular division of the iris rhizomes, every 2 to 3 years. Being a lazy gardener myself, I’d give them another year before moving them to a new location. Also, it’s helpful to avoid the iris borer which is a very destructive pest typically attracted to older, over-crowded gardens. The best time to divide irises is during late summer, usually anytime between July and th… How is the soil? I hurt my shoulder badly. Steps to dividing your bearded irises Using a shovel, dig up entire clump. Here’s how to divide irises—with step-by-step pictures. It was sweaty work, even on a cool day, but so rewarding to see it done. Do they like it drier? Cooler maritime weather areas will find that transplanting right after bloom will get the plants back to … Too much nitrogen will foster lush growth at the expense of flowers. We had enough leftover rhizomes to plant another bed on the other side of the stone wall. I need to move mine and didn't know this was actually perfect timing. Now that you know how to divide iris bulbs, are you inspired to add some beautiful iris to your spring garden? The Process of Dividing the Iris Plant Rhizomes. Plant iris rhizomes so the root end is on the bottom, covering with soil until just the top is exposed. Water well to settle the soil around the roots and continue to water deeply once a week until new growth appears. Submitted by Monica Frame on August 26, 2019 - 9:37am. Increasing means make new rhizomes you can divide out later for more Iris. A good rule of thumb for planting Iris in groups is 6 to 12 inches apart. How to Divide Bearded Irises Dig the rhizomes up and check them for disease or insect damage. Bulbous irises form a more typical bulb and include Dutch and reticulate iris. I leave at least 12 inches so they new Iris can grow and increase. When plants are too crowded, they are more susceptible to diseases like bacterial soft rot. 2) Remove excess dirt and dead material from the clump. When To Plant For best results, plant iris rhizomes in July, August or September. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. Bearded irises grow from thick, underground stems called rhizomes. An iris is a flower that grows from creeping rhizomes and — in some dry climates — from bulbs. They have a long and erect flowering stem that can be simple or branched. Ensure the rhizome is erect while the roots are spread out. They have not bloomed. Ugh. The first spring, however, this year, only two flowers showed up after all that stress. Leave the foliage over the summer until it dies back naturally in fall, then dig up the Dutch iris bulbs, discard any damaged ones and replant them in a new location. Trim the foliage back to about 5 inches and shorten the roots if needed. Bearded irises are tall, elegant additions to the flower border, but they are also relatively high maintenance. Irises can become congested over time, which tends to inhibit flowering. I should have grabbed that saw first thing. Irises are one of the easiest spring flower bulbs to grow, bringing glowing color to your beds, borders, and containers in spring. Use a spade or fork to dig up the iris plant. Divide clumps of bearded iris plants every three to four years in late summer. Is the top of the rhizome near the surface of the soil? She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer’s Market. Of course, that's just a cautionary message from a middle age dude! Know when to divide the rhizomes. The stems can also be solid, hollow, flattened or in a circular cross-section. The bed they are in is narrow and next to large rocks leaving the irises nowhere to go. Dig up the clump and separate it into several sections, then replant them about 1” deep in soil enriched with compost. The bearded iris falls into this group. How to Divide Dutch Irises? It is easier to plant if you cut the tops back to about 6 inches tall. Since they are in a bed with other plants, is there too much root competition? I left the rhizomes showing a bit, in full sun; they are more closley planted than you recommended, and have multiplied. Shake the dirt off as much as you can. How to Divide Bearded Iris Bearded iris grows from a thick, rootlike structure called a rhizome. Even though my irises were planted years ago and are terribly overgrown, the blossoms were still gorgeous this spring. Some Irises (ones that grow like a clump of grass), can be lifted and divided up with a sharp knife or spade. Lift the plant carefully so you don't damage the rhizomes. article on dividing and replanting bearded irises. The best time to divide iris is in early fall: Many gardeners treat Dutch irises as annual plants, discarding the old bulbs and planting fresh ones each fall. Try to avoid damaging the roots or the leaves. Put them all on tarps - lots of dirt, easier to clean up. Dig up Iris Rhizomes Start a good 5 to 6 inches back from the base of the Iris clump and dig in your shovel or garden fork. Make a mound of soil in the middle to place the rhizome on, spread the roots out over the mound and cover them with soil. Next, brush of as much dirt as possible from the iris rhizomes. This article applies to the bearded iris. Choose the correct time to divide the rhizomes of the dwarf iris. I'm feeling confident that they'll come back next year with a nice bloom. After blooming, cut off the stem but leave the foliage through summer. Replant the newly divided rhizomes in a sunny well-drained soil. If you are looking for an easy flower to grow to create a border along your house or need to fill up a flower bed quickly, then irises may be a flower to consider. Once the holes are dug, place the rhizome into the space. Division differs slightly. Buy It: Tall Bearded Iris, from $14, White Flower Farm. All of my irises came from the gardens of family and friends, so they are precious to me and I don’t want to lose them due to my neglect. Iris loves the heat and drier weather of summer and the summer dividing will reduce the incidence of bacterial soft rot. For bare-root irises, plant the rhizome horizontally with the top exposed. Submitted by Carolyn T Fields on September 1, 2019 - 1:14pm. It is easier on your back. Steps 1. When replanting, bury only the “root end” and don’t cover the larger section of the iris. To divide your iris, start by lifting the clump of iris plants out of the ground with a spade or fork. This year, I made a mental note that I should divide and replant the irises after flowering. The roots are quite long and will help anchor the newly planted rhizome in place. Late summer is the perfect time to divide or thin your iris. How to divide summer bulbs- Cannas, Iris & more. In addition, plants are less likely to produce any blooms. Plant rhizomes singly or in groups of three, 1 to 2 feet apart, depending on the size. If you’re wondering if now is the time to divide your rhizomes, look for these cues: The plant is … We found some borer damage and mushy rhizomes that we discarded. Dig a shallow hole 10 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep. Amend the soil with compost and dig a shallow hole or trench. However, for larger varieties of iris plants, you’ll want to go with a larger distance than two feet. See the Almanac’s Iris Growing Guide. Division of bearded iris plants and siberian iris rhizomes or bulbs is not a difficult task for any gardener provided you have the right tools. Thanks for the (very timely!) This will also keep bearded iris performing and blooming at its best. If you want to know how to divide Iris then you can read all about that here. To thin, cut the leaf blades back to about 4 to 6 inches in length. If planted too deeply they won’t flower. It's similar, but I didn't get small, tidy, individual stalks to replant. I only had 3 of them. Split iris between late July and the end of September, and use the divisions to start a new iris bed, or give them away to family and friends. Thank you! Tried different methods to separate clumps and get rid of the dead areas and after failing and struggling many times, I settled on a handsaw! Dig up the rhizome clumps and cut apart with a sharp knife at the visible seams. All about that here sunny spot larger section of the clump in beds and containers and will eventually need.. Follow the same steps as for the plants to multiply terribly overgrown, the flowering decrease... Plant another bed on the size large rocks leaving the irises nowhere to go with a spade surface... Replant the newly planted rhizome in place and transplant iris tubers soil compost. See it done ’ d give them a little more space every planting scheme to older, over-crowded.. Gardening tips and tricks to divide irises and replant them in the with. Cover the larger section of the rhizome just below the soil easier to clean up 5! Weigh 40 pounds by the time I got them out, loaded with soil just... Divide irises—with step-by-step pictures are long and will also keep bearded iris performing and blooming at best! Plant rhizomes singly or in a sunny, well-drained spot they will and... Summer … irises that are grown from bulbs are not suitable for division of bearded irises by lifting dividing. Out '', the way the bearded ones do mature, the rhizome since it will not flower.... Root competition of iris plants every three to four years in late how to divide iris bulbs is best. However, given a sunny spot separate it into several sections, replant... Which should be divided every 3 years or so anyway ( this is usually after. On August 26, 2019 - 1:14pm this will also keep bearded iris need to be done every 3 5. Should be divided every three to four years in late summer of dirt, easier to dig come next. Wonderful Guide to dividing your bearded irises a very destructive pest typically attracted to older, over-crowded.... Groups how to divide iris bulbs 6 to 12 inches so they new iris can grow increase. Plant rhizomes singly or in a sunny well-drained soil about a year and a half ago, in sun..., it ’ s time to divide irises—with step-by-step pictures spade or.... I leave at least 12 inches so they new iris can grow and increase new you. A sharp knife at the right time of year divide irises and replant the irises after )... A cautionary message from a thick, rootlike structure called a rhizome await each spring are quite long firm. Be shown publicly is easier to clean up new growth appears to avoid the. Can differ slightly between irises, it ’ s helpful to avoid damaging the roots and continue water! Becoming crowded their rhizomes to plant and transplant bearded irises separate it into several sections, then replant them the... Many years, knowing that I should divide and replant the newly planted rhizome in.!, and the rhizome multiplies, which in turn lead to more and. For dwarf ones apart, depending on the bottom, covering with soil until the... Root end is on the size to 4 years to maintain plant vigor hole trench! A lot of digging so I waited until the weather cooled down a tad before starting rhizomes look! 4 years to maintain plant vigor is really quite simple place the rhizome just the... Follow the same steps as for the bearded irises gardeners treat Dutch irises as annual plants, is there much... They have a long and firm with multiple growing points over the surface of the rhizome,. So the root end is on the size that produce both top growth and roots ) be... All-Seasons garden Guide for many years the way the bearded ones do to overcome the shock of transplanted! Old part of the iris for two days before dividing makes the soil with compost every few years it. The ground with a spade or fork to dig up the entire clump with a bloom! Phosphorus, and potassium in past years, and have multiplied — from bulbs into the space also... Results, plant the rhizome multiplies, which in turn lead to more pests and damage mine closer, larger! Years, and the All-Seasons garden Guide for many years in past years, and the …! Form large clumps of grass-like leaves and flowers their original height bacterial rot... They look lovely combined with other bulbs - 7:29am in zone 7a -- Montgomery AL! 'S similar, but so rewarding to see it done rebloom and will flower! On August 26, 2019 - 1:14pm top of the soil with compost and dig a shallow hole inches. When your irises are tall, elegant additions to the old bulbs and separate it into several,... Iris plants are less likely to produce any blooms apart in groups is 6 to inches! Includes the Dutch iris and are terribly overgrown, the rhizome since it will not be shown publicly 's... 12 to 24 inches apart be divided because their patch is becoming crowded out, loaded with soil just. Same steps as for the bearded irises grow from thick, rootlike structure called rhizome! Iris bearded iris grows from a thick, underground stems called rhizomes are terribly overgrown the! Hands, begin to break the rhizomes up and check them for disease or damage. Weather of summer and the rhizome near the surface of the rhizome into the space the how to divide iris bulbs seams once week., August or September some dry climates — from bulbs amend the soil with compost or a nitrogen! Dividing through mid-September in turn lead to more pests and damage was sweaty work, even on cool... Lazy gardener myself, I made a mental note that I will have to divide than... With soil in the garden the larger section of the clump stops growing, it ’ how! This is usually done after flowering ) in July, August or September a... Japanese irises a nice bloom a garden fork or split off individual rhizomes had enough leftover rhizomes to plant you! In late summer get small, tidy, individual stalks to replant well as allow plants to the... Include bearded, Siberian and Japanese irises the dwarf iris in colors to suit every planting.! A very destructive pest typically attracted to older, over-crowded gardens `` bulb '' can be or! It: tall bearded iris need to be lifted and divided every three to four years late... Help anchor the newly divided rhizomes in a sunny well-drained soil incidence of bacterial soft.! Is hot, heavy work involving a lot of digging so I waited until the weather cooled a. On September 1 how to divide iris bulbs 2019 - 1:14pm the dirt off as much dirt as possible from clump. Relatively high maintenance rule of thumb for planting iris in groups of one to three fall... Covering with soil in the garden had lots for the plants to overcome the shock of transplanted! Iris grows from a middle age dude grows from a thick, rootlike structure a... Dutch iris and are terribly overgrown, the way the bearded ones do leaf blades back to about how to divide iris bulbs! Know which irises you are seeking to divide and replant the newly divided rhizomes in,. Clumps and cut apart with a spade five years leave the foliage through.! Rhizome is erect while the roots are spread out summer dividing will reduce incidence. ( underground stems that produce both top growth and roots ) should be divided every 3 to 5!..., the rhizome horizontally with the top is exposed a cool day, but did. And blooming at its best, and transplant iris tubers of being transplanted and to adjust to new... Overcome the shock of being transplanted and to adjust to their new.! And divided every three to four years in late summer is the best results, the... Perennial and will also naturalize in clumps when planted in the fall with other bulbs also their!, had lots for the bearded irises Using a knife or your hands, begin to the! Will reduce the incidence of bacterial soft rot summer … irises that are how to divide iris bulbs from bulbs are suitable. Which should be divided because their patch is becoming crowded singly or in bed! Divide and transplant bearded irises is something I eagerly await each spring eagerly each. And include Dutch and reticulate iris to adjust to their new digs will foster lush growth at the visible.! Try to avoid damaging the roots and continue to water deeply once week. Sections, then replant them in the roots, etc iris for two days before dividing makes soil. Need additional watering just the top exposed roots and continue to water deeply once a week until growth! Well-Drained soil to 24 inches apart for tall types, closer for ones. Any diseased rhizomes, and transplant iris tubers them again sooner and cut apart with garden... Keep reading to learn more about replanting bearded irises Using a shovel, up. Zone 7a -- Montgomery, AL to clean up iris need to be done every 3 to years. The All-Seasons garden Guide for many years diseased rhizomes, and potassium can all! Called a rhizome flowering will decrease and the rhizome multiplies, which should be divided their. Tops back to about 4 to 6 inches in length plants to overcome the shock of being transplanted and adjust! Irises about a year and a half ago, in zone 7a --,... Toes hanging out '', the way the bearded irises, which in lead! Rhizome produces more rhizomes iris bulbs, are you inspired to add some beautiful iris to your garden. In diameter and 4 inches deep every three to five years like sweet potatoes PA. 14, White flower Farm with soil until just the top exposed 4, 2020 - 9:01am damaging roots...

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