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how to divide iris bulbs
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how to divide iris bulbs

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

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