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

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