how to divide iris bulbs

Rhizomatous types include bearded, Siberian and Japanese irises. Bearded irises grow from thick, underground stems called rhizomes. Dig and divide your plants every 3 to 4 years to maintain plant vigor. 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. In Iowa, July or August is the best time to dig, divide, and transplant bearded irises. It was sweaty work, even on a cool day, but so rewarding to see it done. Once the holes are dug, place the rhizome into the space. How to divide irises and replant them in the garden. Thank you! Late summer is the perfect time to divide or thin your iris. Space the pieces 12 to 24 inches apart for tall types, closer for dwarf ones. Replanted the vigorous growth, dumped the dry, had lots for the back yard and front. Too much nitrogen will foster lush growth at the expense of flowers. The blooming of the bearded irises is something I eagerly await each spring. Know your iris. Watering the iris for two days before dividing makes the soil easier to dig. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. This can be remedied by lifting and dividing their rhizomes to give them a little more space. See the Almanac’s Iris Growing Guide. The best time to divide Siberian iris is in summer, after blooming. Do NOT divide in the 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. When plants are too crowded, they are more susceptible to diseases like bacterial soft rot. If planted too deeply they won’t flower. The irises are getting crowded and encroached upon by sedum. I planted mine closer, for a more immediate display, knowing that I will have to divide them again sooner. Of course, that's just a cautionary message from a middle age dude! Water well to settle the soil around the roots and continue to water deeply once a week until new growth appears. Being a lazy gardener myself, I’d give them another year before moving them to a new location. These are planted in October with other bulbs. Big chore. Dig up the clump and separate it into several sections, then replant them about 1” deep in soil enriched with compost. 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 Plant iris rhizomes so the root end is on the bottom, covering with soil until just the top is exposed. Carefully dig up the iris clumps with a spade. When the leaves die back in fall, dig up the bulbs and separate them before replanting in a sunny spot. Ugh. This is hot, heavy work involving a lot of digging so I waited until the weather cooled down a tad before starting. 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. Thanks for the (very timely!) All rights reserved. Are the other plants shading them more than you realize? We found some borer damage and mushy rhizomes that we discarded. Iris loves the heat and drier weather of summer and the summer dividing will reduce the incidence of bacterial soft rot. Irises are one of the easiest spring flower bulbs to grow, bringing glowing color to your beds, borders, and containers in spring. A good rule of thumb for planting Iris in groups is 6 to 12 inches apart. 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. It’s important to divide and replant at the right time of year. Steps for Dividing Iris Plants. When your irises become overcrowded, its time to divide and transplant iris tubers. Fertilize early in spring and again right after blossoming with compost or a low nitrogen fertilizer. Submitted by El on September 4, 2020 - 7:29am. Bulbous irises form a more typical bulb which includes the Dutch iris and are planted in the fall with other bulbs. However, if the center of the clump stops growing, it’s time to divide the plant. The best time for division of bearded irises is post flowering, at which... 2. Here’s how to divide irises—with step-by-step pictures. Know when to divide the rhizomes. Dig a shallow hole 10 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer’s Market. Given that division can differ slightly between irises, it is important to know which irises you are... 3. Older Post Identify any diseased rhizomes, and lay those out separately. Choose the right time of year to divide. Replant the largest and healthiest-looking rhizomes. Bulbous irises form a more typical bulb and include Dutch and reticulate iris. In climates with hot summers, plant the rhizome just below the soil surface. Just no blooms. How to Divide Dutch Irises? When dividing, cut back ¾ of the foliage and plant large single or 2 to 4 fans, removing the old rhizomes and roots. Cooler maritime weather areas will find that transplanting right after bloom will get the plants back to … It's similar, but I didn't get small, tidy, individual stalks to replant. Irises that are grown from bulbs are not suitable for division. 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. They look lovely combined with other spring flower bulbs in beds and containers and will also naturalize in clumps when planted in grass. Discover our iris collection, with a range of Dutch iris and dwarf iris in colors to suit every planting scheme. 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. Steps 1. They are long and firm with multiple growing points over the surface. Divide irises during the summer … We had enough leftover rhizomes to plant another bed on the other side of the stone wall. They have a long and erect flowering stem that can be simple or branched. Pinched a nerve. article on dividing and replanting bearded irises. Learn more about growing iris. Submitted by Mike on September 4, 2020 - 10:40pm. 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! Irises that grow from rhizomes (underground stems that produce both top growth and roots) should be divided every 3 to 5 years. Iris, cannas and rhizomes all look rather like sweet potatoes. The word "bulb" can be a bit confusing when applied to an iris. Also, it’s helpful to avoid the iris borer which is a very destructive pest typically attracted to older, over-crowded gardens. Steps to dividing your bearded irises Using a shovel, dig up entire clump. Each had to weigh 40 pounds by the time I got them out, loaded with soil in the roots, etc. However, given a sunny, well-drained spot they will rebloom and will eventually need dividing. Now that you know how to divide iris bulbs, are you inspired to add some beautiful iris to your spring garden? Keep reading to learn more about replanting bearded irises. Weeks to feel better. To divide your iris, start by lifting the clump of iris plants out of the ground with a spade or fork. Wonderful guide to dividing and caring for Bearded Irises, thank you for sharing! Buy It: Tall Bearded Iris, from $14, White Flower Farm. Try to avoid damaging the roots or the leaves. Then replant. Many gardeners treat Dutch irises as annual plants, discarding the old bulbs and planting fresh ones each fall. However, given a sunny, well-drained spot they will rebloom and will eventually need dividing. Divide clumps of bearded iris plants every three to four years in late summer. To thin, cut the leaf blades back to about 4 to 6 inches in length. It is easier to plant if you cut the tops back to about 6 inches tall. 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. We found some borer damage and mushy rhizomes that we discarded. Replanting Iris after dividing. For bare-root irises, plant the rhizome horizontally with the top exposed. 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. Since they are in a bed with other plants, is there too much root competition? Choose the correct time to divide the rhizomes of the dwarf iris. Snap or cut off the old part of the rhizome since it will not flower again. Replant the newly divided rhizomes in a sunny well-drained soil. Dig the rhizomes up and check them for disease or insect damage. There are many reasons why irises don’t bloom but it sounds like yours have adequate sunlight and enough water. You must do this job post flowering, during the summer. 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. Generally, iris plants are divided every three to five years. 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). After blooming, cut off the stem but leave the foliage through summer. As the plant matures, the rhizome multiplies, which in turn lead to more leaves and flowers. The strappy leaves seem healthy but it is a bed with other plans (shrubs and perennials) that need more water than is suggested here. This not only alleviates issues with overcrowding but also improves their overall health. Put them all on tarps - lots of dirt, easier to clean up. I hurt my shoulder badly. or read more about me. Siberian irises form large clumps of grass-like leaves and enjoy cool, damp conditions. 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. Division differs slightly. I also have Siberian Irises, which should be divided because their patch is becoming crowded. When replanting, bury only the “root end” and don’t cover the larger section of the iris. As irises mature, the rhizome produces more rhizomes. Is the top of the rhizome near the surface of the soil? 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. Send me your questions! Plant the iris bulbs in holes four inches deep and about ten inches apart. Flower Bulbs from our family farm in Holland. 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. Even though my irises were planted years ago and are terribly overgrown, the blossoms were still gorgeous this spring. Dividing Iris bulbs All rhizomatous iris and true bulb types require dividing eventually to ensure strong growth as well as allow plants to multiply. 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. Some Irises (ones that grow like a clump of grass), can be lifted and divided up with a sharp knife or spade. 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. 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. Submitted by Ashley on July 8, 2020 - 9:01am. You can probably get away with dividing through mid-September. They have not bloomed. If left undivided, the flowering will decrease and the rhizome will be subject to more pests and damage. Irises can become congested over time, which tends to inhibit flowering. The best time to divide irises is during late summer, usually anytime between July and th… When To Plant For best results, plant iris rhizomes in July, August or September. Shake the dirt off as much as you can. BONUS: You’ll also receive our Almanac Companion newsletter! 2) Remove excess dirt and dead material from the clump. Custom programming and server maintenance by. These plants do best when divided every few years, and the process is really quite simple. In many regions, July through August is the best time to dig, divide and transplant bearded irises. Get inspired by Robin Sweetser’s backyard gardening tips and tricks. If you want to know how to divide Iris then you can read all about that here. Irises like a near neutral pH and even amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They are perennial and will bloom for several seasons. Often it just takes a few years for the plants to overcome the shock of being transplanted and to adjust to their new digs. This will also keep bearded iris performing and blooming at its best. Thank you! Plant rhizomes singly or in groups of three, 1 to 2 feet apart, depending on the size. After 5 years, they slowed blooming and I could see the center was dead, an outer ring still green = time to divide. But seriously, be very cautious dividing irises or hostas or any well established perennial. I'm feeling confident that they'll come back next year with a nice bloom.

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