The Q&A Archives: Iris Falling Over

Question: Why is my iris falling over soon after it blooms?


There are a number of possibilities for leaning Irises. The plants tend to reach toward the sun, and the blooming stalks can get quite heavy in relation to the rest of the plant. If the rhizomes are just at the soil surface, and if the soil is moist, the plants might lean toward the sun. On the other hand, if the soil is heavy, making root penetration difficult, the plants might not be anchored as well as they could be. Another factor might be excess nitrogen which would promote fast but weak growth. You can solve the problem by cutting back the flower stalks when the blooms are spent, then digging and replanting your iris. Wait until late summer, dig the rhizomes, trim the roots and leaves to about 6" (for easier handling), then amend the bed with organic matter to loosen the soil and provide nutrients to the roots. Divide the rhizomes by breaking or cutting off the ends. Discard the old center portions and replant the ends, placing them just below the soil surface. Cover with soil, add some mulch, and water well. Next spring your iris should grow and bloom without toppling over.

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