The Q&A Archives: Lifting And Storing Iris

Question: I have a bed of iris, which I believe were planted years ago by the prior owners. I am changing landscaping and wish to remove these and replant later, possibly at the end of the year or very early next year.

Can I get some advice about how to prepare for storage and to store? Should I wash off the dirt or leave it on, cut off the little rootlets or not (the bulbs are about 1" in diameter), store in air or covered with soil or what?

Thanks for the help as I have probably a 100 of these and would like to reuse them as I feel they are part of the property.

Answer: Iris have a normal cycle of rest during the winter and growth during the summer. If you keep the plants from growing, they won't manufacture and store energy in the roots and won't grow and bloom the following year. It would be best to dig and store them over the winter months rather than dig them now and try to hold them in suspended animation over the entire summer and the following winter. Try to replant in containers or in another garden bed during your renovation period. Otherwise, it's questionable whether or not they'd survive storage.

Good luck with your new landscaping project!

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