The Q&A Archives: Tiny Irises

Question: I recently returned to an old farmstead, where in 1955 my mother planted irises, she brought from her mothers bed in Nebraska, they were beautiful, I don't know the type but they were quite tall, and deep purple. Like I said last fall I went back,after 10 years and they were still there, but very,very tiny bulbs, I dug them and brought them to my yard, and they are coming up this spring, but is there something I should be doing so they will regain their size and vigor, or is it to late? For sentimental reasons, I'd Love to have them prosper. I should add that sadly they have had absolutly no attention in the last 10 years.

Answer: It sounds like these iris are real survivors, so with a little care they should come back stronger than ever. You should be able to help them regain their beauty as the rhizomes regain their size within a year or two. Iris do best in a rich soil that is well drained, in a full sun location, and need to be kept weeded for best results. They also benefit from being separated every three to five years to avoid overcrowding, so moving them to freshly prepared soil was the best thing you could have done. Keep an eye out for any signs of borer or rotting so you can control them in the off chance that they might occur, and avoid mulching over the rhizomes. Apart from that, stand back and enjoy!

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