The Q&A Archives: Iris leaves die, plant never flowers

Question: In spring my iris plant sprouts and grows fine for a while, but then the leaves slowly die and the plant never flowers. What's the problem? Maynard Conse Taylorsville, NC

Answer: It's normal for iris foliage to die back as the plant goes into a midsummer dormancy, say North Carolina State University Extension agent Erv Evans in Raleigh. As for the lack of flowers, I'll bet you planted too deep, he explains. Iris rhizomes like to creep along the surface of the soil with their top side exposed. If you buried them like a daffodil bulb, they'll grow but won't flower. When you plant, lay the section of rhizome on the ground and cover it very lightly with soil, enough so a few rains will expose the top side, he explains. And make sure you pick a site in full sun. Iris won't flower in the shade.

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