The Q&A Archives: Care of Irises

Question: When do you cut back Iris plants and when do they bloom?

Answer: Irises are early summer blooming plants. When the flowers fade you can cut the stalk down, but you'll want to leave the foliage alone to die down on its own. If the iris bed is overcrowded, you can wait until early September to dig and divide the plants. Here's how:

Carefully dig the rhizomes out, cut or break off the ends to replant, and discard the old centers. Cut the foliage and the roots back to about six inches. Then amend the bed with plenty of organic matter and place the tops of the rhizomes so they're just a the soil surface. Water them in well. To help keep weeds down, lay 3-4 inches of mulch over the top of the soil surface.

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