The Q&A Archives: Will mowed irises bloom again?

Question: Two years ago, the boy who cuts my lawn accidentally mowed down my irises before they bloomed. They survived but didn't bloom that year or last year. What can I do to get them blooming again? Ruth Hren Sewickley, PA

Answer: Just be patient, they should bloom this year, say Thurow Sanders, owner of Iris Acres, growers of more than 1,000 varieties of iris for 25 years in Winimac, IndianA. Once the leaves are cut, the iris will spend the next year or two building reserves in the rhizome before it starts blooming again, she explains. Even newly planted irises can take up to three years to bloom she adds. To encourage flowering, fertilize the plants in spring with a handful of a low nitrogen fertilizer such as well rottedcompost or 5 10 10. If they still don't bloom this year, they may be overcrowded. You'll need to separate them and replant them in a new bed, says Sanders. In July or August, dig the clumps, choose only healthy new offsets from the mother rhizome and plant them in a bed amended with composted manure. Plant the new rhizomes one inch deep, keeping their backs aboveground, recommends Sanders. It may take one to two years, but they will bloom again.

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