The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Irises

Question: I have a patch of irises that is getting too big for the area in which they are planted. When and how can I safely dig some of them up and transplant to another area?

Answer: The best time to transplant them is in mid to late summer after they bloom. (If you do it now they will not bloom this year.) At transplanting time, trim the foliage to about six inches, dig them up carefully to avoid bruising or scraping the rhizomes. If they are old, discard the oldest central rhisomes and replant only the plump young ones from the perimeter. Select a location in full sun and with good drainage. Rich soil is best. Allow space for three to five years of growth. Place rhizomes about ten inches apart or so, more for very large plants. Make a mound of soil in the center of each planting hole and drape the roots down along the sides of the mound. Plant so the rhizomes are a bit "high" as they will settle later. Water to settle any air pockets, then mulch around but not overtop of them. Enjoy your iris!

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