The Q&A Archives: Iris

Question: When we bought our home several years ago and the irises that were planted in the yard bloomed well that first year. Since then, they have bloomed only sporadically although the greenery always comes up. I never cut off the greenery while it is green. Do they need to be divided?

Answer: It sounds as though your iris are overcrowded and need to be divided. Iris like full sunshine and well-draining soil. Wait until late summer to dig and divide the clumps, and amend the soil with organic matter before replanting them. When you dig the rhizomes, cut or break off the ends and discard the center. Plant so the roots are spread out and the rhizomes are just at, or below the soil surface. Rhizomes grow outward from the end with the leaves, so point that end in the direction you want the growth to take. Space the rhizomes 1' - 2' feet apart when replanting.

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