The Q&A Archives: Iris flowers falling over

Question: When we bought out first home we planted iris bulbs that were given to me. They have pretty purple flowers 3-4 feet tall, but the stalks are all twisted and after blooming they fell over on the ground. What do I need to change to get my Iris to stand tall when blooming?

Answer: Some varieties of bearded iris simply have weaker stems than others and need to be staked. This can be especially true with some of the "show" varieties. Another possiblity is an excess of nitrogen has caused them to have floppy stems. They may be overcrowded if they have been in the ground for 3-4 years and are competing for moisture or nutrients, or they may have pushed themselves up too close to the surface. I would wait until August after they have finished blooming and dig and replant the rhizomes. Start by cutting the foliage down by about two thirds and then digging them out with a garden fork. Divide by breaking the rhizomes or cutting them into pieces, replanting the pieces with foliage attached and discarding the old, dead centers. Replant so the rhizomes are just barely below soil surface and then water them in well. They will re-establish their root systems over the fall months and be ready to grow and bloom next spring. Enjoy your garden!

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