The Q&A Archives: Care of Iris

Question: We have a lot of beautifu Iris. They need to be trimmed and re-planted.
When is best time to cut off old leaves, and when is best time to take the bulbs/tubers out of ground, and should they be re-planted right away, or stored for some time?
Do all same color plants need to be in same clump when re-planting?

Answer: When irises become overcrowded they won't bloom as well as they might if they have lots of elbow room. Mid-August is a great time to dig and divide your iris. Begin by cutting the foliage back by about two-thirds to make the plants easier to handle. Then dig the rhizomes out with a garden fork, prying them up so as not to cut into the rhizomes. Once out of the ground you will see that the plants grow by elongating the rhizomes at either end of the original rhizome. You'll likely find a dead center but healthy growth on either end. Just snap the rhizomes with you hands to remove the healthy ends to replant. Discard the dead center. You can plant in any arrangement that's pleasing to you. You don't need to separate them by color. Best wishes with your project!

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