irises - Knowledgebase Question

Kennesaw, Ge
Avatar for greenekj
Question by greenekj
May 26, 2010
After my irises bloomed, they pushed out a green pod of some sort. Have I missed the opportunity to cut them back and divide them or should I keep my eyes open for some sort of alien life form?

Answer from NGA
May 26, 2010
I love your sense of humor! What you've found are not alien life forms but seed pods. We usually recommend that the spent flowers be snapped off the irises as soon as the petals begin to fade. This serves two purposes - it makes room for a second and sometimes third flower to form on the stalk and it also keeps seed pods from forming. The seed pods are normal and natural but they tend to sap the plant's energy which could better serve the plant by helping it to grow larger roots and bigger leaves, which will result in larger flowers the following year. You have not missed the opportunity to dig and divide your irises. Start by cutting the flowering stem down to below the foliage level. You can then trim the fans down by two thirds to make the plants easier to handle. Use a garden fork to dig under the rhizomes, which should be just a few inches below the soil surface. I think you'll find the rhizomes to be elongated and some may even have two or more fans of leaves attached. You can separate these fans and replant them. Plant just beneath the soil surface and water them in well after transplanting. Enjoy your irises.

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