Irises forum→When do you divide?

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Name: Teresa Felty Barrow
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
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bluegrassmom
May 12, 2019 2:22 PM CST
Hi, I was wondering about what everyone does to divide/share their iris.
I have seen people have them for sale in buckets in bloom! Is it best to wait a couple months after bloom season to divide?
Also, how many replant the bloom stalk rhizome ? Just curious. Thanks

Teresa in KY
Bee Kind, make the world a better place.
(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
May 12, 2019 3:22 PM CST
During the Summer months after bloom season is when the bearded iris go dormant. (Unless you're watering your rebloomers, then those will still be growing. If not, then they'll go dormant too.) During this dormant period is the best time to dig, divide and replenish/amend your iris beds.

I'm guessing you're referring to the Mother rhizome as the rhizome that bloomed. I either replant, share and toss away Mother (and all other) rhizomes.
[Last edited by UndertheSun - May 12, 2019 3:31 PM (+)]
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Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
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grannysgarden
May 12, 2019 3:25 PM CST
Agree with Rob. Depending on where you live may determine the summer months they will be dormant. Usually when the vendors in your area dig and ship is the best time.
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Name: Teresa Felty Barrow
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies Region: United States of America
Garden Photography Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Bulbs Irises Hummingbirder
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bluegrassmom
May 12, 2019 4:57 PM CST
Thanks, I was just wondering why some people sell them while blooming. Years ago I bought some from a local garden while in bloom. I have seen other sellers at a local flea market while they were in bloom.

Iris are tough, I guess they can do ok, just not the best time.
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Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
May 12, 2019 5:37 PM CST
I have divided and given to friends while in bloom, just so they could see what they were getting. They did fine, blooming for them the next year. I have read many different recommendations, from sources that should be reliable: 2 weeks after blooming, July, or September. It is just all over the place. I divided in November once, and some of them bloomed the next year. All survived. I usually wait til at least early June and divide before the real heat hits us, for my own personal comfort rather that the plants.
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
May 12, 2019 5:40 PM CST
I used to buy iris that were in bloom from a local lady. She advise me to cut the stalks off when I got home. I never did, and they survived and bloomed in later years. I did pot them up since it gets so hot here.
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Name: Teresa Felty Barrow
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies Region: United States of America
Garden Photography Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Bulbs Irises Hummingbirder
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bluegrassmom
May 12, 2019 7:46 PM CST
Thanks for the advice. I may give a few away that I have extras of. Then they can see what it looks like.
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Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
May 12, 2019 8:08 PM CST
here in New England we dig our plants in early July.
Name: Teresa Felty Barrow
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies Region: United States of America
Garden Photography Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Bulbs Irises Hummingbirder
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bluegrassmom
May 12, 2019 8:23 PM CST
Lucy, your July is not like in the South. Two of my daughters have lived in Mass. I love the Spring and Summer's there but could not handle all the Winter weather.
Bee Kind, make the world a better place.
Los Altos, CA (Zone 9b)
Irises
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AndreaD
May 13, 2019 12:29 PM CST
I dig and divide my iris in late July and early August, which is when the local iris societies have their rhizome sales. I start replanting in August, with the goal of getting everything in the ground by Labor Day. I see signs of growth by mid-October.
Somerset County, NJ (Zone 6b)
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Magiccraftcl
May 15, 2019 2:57 PM CST
UndertheSun said:During the Summer months after bloom season is when the bearded iris go dormant. (Unless you're watering your rebloomers, then those will still be growing. If not, then they'll go dormant too.) During this dormant period is the best time to dig, divide and replenish/amend your iris beds.

I'm guessing you're referring to the Mother rhizome as the rhizome that bloomed. I either replant, share and toss away Mother (and all other) rhizomes.


Do you always cut the leaves off? I'm in the middle of moving irises. No choice the ground sunk from changes in landscape. I will lose them if I don't. But debating whether or not to cut them down. I don't have to many blooms anyway. Thank You!
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
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tveguy3
May 16, 2019 2:54 AM CST
The only reason to cut them down might be to keep them from falling over after replanting them. If you move them with a clump of dirt attached, they might be fine, cutting isn't necessary.
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Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
May 16, 2019 3:21 AM CST
When dividing daylilies you usually cut the foliage back, but I think that is mostly a matter of getting it out of the way so you can see what you are doing (unless you are also doing some serious root pruning).

In preceding years I did my dividing the same time as Andrea (same area, same iris club), but this year I'm going to try to start early on some cultivars. Those will be ones that are seriously overcrowded in pots, or are in tree root infested ground; neither of those groups will be going to the club sale this year so I can get an early jump on those, maybe sometime in early June depending on health/family issues at that time. Irises for give-away (to the club sale or to others) will be later in the summer. Those get replanted when and as I am able to get the job done. (Generally when I am dividing, I want to get all the trimming/cleaning/dividing messy work done at once. Replanting comes later, after the giveaway.)
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
Somerset County, NJ (Zone 6b)
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Magiccraftcl
May 16, 2019 3:35 PM CST
I tip my hat to you. Thank You!

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