Irises forum→Can you give me tips for dividing?

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NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Butterflies
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ScarletTricycle
Jun 1, 2020 7:10 AM CST
Hello!

I am in need this summer to divide my bearded irises and I am hoping you can offer me some good tips on what I should do. Some of my questions:

I'm wondering if you clean the rhizomes before or after splitting? Do you use a mild bleach solution or straight water?

How long can the rhizomes be out of the ground safely?

How do you label them if you plan to share with others?

At what time of the summer is best to divide?

I haven't divided for some time and I need a refresher course to follow or your best of tips for a successful division. .

Appreciate your help, I tip my hat to you.
There are always flowers for those who want to see them. — Henri Matisse
South central PA (Zone 6a)
Irises Region: Pennsylvania
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DaveinPA
Jun 1, 2020 8:53 AM CST
I am about to do the same thing. Here are a few pointers to help answer at least some of the questions:

Labeling-yes, especially if passing them on, I use a permanent marker on an inside leaf near the rhizome as the outer ones will shrink up more. Near the rhizome because to ship in reasonable sized package the fans will be trimmed back to 4-6" for the TB's. If doing more than one clump/variety at a time you will need to mark your own so as to avoid mixing them up.

Out of ground-some can last a year, but viability drops with each month or so. Figure two weeks if not in sun drying out. It can take that long to dig, clean/wash, dry, package and then ship.

Cleaning-bleach is harsh on the rhizomes so I use plain water, hose down on driveway or lawn, let dry in sun or warm shade. A recipient can bleach if they wish. The drying and time to replant or ship allows the 'wound' end to dry over and 'heal.' If going back into my garden I do not wash but let any wounds heal over with a day in the sun.

Time to dig and ship or replant is normally about a month to 6 weeks after bloom time. That gives time for the rhizome to get some 'refreshment' from the sun with roots/leaves in place.

Trimming is optional; many trim in their own gardens but that practice was started for shipping in smaller sized containers so is not needed normally.

Enjoy!

NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Butterflies
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ScarletTricycle
Jun 1, 2020 9:32 AM CST
Fantastic information! Thank you so much for helping me out.
There are always flowers for those who want to see them. — Henri Matisse
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Irises Butterflies Bee Lover Bulbs Cat Lover Region: Nebraska
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lauriemorningglory
Jun 1, 2020 9:23 PM CST
Thanks, Dave, that is great info for me, too.

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