Dividing Iris

Dividing iris every three to five years will keep your iris bed healthy and looking well-groomed.

Three simple steps are all you need to know and do to divide and/or transplant your iris:

iris bulb untrimmed



Depending upon the size of the clump, use a shovel or garden fork to lift the clump; for a smaller clump, you can use your trowel just as easily.

iris bulb new shoot



Remove the new healthy growth from the outside of the bulb/rhizome and throw away the original older middle portion of the bulb.

iris buld trimmed shoot



Using scissors or your pruners, trim the leaves down to about 6 inches and replant the bulb being sure to keep the foliage upright

Remember also to keep in mind the important parts of planting iris bulbs as you divide and transplant your iris:

  • mix some peat humus in with the soil you dug out to make the hole
  • mound some soil in the center of your hole and set the bulb on the mound
  • plant your iris bulbs shallowly with roots facing downward; be sure the top of the bulb is at the surface of the soil and not completely buried
  • replant your iris 12-24in apart to allow plenty of room for the new growth
  • water for a week or two

You'll probably find that you have lots of extra iris after dividing them and transplanting them. Be sure to share the extras with neighbors or other gardening friends!

Related Information:

Plant Division

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