You can stake them with those mini trellises you find in a garden shop. Why? How to Divide Bearded Irises. Dig the clump up and pry the rhizomes apart, discarding all shriveled and diseased parts. I would wait until at least August, although you should check with a local master gardener or your county extension agent, since winter comes on earlier there than it does where I live in the South. Rhizome Plant Care Iris Rhizomes Iris Garden Iris Propagating Plants Plants Iris Flowers Garden Bulbs. X wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Keep reading to learn more about replanting bearded irises. Make the hole about 2 to 3 inches deep, then create a mound in the center of the hole to just about soil level. Step One: Preparing the plant You can divide iris at any time of the year, but the recommended time is 4 to 6 weeks after blooming. Bearded irises grow from thick, fleshy, underground stems called rhizomes. Bearded iris. Spread the roots around and down the mound. Should I wait until they flower again and then divide? Divide your Irises after they bloom. Don't break them apart; just loosen the already separate sections. How to divide iris rhizomes for maximum beauty and keep them blooming! Here are a few tips for dividing and transplanting German bearded iris properly. Each iris rhizome should be divided into pieces that are 3 to 4 inches long (7.5 to 10 cm.) In July or August, carefully dig up the iris clumps with a spade. We found some borer damage and mushy rhizomes that we discarded. How to Divide German Bearded Iris Bearded iris, also known as Iris germanica, is a long-lived perennial grown from thick, fleshy roots, or rhizomes. This will keep the stalks with multiple blooms from lying on the ground or breaking at ground level. Since bearded irises are grown at soil level, this is one of the easiest plants to lift. The Ancient Greeks admired them, and the name, Iris denotes the Goddess of the rainbow; uniting heaven and earth. Ahem. The bearded iris (Iris germanica) grows as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 10. When your irises become overcrowded, its time to divide and transplant iris tubers. Then make a clean cut through the rhizome, using the same sharp, disinfected knife or pruner. Also look for soft spots, another common iris problem called soft rot. Here’s how you do it: Would I divide them in the spring? If your bearded iris leaves have dark streaks in them, you probably have iris borers, so look closely. In … wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Carefully dig up the iris clumps with a spade. Bearded … May I divide the rhizomes now? ", "It helped because I thought that irises were like tulips and had to be divided in the spring. Told me everything I needed to know to divide my irises. Bearded Iris need the sun on their Rhizomes, if you were to plant them like the photo below there’s a high chance they will rot. Replant the outer young rhizomes and discard the center old ones. Iris germanica is commonly known as bearded or German iris. It’s important to divide your bearded irises every few years to keep them floriferous and healthy, and to make new plants. Work the fork around the bearded iris plant and gently lift the rhizomes out of the soil. Unlike Dutch irises that grow from bulbs, bearded irises grow from tuberous roots. Replant the small shoots and scrap rhizomes to maximize propagation. Step-by-step process, along with pictures, made it very clear. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Wash the soil from the rhizomes with a forceful stream of water from the garden hose. Bearded iris plants bloom in spring, producing blossoms in shades of … How to divide Iris in Spring…Because I know things can get away from us and we miss the optimum times to do certain garden chores. ", "Needed to know when to divide, and this article was helpful. Cut back the leaves to 1/3 their original height. Well-written.". Know your iris. Rinse any remaining soil with a garden hose. My irises have gotten too big for the bed I planted them in, so this "how to" totally helped me with my thinning and transplanting. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. It’s at this point you’ll need to divide your irises, about every 3-4 years. Division should be done about a month after your iris finishes blooming. This can be remedied by lifting and dividing their rhizomes to give them a little more space. Step-by-Step Directions. This will make it easier to see when you are breaking the clumps apart. If you’re wondering if now is the time to divide your rhizomes, look for these cues: The plant is … Iris Warden? I live in CO and I have never divided my bearded iris. To divide a bearded iris that has started to decline, start by cutting back its foliage by half or even two thirds: this will reduce its subsequent water requirements as well as transplanting shock. Next, brush of as much dirt as possible from the iris rhizomes. Using a garden fork, carefully dig up the clumps of rhizomes. Their attractive, sword-like foliage provides a strong vertical effect even after flowering is finished. [1] Suppress weed growth using a 2"/5 cm layer of compost or rotted manure. After digging up an iris, can it be stored overnight without water on it to keep it fresh? Iris borers wreak havoc on irises. Bearded irises can be stored dry for a few days to a couple weeks before replanting, and this may prevent rot. Bearded Iris The best time to divide and transplant Iris rhizomes is 2-3 weeks after the finish of blooming. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Credit: Getty Images. During division, they are in the grub stage. You can divide bearded iris anytime after flowering and through the month of August. References They must replace their food supply. The best time for division of bearded irises is post flowering, at which... 2. Oct 28, 2018 - How to divide bearded iris rhizomes: Divide your bearded iris rhizomes to get more plants, keep your plants healthy and get more blooms! The reason you should divide your irises in late spring after they bloom is because they need warm soil for roots to grow and nourish the plant for the following season. Wash the soil from the rhizomes and roots with a steady stream of water. If possible, lift the whole mass out whole, but if you are unable to do this, carefully break the clump into smaller parts and lift these out. How do I know if I need to cut back my bearded irises? Full of different colors and an amazing fragrance, they are the envy of every gardener. I also learned that we've been over-watering. Then take a rhizome division and place it in the center of the mound. Bearded irises are fairly hardy plants and don't mind being dug up once in a while. The photo to the below shows iris being planted in groups of three. Some people cut the green leaves when dividing bearded irises, but it is not required. The … ", "This article took away my fear of doing something about my overgrown iris beds. Step 2: Break Apart Rhizomes. Using a pitchfork, carefully dig around the plant, starting about a foot away from the outer-most edge. ", already prepared the new site with the proper soil. German irises are gorgeous in bloom, but need frequent division. ", "The best parts: Simplicity. Bearded iris can be divided any time after flowering; this is often done in July or August in the Midwest so the replanted portions will have plenty of time to develop new roots and become established before freezing weather arrives. Cut the foliage back to 4 to 6 inches. Know when to divide the rhizomes. Other popular irises include the Siberian iris ( Iris sibirica ), the hybrid Dutch iris ( Iris x hollandica ) and Algerian iris ( Iris unguicularis ). It would be a pretty badge, with an iris in the middle. In an old picture album my mom has there is a photo of me as a baby sitting on a blanket on the lawn of my Grandmothers house. Steps 1. Before the Iris can be split, should the foliage by cut down? When to divide Bearded Iris. Dividing the bearded irises is key to remedying one issue entirely, while the other will continue to sting indefinitely until I grow used to this new situation. Carefully dig the clumps with a garden fork or spade, taking care not to chop into the rhizomes more than necessary. Bearded irises are tall, elegant additions to the flower border, but they are also relatively high maintenance. Only dig up an iris plant when it is dormant. Remember, it will probably settle a bit lower. If you see a whitish pink grub, dispose of it by squashing it. In Iowa, July or August is the best time to dig, divide, and transplant bearded irises. Moving along, here are some things to consider when renovating an old iris bed. Try not to spear or cut the rhizomes. Bearded Iris need good drainage or they will rot. So when is the best time to divide irises? Dividing Tall Bearded Iris. Since I have a few different varieties, I wanted to know when to divide them. and have at least one fan of leaves on the rhizome. Choose a full sun location and start by digging a shallow hole that will be wide enough to spread out the rhizome's roots. How to Divide German Bearded Iris When plants are too crowded, they are more susceptible to diseases like bacterial soft rot. Carefully dig up the iris clumps with a spade. Since bearded irises are grown at soil level, this is one of the easiest plants to lift. Divide the rhizomes by pulling them apart with your hands. Break them apart. Spacing Plants. My garden runs late. If you are lucky enough to grow bearded iris in your garden it’s time to give them the attention they need now to get those beautiful spring blooms. The heart of a mature iris can become woody and unproductive after a few years. Replant the small rhizomes 12 to 18 inches apart. Whilst dividing the iris we tend to cut the foliage in half (on the rhizomes that are quite large and have more than 3 leaves). It has no flowers at all. Division and transplanting allows the clump to rejuvenate and also provides a way to multiply your iris. Soak the roots and rhizome for a few hours before planting if you have stored them dry. 337. Can I divide my bearded iris the first week of October in Maine? Cut the leaves back to 1/3 their original height. You can help cut down on the incidence of soft rot and borer damage through regular division of the iris rhizomes every two to three years. How do you divide bearded irises? ", irises bloom in late May to early June. In an old picture album my mom has there is a photo of me as a baby sitting on a blanket on the lawn of my Grandmothers house. However some iris growers, such as Doddington Hall in Lincolnshire, achieve just as good results by dividing the iris while it’s still in the ground. We do this for two reasons. It works very well and you can still get blooms. Here are a few tips for dividing and transplanting German bearded iris properly. Divide irises by separating the rhizomes, removing rotten growth and replanting vigorous stems. Pamela McGeorge and Alison Nicoll, Irises, p. 23, (2001), ISBN 1-86953-470-0 You should divide them just after they have finished flowering. Close planting results in immediate effect, faster clump formation, and more color but makes dividing clumps a necessity in two to three years. ", planted immediately as I needed some time. Snap or cut off the old part of the rhizome since it will not flower again. You should divide and replant after the flower has bloomed and fallen off. To prevent overcrowding, divide re-blooming iris every 2 to 3 years, take only the outside rhizomes of the plant. Dig the rhizomes up and check them for disease or insect damage. The picture below clearly shows that although the Rhizome is standing proud the roots are firmly below the soil level. I divide daylilies when my daylilies have formed large tight clumps. Cutting the fan of leaves connected to a lifted iris rhizome makes the plant easier to work with when dividing and replanting and helps prevent water loss while the plant is becoming re-established. Can they still be divided, or are they too old? Some leaves may be damaged and will need to be cut shorter than 6 inches. Marie Iannotti is an author, photographer, and speaker with 27 years of experience as a Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener, The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. These plants need to be divided every few years, when flowering declines or the clump becomes crowded. It’s at this point you’ll need to divide your irises, about every 3-4 years. Irises are a beautiful spring flower. You can divide bearded irises anytime after flowering, through the month of August. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. 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