Dividing Iris

By Cheryl Conklin

  • When iris have finished blooming, remove spent bloom stalks.
  • Dig up and divide the rhizomes.
  • Choose healthy, vigorous rhizomes to be replanted. These will have strong roots, a well-developed fan, and be free of borer holes. Discard small, unhealthy rhizomes in the trash. Also discard those which have already bloomed.
  • Trim roots to about 6″ and trim fan. Trimmed roots are easier to replant. Shorter fans won’t blow over in the wind.
  • Dig hole wide enough to accommodate the root and about 3-4″ deep. Make a platform for the rhizome so it can sit with its top at or just below soil level and the roots can spread and anchor around it.
  • Cover the roots with soil and firm it, making sure the top of the rhizhome is at or just below the soil’s surface.
  • Place rhizomes 15-24″ apart.
A good candidate for replanting: A healthy rhizome with plenty of strong roots, no signs of iris borer, and has not yet bloomed.
You can trim the roots to about 6″. Trimming the fan keeps it from blowing over.
The planting hole should be wide enough to accommodate all the roots and about 4″ deep. Build a soil platform to let the rhizome sit with its top at or just below the soil surface and spread the roots around.
Firm the soil around the roots.

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