Irises

Credit: BA Elliott
PrintPrintEmailEmail
Your rating: None Average: 3.9 of 5 (80 votes)

Botanical name: Iris Germanica

Plant type: Flower

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil type: Any, Sandy, Loamy

Flower color: Pink, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Purple, White, Multicolor

Bloom time: Summer

The tall, beautiful iris, named after the Greek goddess who rode rainbows, comes in many magical colors.

Every gardener wants this perennial. Despite its divine origins, it is hardy, reliable, and easy to grow. Irises also attract butterflies and hummingbirds and make lovely cut flowers.

There are some 300 species in the genus Iris. The most familiar irises are the tall (at least 28 inches) bearded irises (Iris germanica).

The distinctive flowers have three large outer petals called "falls" and three inner upright petals called "standards." The falls may have beards or crests. Bearded iris are so-called because they have soft hairs along the center of the falls. In crested iris, the hairs form a comb or ridge.

Most irises flower in early summer. Some, mostly bearded hybrids, are remontant, flowering again later in the summer.

Planting

  • Irises need at least half a day of sun and well-drained soil. Without enough sun, they won't bloom.
  • They prefer fertile, neutral to slightly acidic soil. If your soil is very acidic, sweeten it with a bit of lime, and forbear summer watering, which can lead to rot.
  • Bearded irises must not be shaded by other plants; many do best in a special bed on their own.
  • Soil drainage is very important. Loosen the soil with a tiller or garden fork to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.
  • Plant iris in mid- to late summer.
  • Bearded irises have rhizomes (fleshy roots) that should be partially exposed, or thinly covered with soil in hot climates.
  • Plant rhizomes singly or in groups of three with the fans outermost, 1 to 2 feet apart, depending on the size.
  • Dig a shallow hole 10 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep. Make a ridge of soil down the middle and place the rhizome on the ridge, spreading roots down both sides. Fill the hole with soil and firm it gently.
  • Water thoroughly.
  • When planting, top-dress with a low-nitrogen fertilizer, and again in early spring.

Care

  • Avoid applying high-nitrogen fertilizers to the surface or carelessly mulching with organic matter, which may encourage rhizome rot.
  • Keep rhizomes exposed. Unlike bulbs, which thrive deep underground, iris rhizomes need a bit of sun and air to dry them out. If they're covered with soil or crowded by other plants, they'll rot. Irises may benefit from shallow mulching in the spring.
  • Don't trim iris leaves. Leaves carry on photosynthesis for next year's growth. Cut off brown tips—and cut the flowering stalk down to the rhizome to discourage rot.
  • If iris foliage is hit with heavy frost, remove and destroy it to eliminate borer eggs.
  • After 2 to 5 years, when clumps become congested or lose vitality, divide and replant sound rhizomes in fresh soil. The best time to replant irises is soon after bloom. Transplant them to places where they will have "wet feet but dry knees."

Pests

Irises are deer-resistant and drought-tolerant. However, they are susceptible to borers, so check the rhizomes (fleshy roots) yearly for holes, discarding any infested ones.

Verbena bud moth, whiteflies, iris weevil, thrips, slugs and snails, aphids, and nematodes may also be troublesome.

Recommended Varieties

  • 'Immortality' is a tall bearded flower that offers pure white flowers and reblooms in the fall. Grows best in Zones 4 to 9.
  • Other rebloomers, hardy at least to Zone 4, are: 'Feed Back', a dark purple; 'Earl of Essex', also purple; and 'I Do', with white flowers.
  • If you live in Zone 5 or warmer, try 'Jennifer Rebecca', a mauve pink beauty.

Wit & Wisdom

  • The iris is the French royal standard fleur-de-lis and also the symbol of Florence, Italy.
  • Oral root, taken from the dried roots of Iris 'Florentia', was considered a cure for blood and lung diseases, and teething babies were encouraged to gnaw on a "finger" of dried root for its natural fluoride.

Iris Picture

Click here to find more iris images in our picture gallery.

Comments

I live in the mountains,

By Carolyn Honnette on July 9

I live in the mountains, about 3,000 feet. The only sunny area available for my iris bulbs is on a fairly steep slope. The ground is clay. How can I secure them? How do I protect them in the winter? Thank you

Hi Carolyn, You need to amend

By Almanac Staff on July 10

Hi Carolyn,
You need to amend the clay soil with a bit of compost before planting. Maybe you can create a flowerbed using rocks or bricks as a boarder or build a small raised bed. For ideas go to www.almanac.com/content/raised-garden-beds-how-build
You can put some mulch over the irises in the fall. Just make sure to remove it in the spring.

i bought a single stem iris

By sara jane on July 7

i bought a single stem iris that was past its best and looked pretty sad. it cost me 50p , i brought it home and planted it last july and thought it will either live or die as im not green fingered atal.
this year it has gone crazy and ive had at least 10 flowers bloom and a few more still to come. im impressed big time and after reading how to divide im gonna plant them all around my garden and next year fingers crossed i will have beautiful flowers everywhere.

I planted some bulbs that I

By Darcie on June 28

I planted some bulbs that I puchased at the store in May---I know that I should have waited but I have not noticed any growth. Should I just be patient and wait through next spring and see whats grows?

After my irises bloomed,

By Garryn on June 28

After my irises bloomed, there is what looks like some kind of pod has developed where the irises fell off. Is this normal? And what should i do with them now? Thanks!

These are seedpods and it is

By Almanac Staff on July 1

These are seedpods and it is perfectly normal. Removing them will help the plant to expend its energy more productively. But you can also remove, dry, and store them for planting time.

nice to know, so when do you

By patrick baker on July 4

nice to know, so when do you remove them, how to store and when to plant??thanks

I have also noticed a pod

By Charlotte Coutcher on June 30

I have also noticed a pod growing on my Iris. We have been joking that it is the pod people in miniature. Are they seeds or invasive?

I am separating and moving my

By Cathy Humphrey on June 25

I am separating and moving my iris.,,how do i keep them standing up? If i cover the roots and leave tje rhizome bare they topple over. Should i pin it down with wire?

Cathy, just wanted to make

By Julie, a fellow iris grower on July 7

Cathy, just wanted to make sure you know to cut the leaves back to 4 to 6 inches when you split them... :)

Spread the roots out and down

By Almanac Staff on June 26

Spread the roots out and down over a small mound of dirt in the planting hole. Fill in with dirt and barely cover the rhizomes.

I find this interesting. I

By GreenMan2k8

I find this interesting. I have yet to see any spontaneous color changing even if the flower stalk is left on until fall. I have only had a handful of seed pods form on their own. The only iris I have are bi-color blue and light blue, blue with white stripes, all light blue or all dark purple. I do have some really tall white with yellow crested ones. I have experimented with locations using the same type iris. The consistent blooming are the ones with no shade or some filtered through trees. The other observation is the fact I do blame climate and weather, along with rhizome size as a factor in blooming. An example of this is. I have never seen a flower stalk on a smaller rhizome after transplanting. One year all of the transplants bloomed, the next only some of them bloomed. I have noticed that the seasons are not keeping to themselves like they used to. One year it didn't snow in Utah until Christmas Eve. Situations like that give plants of habit a state of confusion and end up getting growth spurt when it shouldn't happen. Grape Hyacinths are a good example of that when they try to bloom twice in the same year when there is a warm time in fall. The only example I have with color changing is with a Snapdragon that was trampled, which was put in water. The un-bloomed buds had a different color intensity because it couldn't retain the same nutrients which is understandable. I also use Iris in my ponds so I know they don't mind water or soil depth within an inch. Iris will thrive in soil that Asiatic lilies and Gladiolus would rot. So, well drained soil is not a one size fits all term.

I have a bed that is pretty

By Pamela Bristlin

I have a bed that is pretty much designated to Iris. I have a ton of yellow, which I have tagged and am going to be digging up and giving away. However, and here is the problem, Crabgrass and clover are taking over. What I'd like to do is dig up all the iris and sort them out, keeping the ones I want (I've tagged them with a certain color of string). Since this will be a way more than "day project" can/should I put the iris in a cool, dry place (box in basement). Also, since the leaves are so tall, can I trim them down as my mom used to do? If so, how far (to the ground?)and when? Should they be planted out again before frost sets in? I live in zone 6-ish, Eastern Washington.

I find the information and

By anne storey on June 25

I find the information and experience of other iris lovers helpful and interesting. Thank you.

My mother's irises have taken

By kmlinds

My mother's irises have taken over her entire garden. I am digging them up to get rid of them, but I am nervous about throwing them in with our other garden waste because it is near a salmon habitat, and the irises are so invasive that I am worried about them upsetting the local ecosystem.

We live in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (outside of Vancouver), do you have any tips for disposing of a ton of very alive and very healthy irises? Should I not be so worried about them spreading (my mother thinks they would look pretty) and just get rid of them the the same way we get rid of all other garden waste?

How about sharing them. You

By Melinda Rhodes

How about sharing them. You can post it locally, here we could post it on a bullitan board at the post office. Several years ago we got rid of what we thought were undesirable day lilies and people truly wanted them - dig your own.

Well, although this is not a

By Almanac Staff

Well, although this is not a common situation, anyone can understand being overrun with plants. Here are a few ideas:

• invite any/all garden clubs, orgs, city parks, friends, and neighbors—any and everyone to take them away.
• Contact the American Iris Society branch in B.C.; See here: http://www.aisregion13.org/
• Reach out to the American Iris Society through its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theamericanirissociety Perhaps folks there have ideas for redistributing your plants.

• Another suggested method, if you must, is to cut them to the root and cover the ground with black plastic. For a long time. If/when you uproot/unearth the remains, make sure that you get every bit and snippet.
 

My mother too had her Iris

By ICIBUY

My mother too had her Iris plants. My mother is gone now, but i'm digging up the iris bulbs planting them on our familiy member graves. They are very hearty and need very little maintenance. We are in central Texas. I also let the neighbors know they are welcome to come dig some in. You can put the bulbs in a cool place and mist them every two weeks and they keep until you can share your mothers love.

I live in Northern NV and

By Caren1

I live in Northern NV and have a plot of Iris that needs dividing. I have prepared a place for the transplanted Iris. I know I will need to water the transplants well. My question is after the transplants are in their new location how often and how much water should I provide them. We do not get a lot of rain but we do get occasional snow. I plan on transplanting in late summer/ early fall when the temps are a bit lower.

Hi, Caren Our sources say

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Caren
Our sources say that it's best to plant irises with a few days of dividing, but up to two weeks could be ok.
Soak the rhizomes and roots for a few hours before planting. Water well after planting. No additional water should be necessary.
Bearded irises should be kept moist from spring until the end of flowering.
Siberian irises should be planted just below the surface of the soil and then watered. These need moisture throughout the season, with occasionaly deep watering. In fact, if you have well-draining soil, you can not overwater them.

I live in Portland, Oregon

By CoryDevine

I live in Portland, Oregon and have quite a few irises (not sure of kind, but they are a multitude of colors) in my backyard. This summer I plan to make big changes - getting rid of some beds, creating new ones, but it may take a while. It's early June now and almost all of my irises are done blooming. When I dig them up, do I need to get them in the ground right away, or can I store them somewhere for awhile? The bed changes aren't finalized, but I'd like to take the irises up sooner than later. Thanks!

Hi, Cory, It's best if the

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Cory,
It's best if the irises can be replanted with up to a couple of weeks, but they have been known to survive for a year if kept in a cool, dry place. Or, perhaps you could plant them temporarily, say, in pots? and replant when you're ready.
Good luck!

Well heres one for you. A

By ICIBUY

Well heres one for you. A friend shared with me she puts them in her vegetable crisper. I would not put them in a sealed back they might rot, but you do need to mist spray every few weeks the roots. You can cut away brown tips, but I would not cut back too far they need the stems to get sunlight and grow.

Irises are tough. You can dig

By Almanac Staff

Irises are tough. You can dig them up after flowering and store them in a container or a box. Just make sure that they don't dry out (you can cover them with a bit of soil or sawdust and give them a sprinkle of water once in a while).

Not very deer resistant - I

By Barbara W.

Not very deer resistant - I live on eastern Long Island and have both bearded and Siberian irises in my garden. A few days ago the deer ate about half of the iris blooms in one of the beds and left the leaves alone..
The following day I used anti deer spray on all remaining irises.

Barbara W.

We should probably say that

By Almanac Staff

We should probably say that NO plants are truly deer resistant! When deer are hungry, they will eat almost anything. However, iris is on reference lists of the plants which the deer "generally" do not seem to like well enough to severely damage by eating. Good luck keeping them at bay.

We just moved to a house, and

By Whitney H

We just moved to a house, and irises popped up a few days ago, and they are beautiful, and I am weeding out the bed, and cleaning up the yard. Now they are looking too tall, and starting to fall over... How do I care for these, to where they wont fall over?

It is possible that your

By Almanac Staff

It is possible that your irises are "reaching" for the sun. Does the area they are planted in get at least half a day of sun?
It is also possible that there might be too much nitrogen in the soil where your irises are growing.
Lastly, it could be an indication that it is time to divide your irises. Late July is a good time for this.

I dug up different colors of

By eriggsbe

I dug up different colors of iris and it seem that they still come up purple. Is that a dominant color? I was told that if one doesn't pinch off the old bloom they will come back purple. Is that right? I know I have put different colors. I didn't mark them; I didn't think I had to.

Yes, this is due to letting

By Almanac Staff

Yes, this is due to letting your iris go to seed. The bloom stalk should be removed shortly after blooming. Purple is the dominant iris color and will take over if the bloom stalk is not removed shortly after the bloom dies.

My mother planted purple

By andrew stillwater

My mother planted purple mntn. irises in s.w. Oklahoma about 45 years ago. She passed away may 2014, so I went to that house I grew up in and saw iris stalks growing in that exact location. She has not lived there since 1974, and a few other owners have, but is apparent none of the owners plant anything. Can irises, or at least the stalks actually live for decades? Iighten my heart!

My condolences on the loss of

By Geoguppy on July 8

My condolences on the loss of your mother. After my mother passed in 2009, and we sold the house our family had been in since 1972, before the final sale, I dug up a bunch of her midnight black iris (well, super-deep purple) and replanted at my house, a friend's house, and at my mother's grave. That was in the fall of 2012. I just today went by my parents' grave and pulled off about 18 spent flowers and pods from the three rhizome bits I had planted there! Is there any chance you could ask the current owners of the house if you might have some of their iris?

Yes, my mother had purple

By Taffy McGann

Yes, my mother had purple flags that are still growing magnificently after at least 60 yrs as I am 71 and remember them and have pictures of them. My problem is that most of them have turned white. I never had a white Iris nor did my mother. Did my purple Irises turn white ? how can I get them back to purple as now there are more white than purple?
help

I have iris in my Virginia

By Julia Victoria

I have iris in my Virginia garden that are descendants of my great-grandmother's plants. My mother moved them every time we moved--at least 6 times that I know of in the last 50 years. They are a lovely keepsake--my brother in CT has some, too, as do friends of mom's who live in New York State. My mother would have been 96 today. Good luck with your keepsake plants!

I'm not an expert but I live

By Sara Hasley

I'm not an expert but I live in central Oklahoma and believe that irises do continue on forever. We have a small country cemetary my grandmother is buried at and I have visited it for my 55 years. This year on Memorial Day weekend I noticed the "wild" irises were even growing in the dried leaves around the old blackjack trees. It makes me happy that they thrive there. I'm so sorry about the passing of your mom.

My iris's have not bloomed in

By Jackkkkkk

My iris's have not bloomed in several years, this year about 20 flowers bloomed on it. It looks really great!

Thanks for your comment, Jack

By Almanac Staff

Thanks for your comment, Jack kkkkk. Your enthusiasm comes off the page!

I just discovered vole damage

By Lynne Maroney

I just discovered vole damage to many of my iris - separating the fans from the rhizomes. Is there any hope of rooting the fans - in perlite of something? There are over 60 fans, and I don't want to waste my time, but would love to preserve my iris, if possible. We are putting down hardware cloth, hoping to prevent further damage

Hi, Lynne, In order to

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Lynne,
In order to propagate iris, you need a fan cluster with a 2- to 3-inch long piece of rhizome attached to it. Doing this in July is most conducive to their success.
To avoid vole damage in future, cut the fans off to the ground in fall.
Hope this helps!

Hi, I live in coastal NC, my

By Kristina White

Hi, I live in coastal NC, my mom sent me some yellow iris rizomes from Texas. We have a sandy soil, get plenty of sun, but we have a BIG deer problem. They happen to love the "deer resistant" plants... Mainly as a chew toy, then spitting them out. How should I plant them? If I have I wait, how to I care for the rizomes outside of the ground?

Deer mostly don't like iris,

By Almanac Staff

Deer mostly don't like iris, but will eat them early in the growing season when there is not much else around. Usually it's when the first leaves appear and before the buds develop. We have heard that they like purple irises better than the yellow ones. Deer really like tulips, fruit trees, and daylilies much more than irises. If you do have a big deer problem you need to protect them with a fence.

I have been told that Iris

By Sharon Deary

I have been told that Iris can't be grown in Florida and I have not been able to find out if this is true or not. My mom used to have large Iris beds and I love these flowers. Where I live in an apartment, would also like to know if they could be potted in a very deep planter so that I can take them with me if I move?

Yes, you can grow irises in

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can grow irises in Florida, and yes, they will grow in a pot. Use a large one: 12 to 24 inches wide and 12 to 16 inches deep.

Can you tell me if the

By Linda G. Baker

Can you tell me if the rhizome that blooms dies after it blooms? My 84 year old mother who knows a lot about flowers seems to think so.

Hi, Linda, The rhizome is the

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Linda,
The rhizome is the underground stem of the iris and it does not die after bloom.

Some idiot cut off an iris

By Christina B Matthew

Some idiot cut off an iris stalk on our campus and them discarded it. Is there any way that I can keep it alive without the corm?

Hi, Christina, Your iris

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Christina, Your iris should come back.

No, the corm is the root.

By georgewilson

No, the corm is the root.

Hi, George, Thanks for

By Almanac Staff

Hi, George,
Thanks for jumping in; just a small correction: crocus and gladiolus have corms at the root. The iris has a rhizome. And, for the record, dahlias and the like have/are tubers.
Thanks again!

I live in eastern MT and have

By Barbie Kountz

I live in eastern MT and have a home with no flowers but perimeter gardens covered with mesh and rock. A neighbor offered many yellow irises if I dig them up now ...late April. I wonder what the chances of survival are and if I should mix peat and potting soil as the garden store suggested.

The best time to replant

By Almanac Staff

The best time to replant irises is soon after bloom.

When I was having a tree cut

By Carol C

When I was having a tree cut down I dug up some irises that were around the tree and threw them in the ground. It was Christmas Eve 2012. They grew really well but only one bloomed this April. They get a lot of water when it rains and I think they are too deep. Both seem to be a factors with blooming.

Its late April now in Dallas. Should I replant them next month before it gets too hot here?

Replant the iris as soon as

By Almanac Staff

Replant the iris as soon as they have bloomed. Make sure to plant them shallow and keep some of the rhizomes exposed.

How can I kill grass and

By Karen J. Miller

How can I kill grass and weeds but not the iris?

There is a great product

By Plum Street Gardens

There is a great product called Grass-B-Gone by Ortho. Don't confuse it with Weed B Gone. It is chemical and not organic, but it will kill grass in flower beds. There is a short list of plants that it may harm, but I've had great success using it around irises and all types of lilies. If you can't find this at the garden center, it is available at Amazon.

Pull by hand as much as you

By Almanac Staff

Pull by hand as much as you can and try to get the roots. If you can't get everything try round-up but be very careful not to spray the irises.

I live in hardiness zone 6.

By Sharon in Kansas

I live in hardiness zone 6. We have some irises growing but they haven't bloomed the last couple of years, I think because they are too crowded. They get plenty of sun. I would like to transplant a few of them. When would be the best time to do this? If I transplant them now, is there any chance they will bloom next spring?

As mentioned above, the best

By Almanac Staff

As mentioned above, the best time to replant irises is soon after bloom. This is probably August or September.

You keep referring people to

By K Hanson

You keep referring people to the answer about moving the iris soon after they have bloomed, but you have failed to tell people what to do if their Iris are not blooming at all.

Irises may not bloom for

By Almanac Staff

Irises may not bloom for several reasons.
 
* Too much nitrogen - cut down on the nitrogen element in any fertilizer that you might be using.
 
* not enough nutrients or water (but be sure not to overwater, though, which can encourage rot)
 
* not enough sun - they should get at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun each day. If they don't, once the plants are old enough, transplant them to a sunnier location.
 
* planted too deep - be sure to plant at the depth recommended for your type of iris
 
* overcrowding - you might want to divide irises every 3 to 5 years
 
* diseases or pests - monitor throughout the growing season
 
Hope this helps!

My iris are not blooming.

By Brenda Carrington

My iris are not blooming. They are in enough sun, not crowded, and planted the correct depth. Out of all the iris I have only three bloomed. What kind if fertilizer do you recommend?
Thank you

The irises I'm wanting to

By Sharon in Kansas

The irises I'm wanting to transplant are not getting any fertizer; the only water they get is when it rains; they are in full sun for 8-10 hrs. a day; and they did bloom for several years - but not the past couple of years. Which is why I think they need to be divided. Am I right in assuming that I should still wait until August-September to divide and TRANSPLANT them?

I have iris that have changed

By lisa posey

I have iris that have changed color, a group that was all white are now a pale yellow-green this year. I also have some that now are a pale dirt white trimmed in a brown-maroon color. I know for sure they have changed color, could my ground be lacking something?

Lisa, I was told, years ago

By Emmett

Lisa, I was told, years ago by an older friend of mine, that flowers will, in time, revert back to their original color. Maybe that is the case in yours' changing color. They sound beautiful in any case.

Yep. Same thing happened to

By GRAMMIEBUD

Yep. Same thing happened to me regarding color change. I brought 6 different colors with me when we moved from PA to NC. No more yellow, no more white and yellow, no more dark blue with white. They are ALL dirty white with brownish edges. Such a disappointment. I always say to never throw out a plant, but I don't want all the "ugly" iris. In 50 years of gardening I never had an iris change color.

I live in Tacoma, Washington

By nana mama

I live in Tacoma, Washington and the same thing has happened to most of my irises. They used to be a beautiful bright yellow, but now they all have tuned to a yellow/brown and some an off white/brown. They are very ugly now. I am guessing that the PH of my soil might be off, but like I said that's just a guess. I am going to test my soil again and see what it is. If anyone knows for sure why this is happening, please let me know.

Mine changed too. I got them

By abodes

Mine changed too. I got them from someone who had purple irises for years. First year, a few purples. Next year, many purples but one "ugly" white, one bright white, and two (that I had to transplant again last year) of the the most beautiful dark red irises. Never seen this color before! Would love to know why this happened.

There are a few explanations

By Almanac Staff

There are a few explanations for irises changing color. It may have to do with pollination from bees; stress on the irises due to heat, cold, or being transplanted; or seedpods may have self sown in the ground. Sometimes mutations happen, and these are called "sports."

Will the original color come

By ksh_tjh

Will the original color come back? I've had this happen to two clusters of irises I transplanted 10 years ago (and divided a few times in those years). One cluster is an Edith Wharton, which should be a dark lavender beard & a yellow top, and very large flower overall. I only got a couple blooms, small and white, with fewer petals. The other cluster was a Queen of the Night, a gorgeous dark almost black purple. Again, only a few flowers and a reddish-brown color now. I live in Wadsworth Ohio.

I've lived in a rent house

By Epicdreamer

I've lived in a rent house for 4 years now that has these plants in the front and back beds. I've never seen them bloom and that is probably due to the large amount of shade from trees. Right now, they still haven't bloomed and they're rather crowded. I'm pretty sure they're irises because of the fanning, flat leaves. They're definitely not tulips or daffodils. Can I dig them up now and replant them elsewhere since they're not getting enough sun? OR should I wait until this fall when the weather cools?

You have good instincts. Iris

By Almanac Staff

You have good instincts. Iris plants will grow in the shade but not usually flower. They need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. We'd only consider afternoon shade in very hot regions, but they really belong in full sun.
Also, iris stop blooming when they are crowded and need to be divided every 3 to 5 years.
Divide and replant in July, August or September when they are sleepy due to the heat.  When you replant, ensure that the iris plants have good drainage. Water can not stand in the beds. Remove the entire clump, discard the old center divisions, and separate the individual rhizomes. Select the largest ones, replenish the soil, and replant.

Northern California, USDA

By Jjlo

Northern California, USDA 9b.
I dug up my iris in October 2013, removed the dirt, cleaned up the bulbs, left some root and 1" leaves, stored them in paper bags in the garage. It is now April 2014, and the bulbs are shriveled an dry looking. Are they still good to plant? Should I soak them in water to plump them up? I have hundreds, and rather not waste time and irrigation during a drought if there is little hope. Thanks in advance.

You know, a dried-up rhizome

By Almanac Staff

You know, a dried-up rhizome isn't usually a good sign. However, we have all learned to never give up on an iris.  It's a gamble, but many readers have found that they end up pleasantly surprised. 

I purchased about 120 Miss

By blovett81

I purchased about 120 Miss Saigon Dutch Iris last year and planted them in a big circle in my yard around August. This was my first time to plant these and absolutely nothing has happened. It's April now and I live in SouthEast Texas zone 9. Can I safely assume that I did not do this right and how can I prevent this from happening?

Here in Alabama, both times I

By Janet Townley

Here in Alabama, both times I planted Miss Saigon bulbs they did not bloom for 2 years. Magnificent now, however. They may just need a little more time.

Are you seeing any foliage?

By Almanac Staff

Are you seeing any foliage? Are they in a sunny spot? Are they in a spot that drains any rain water really well? We've had some Texas readers say that the Dutch Iris sometimes takes a while to bloom and it can be April or later. 

someone just gave me an Iris

By don lockett

someone just gave me an Iris plant, i live in a one bedroon apt. can the plant grow in doors? or is it best to have the plant out doors?

Our Irises are not growing as

By SusetteStewart

Our Irises are not growing as fast as I thought they should and I asked by husband how deep did he plant them and he said the instructions said 4-5 inches. Is there any iris plant that gets planted that deep? If no...should we pull them up and replant a bit higher? They've been in the ground for 6 weeks and we live in central Florida.

When we plant iris rhizomes,

By Almanac Staff

When we plant iris rhizomes, we dig a hole about 4 to 5 inches deep. Build a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Center the rhizome on top of the soil mound and let the roots fall over either side of the mound. Cover the roots with soil so the rhizome is just slightly exposed. Firm the soil and water thoroughly.
If the above doesn't match what you did, you may want to re-plant. It is a common problem to plant the iris too deep. Just be patient as it takes a few weeks for the iris to show growth.

A neighbor gave me 20 tall

By P Fry

A neighbor gave me 20 tall bearded iris rizomes. They'd been in her garage for two years. She advised soaking them overnight in a pail of water, then planting them. They bloomed beautifully the next year. This was at 7,900' on the Continental Divide in Colorado. I was happily surprised!

I have bearded Irises, that I

By Purple

I have bearded Irises, that I dug out of my mother's year. The second year, they bloomed beautifully. They have not bloomed since, and it has bee two years. I moved them to another bed last year and I am hoping they will bloom this year. They all look strong and healthy. Is there anything I need to do to get them to bloom?

Usually, iris that grow well

By Almanac Staff

Usually, iris that grow well but do not bloom are overcrowded. They should be divided every 3 to 5 years. When you replanted, did you divide the clumps? If this was the problem, you would usually see a decrease in bloom in the middle of the clump.
Another reason for lack of bloom is insufficient sunlight. Are they in a sunny spot?
Another reason may be related to the nutrient balance. Iris need a light, loamy soil with a pH of 6 to 7, simply amended with organic matter. Too much fertilizer, especially lawn fertilizer, can burn them or cause lush greenery at the expense of blooms.  If you fertilize at all, apply ½ cup of 5-10-10 fertilizer per iris clump after flowering. 
We hope some of these tips spark ideas for you.

My mother-in-law transplanted

By Crystal35

My mother-in-law transplanted iris to my home in Texas last summer and they bloomed beautifully and most of the foliage remained green throughout the winter. Unfortunately, I am a new and very inexperienced "gardener" and thought I would tidy things up for this year. I cut all of the iris plants down to about 6 inches before I read that this shouldn't be done. By the very next day all of the green foliage started looking not so green and some are yellowing. It's now late March and I'm terrified that I might have just killed all of my iris! Is there any hope or anything I can do to try and save them? Also, if they survive will it even be possible for them to bloom this year?

You have not killed your

By Almanac Staff

You have not killed your iris. They will grow new leaves but may not bloom this year.

Hi, I dug up a bunch of iris

By pegtastic

Hi, I dug up a bunch of iris from an abandoned lot last year, around Easter. I brought them home and planted them totally wrong. Not only are they too close together, they are too deep and I set them sideways, so from the front you are looking at the side of the fan. They are live and happy, but it hasn't been long enough to know if they will bloom. I need to replant them correctly, right? Do I have to wait until July or can I do it now? I'm in north Texas. The iris are originally from Oklahoma.

The best time to transplant

By Almanac Staff

The best time to transplant iris is in Aug. or Sept. If your irises look healthy they may bloom this season.

I am in VA and it is mid

By Dawn Foster

I am in VA and it is mid March. I have old iris that came out of my grandmother garden(she is now past), I have small shoots coming out of the ground. We are going to have a new foundation poured in a couple of weeks and I will need to move them or lose them. If I move them now will it kill them? Please help I can bare to lose them.

Our sources suggest that

By Almanac Staff

Our sources suggest that bearded iris can be transplanted any time after the last frost date in your area—but not in the heat of summer. Others say, ideally, move them after bloom. But you can't wait.
So, try this: dig them (or it) up, taking a deep, wide swath of soil; don't bare the rhizomes (roots), if you can avoid it. If the plant/s have been growing from a while, you might have a thick, gnarly cluster of rhizomes but do the best you can. Essentially, you don't want the plant/s to know it has been moved.
Have a hole dug and ready for planting, ideally one with similar sun and soil conditions (full and well-draining). Do not set the rhizomes deep into the ground; they like it nearer to ground level, or the top of the soil.
You won't know for a while if the iris will bloom this season, but it's not likely that the move will kill it.
If this "new" hole is temporary and you plan to return the plant to the original spot, you might want to divide the rhizome/s at that time. Do it a couple of months before the first frost date, allowing the plant/s time to set roots. Or wait until next year.
Let us know how it goes.

I've never planted iris bulbs

By Nagevc

I've never planted iris bulbs before. I intend to plant them in containers on my deck - which only gets afternoon and evening sun. Is that sufficient sunlight in your estimation? Also, in Connecticut, should I be planting the iris bulbs in March/ April? Your FAQ above says mid-summer....which confuses me. Thanks for your assistance. (Love this site.)

Morning sun is better but if

By Almanac Staff

Morning sun is better but if you get enough afternoon and evening sun (at least 6 hours) the location should be OK. For best results rhizomes are usually planted in July, August or September.

I have iris in several

By Judy1040

I have iris in several locations, they have been there for many years. My problem is they NEVER bloom. I tried thinning them a couple years ago, some came back and come up, but never bloom. It's winter here in north Texas, I thought about digging all of them up (at least in the areas I know they should be - they are not in a bed- just along fence rows) and replanting in beds or pots or even water. Do you think this would work to make them bloom? Am I wasting my time? They used to be full and beautiful flowers. Have I neglected the soil to much and they are too far gone? If I dig them up now (late January) can I plant them in the new location and get them to grow? I know lots of questions, and I apologize if I have missed the answers to any of these questions above. :)

See the information above

By Almanac Staff

See the information above under the Care section about growing iris. It's important that the divided iris rhizomes be planted so the tops are exposed and the roots are spread out facing downward in new fresh soil. Iris also needs at least 1/2 day of full sun to grow well.

My mother sent me a box of

By Londa

My mother sent me a box of matured Irises with roots for Christmas. A lady gave her several she pulled from her own yard. I need to know how to care for them until I can plant them, if I can't plant them right away. Can you plant Irises in winter?

You can plant the irises when

By Almanac Staff

You can plant the irises when the soil is warm and workable. Keep them in sawdust or peat moss in a cool, dark place and mist with water once or twice until you can plant them outdoors.

Should I wait to plant until

By Londa

Should I wait to plant until after the last frost is expected?

I live in Reno the days are

By Irene Kibodeaux

I live in Reno the days are in the 60's evenings in the 30's.
I have the rhizomes in water inside. They have 6" green leaves growing. When should I plant them?
A neighbor left a box filled with 3 dozen rhizomes.
I took a dozen.
I am new to Reno, NV, I moved from California

We moved into a new house

By A.Ryan

We moved into a new house mid-winter and were pleasantly surprised to see a lot of perennials come up. A friend commented how surprised she was that the gladiolas were doing so well since they should be dug up each winter. Following her advice, I dug up the plants for this winter but now realize they are Irises and should have been left in the ground. They were beautiful this summer, I'd hate to lose them. What can I do to store them over the weekend. We live in ND and it gets very cold. I just dug them up yesterday. Advisable to return them to the ground this late into November?

If your soil is still soft

By Almanac Staff

If your soil is still soft get them back into the ground as soon as possible. Cover the soil with leaves or other mulch.
If you decide to store them indoors make sure to brush off extra dirt, cut the leaves back to a couple of inches and put them in sawdust or peat moss in a cool, dark place. Check every few weeks to make sure that the rhizomes are not shriveling and drying up or rotting. If dry spray with a little water. Remove and discard any soft or rotting rhizomes.

I live in northern nj. I

By Karen yahnke

I live in northern nj. I brought back from dallas tx. A bunch of iris from my moms. Its been four years, finally bloomed beautiful white flowers. Now blooms are gone and I have tall green leaves. My question... I have been covering them with an open top tube for the winter as we get a lot of snow. Still, when I uncover the plants in the spring, they lay wilted looking for a month it seems. I havd heard and read both yays and nays on cutting the plant back in the fall. Help! Thank you.

Mushy, wilted plants in

By Almanac Staff

Mushy, wilted plants in spring may mean that there is too much water or not enough drainage, or too rich a soil. If you are experiencing mushy, wilted plants in early spring, you might try cutting back the foliage in fall--but only after the leaves have turned yellow or brown. Leave them if they are green, as they are still making food for the plant. In fall, remove any leaf litter (from trees/shrubs etc.) around the rhizomes that might keep the soil moist and encourage rot in winter/spring. Some people put a layer of straw over the rhizomes for winter protection, but remove the straw in early spring, as soon as temperatures warm up. Remove the tube earlier, as well, if you notice mushy plants in spring. Make sure the soil has good drainage, and that there is not too much fertilizer/manure applied in fall.

I live in Pasadena,

By BQ

I live in Pasadena, California, USDA zone 10a, Sunset zone 21. Summers are very hot. How much sun exposure can bearded irises take in my area? Morning sun with afternoon shade (eastern exposure)? I understand from your plant data sheet that the irises should not be shaded by other plants. Does this mean I shouldn't plant under a lemon tree that offers filtered light from mid-day to late afternoon? Thank you.

Some varieties of bearded

By Almanac Staff

Some varieties of bearded iris can survive in parts of zone 10. You'd still need to be careful in heat waves, however. In general, 6 to 8 hours of sunlight are ideal. In heat waves, make sure that you provide a little extra water (but don't overwater). In hot climates, you can plant the rhizomes so that they are covered with about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil (usually, you would leave part of the rhizome exposed); this would protect the rhizome from sun damage. However, do not cover them too deep (such as where the leaves emerge), or the rhizomes may rot. Ask your local nursery what varieties of bearded irises are more tolerant to heat in your area.

Can Iris's grow well in

By Carrol

Can Iris's grow well in pots
I would love to grow some on my patio

Yes, you can grow irises in

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can grow irises in pots, from dwarf irises to bearded types. Make sure that you provide a potting mix with good drainage, and that your pot has drainage holes. Check with your local nursery as to specific requirements (pot size, soil, planting depth, timing, watering, light, winter protection, etc.) for the type of iris that you'd like to grow.

I ordered four Iris this year

By Myrna Highlander

I ordered four Iris this year from a nursery. I live in Missouri, We are close to getting a hard freeze. What should I do to keep the Iris through the winter till I can plant them in the spring?

We would normally advise

By Almanac Staff

We would normally advise planting your iris at least 4 to 6 weeks before your first hard freeze or killing frost and mulch very heavily with finely shredded wood mulch. I'm afraid that if you plant them now, they'll die. At this point, plant the iris in the spring after the frost is out of the ground so the roots have time to get established. Speak to your nursury about how to best store in your area.

My landscaper cuts down my

By Bessie Rosenberg

My landscaper cuts down my iris to about 1"-3" from the ground. Does this need to be done? I'm in zone 9.

It's not advisable to cut the

By Almanac Staff

It's not advisable to cut the iris leaves. Leaves carry on photosynthesis for next year's growth. Only cut off brown tips—and cut the flowering stalk down to the rhizome to discourage rot.

all my iris have turned

By Trudy Hyde

all my iris have turned white. is there any way I can get the colors back?

Many iris varieties are

By Almanac Staff

Many iris varieties are hybrids. Seeds may have ripened, dropped, and germinated in your flower bed. Iris seed does not grow true to the parent plant. You need to plant new irises to get new colors in your garden.

I have a 30' long iris bed

By Deb Key

I have a 30' long iris bed and trimming them has become onerous. Can I mow them with a lawnmower (set high enough not to damage the rhizomes)?

We would not mow the iris

By Almanac Staff

We would not mow the iris foliage nor cut it back until after it turns brown and is dead. The bulbs are storing energy for next year so you want the leaves to nourish the bulb. After the leaves brown, they should just fall off. It's not pretty for a while but the beds largely take care of themselves.

I am way overdue to divide

By Yellow Iris

I am way overdue to divide and thin my iris bed but just didn't get it done this summer. We are having a warm October here is SE Michigan and I'm thinking about doing it now. Is it too late in the season? I don't want to loose my iris, but they really need to be divided.

July and August are dormant

By Almanac Staff

July and August are dormant times and the best time to transplant iris. The roots of newly planted irises be well established before the end of the growing season.
We'd say you're safe if it is at least 4 to 6 weeks before your first hard freeze or killing frost.

Hi, I cant seem to find

By Thea

Hi,
I cant seem to find anywhere info on the seed pods of these irisis...do I have to dry them out before I plant them or can I just plant them as soon as I've cut the faded flower off? How deep do I have to plant them? how long before they show growth? etc
Thanks

You can purchase the (empty)

By GailMarie

You can purchase the (empty) bags that are used for brewing loose tea. Place them over the seed pod and tie them with twist ties around the stem of the seed pod, so when it breaks open you will catch the seeds. Seeds can be kept in a dry place over winter. Write the iris variety on the bag.

Many people start seeds in small paper or peat pots in early spring inside under grow lights, about 3 seeds per pot, perhaps 1/4 inch deep--just enough to cover. Not all seeds will germinate--that's normal.

In late spring after danger of frost, transplant them to your garden at pot level. (Don't plant rhizomes deeply like bulbs; they should be slightly exposed at the top.) Hope this helps.

The seedpods need to dry and

By Almanac Staff

The seedpods need to dry and turn brown. They will then split and you'll find the seeds inside the pod. Plant them not too deep in good potting mix. It depends on the iris variety how long it takes for the seeds to germinate.

We moved to a new home and

By Susan Beth Dickson

We moved to a new home and there are iris plants in the landscaping. They bloomed in May/June and now have the Greene leaves with brown at the top. Can these be cut back like day lilies?

Don't trim iris leaves.

By Almanac Staff

Don't trim iris leaves. Leaves carry on photosynthesis for next year's growth. Cut off brown tips—and cut the flowering stalk down to the rhizome to discourage rot.

We moved to this house not

By Farmer girl

We moved to this house not quite 2 years ago. Iris beds were already here, some under trees & some close to being under hedges. I don't know much about iris. I'm seeing lots of what must be leaf spot. Most every leaf in all the beds have it. I'm tediously cutting off the leaf spot & gathering it to burn, but I'm wondering if I should spray some kind of fungicide because it seems like there is so much. What kind of fungicide and when? And it looks like an insect has been gnawing on the leaves as well. Also, where I weeded last year looks worse now and weedier than the beds I didn't have time to weed. Did I do something wrong in the weeding?

If it is leaf spot that

By Almanac Staff

If it is leaf spot that bothers your plants you are doing the right thing by removing the affected leaves. Also be careful to wash your hands and clippers after you are done. Sometimes transplanting the rhizomes to a new area helps. Make sure to remove any weeds before transplanting. Go to www.irises.org and read about the different leaf spot diseases.

I have several iris that have

By Rochelle Angevine

I have several iris that have 'pods' on top of flower stem. What are these?

what kind of iris blooms with

By loretta oconnell

what kind of iris blooms with about 40 stems of small iris per plant, live for a day then 2-3 days later another bloom opens on each stem. This has gone on from march until late June on \
my shade iris.

they bloomed beautiful in the

By Beverly Brewer

they bloomed beautiful in the spring but the last couple of weeks they are full of pods,are these fall flowers or what?

These are seed pods. You have

By Almanac Staff

These are seed pods. You have a couple options. You can remove the seed pods; this will put more energy into the current plant and flowers. Or, you can collect and save the seeds if you want to grow new plants! If you remove the spent blooms, it helps stop the formation of seed pods.

Request for iris rescue

By anonymouse

Request for iris rescue advice. I just moved into a rental house in Portland, OR. and have found two iris beds. Some one-time grounds crew were hired to clean up the overgrown yards and they cut off all the leaves of the iris in both beds. One bed is under some climbing roses and the other is along a sidewalk shaded by filbert trees. Now they are all just sitting there sadly with no leaves. What can I do for them now?

Just leave the iris alone.

By Almanac Staff

Just leave the iris alone. The foliage would have continued to feed the rhizomes for next years growth, but all is not lost. You may have smaller plants and flowers next year but the iris will come back.

I'm replanting a large and

By Susan Hires

I'm replanting a large and very overgrown iris bed. The rhizomes are large and intertwined. Where do I cut to divide them? Doing this for a friend and taking the extras home for a garden of my own- I'd like them both to be beautiful and healthy next year!

According to our local

By Almanac Staff

According to our local cooperative extension, "You want to take the whole clump and replant only the strong, healthy rhizomes. You cut rhizomes into sections, containing one to three buds. Each division must have at least one growing point (or fan of leaves), a few inches of healthy rhizome, and a number of well- developed roots." We hope this reference helps!

Some of my irises had iris

By bonny haber

Some of my irises had iris borer. I soaked them in a 10% solution of bleach and let them dry. My question is, can I replant them in the same spot or do they have to be moved someplace else?

You need to destroy all

By Almanac Staff

You need to destroy all larvae and infected rhizomes and chestnut brown pupae in soil. If you've done this and cleaned up the beds after a hard frost, and gone through a winter, you should be fine to replant. With nematodes, we'd say you must replant elsewhere, but if you've taken all the right steps, you should have eliminated any overwintering eggs and be OK.

My bearded irises are about

By Pat Gordon

My bearded irises are about 30 years old. A few times I've dug them up and separated them. I did that about 3-4 years ago but very few bloom. Do the bulbs get too old to bloom any more?

If your iris rhizomes are

By Almanac Staff

If your iris rhizomes are still firm, they are not too old to bloom. A rhizome blooms once and then creates new "babies" every year. Usually, lack of bloom is related to how they are transplanted. Are they still too crowded? Make sure they are planted a handspan apart; you may need to thin. Make sure they are not planted too deeply. Divide them at the right time. Is your soil still fertile or is it tired? Amend the soil--with low nitrogen fertilizer. Are they still getting the same amount of sun? Sometimes, this changes over time. Here is more about transplanting iris flowers: 
http://www.irises.org/About_Irises/Cultural%20Information/Grow_Bearded.html

A co-worker gave me a bunch

By Pamela Hamilton

A co-worker gave me a bunch of rhizomes from her garden about a year and a half ago. Since then the stalks have grown wonderfully 2 times now, but no flowers at all. What do I need to do to get them to flower???

It is not uncommon for newly

By Blytha Ellis

It is not uncommon for newly planted iris to not bloom for 2-3 years. They eventually will if you are patient.

My iris bloomed beautifully

By Noelle Koenig

My iris bloomed beautifully this spring, but look terrible now. They have large "holes" in the center of the plants and all the leaves are falling over and dying. Do I leave them alone?

Are you saying the holes are

By Almanac Staff

Are you saying the holes are in the leaves or the rhizomes? It could be a number of pests. If there is rot at the base of leaves, that will also cause irises to fall over. Otherwise, it's very normal for iris beds to look untidy (and a bit ratty) after bloom. After bloom, you can cut the flower stalks back. Divide irises every 3 to 5 year -- about  4 to 6 weeks after the flowering period.

i have a lot of diffence

By Anna watkins

i have a lot of diffence color Iris is ther any way you can till what color they are other than wateing untill they bloom?

Irises do not change color on

By Almanac Staff

Irises do not change color on a permenant basis. What you planted based on the seed pack is what will grow. For next year, you could place a tag around each bloomstalk to identify its color and then you'll know!

I have a mixture of irises in

By Sue Ellen Williamsburg VA

I have a mixture of irises in a small bed under a holly bush. Some re-bloom but some do not & I can't tell which are which. I would like to divide and replant this summer but we are planning to move next Spring. Should I let them be now & dig up next spring? Some are unique hybrids from a talented horticulturist.

Ideally, we'd move irises in

By Almanac Staff

Ideally, we'd move irises in late summer or early fall. If you dig them up in the spring, however, it should be fine; they may lose their bloom the first season. Another (maybe better) option is to dig them up 6 to 8 weeks after bloom in the late summer/fall and put them in pots. Over winter them by covering with pine needles in the garage and replant when you get to your new place.

Hi this is the first time I

By SUE RICHMOND

Hi this is the first time I have ever grown Iris and they were tall beautiful flowers in many colours and I had planted them in a trough
planter. Hower most of the flowers are now finished but I still have a couple in flower. I do not know what I do with them now they have finished flowering, but would like to keep them to reflower next year, can you tell me what I do with them now please

If you did not plant the

By Almanac Staff

If you did not plant the irises in the ground during the growing season, then you probably need to look at this perennial as an annual. It will not overwinter.

Hello!! We are putting up a

By janet plummer

Hello!! We are putting up a privacy fence and I needed to move some of my iris. There is too many for me to plant. Can I put them in pots to sell later this summer or fall?

Janet, Late July through

By Almanac Staff

Janet, Late July through September is generally a good time to move/transplant rhizomatous iris (such as bearded iris). Wait 'til 6 to 8 weeks after bloom or you may not get blooms next season. We would normally advise getting them replanted this summer or early fall and plant in their new space as soon as possible. Plant just below the soil surface and water in. We've never kept them in pots to sell and can't advise on this question.

I moved from NJ to the East

By Yonina Bushell

I moved from NJ to the East Bay in California. Can irises grow in this dry and hot climate? Which do best?

There are varieties that grow

By Almanac Staff

There are varieties that grow well in hot climates. Try one of the many Louisiana irises or re-blooming types. In very hot and dry climates, irises should be watered often and cover the rhizomes with a little soil to protect them from the hot sun.

We've had weird weather this

By HJMcK

We've had weird weather this year in Connecticut. We've had a lot of rain. My Irises bloomed beautifully and right on schedule but now the leaves are browning and some are mushy near the ground and they're falling down. What's wrong?

I live in NC, and we have had

By Leslie Tevebaugh

I live in NC, and we have had a lots of rain this year. My iris all came up and bloomed splendidly, but now all the fan leaves are falling over, and on several iris they have rotted off. The rizomes are fine but leafless. Will this be a problem with their growth?

Remove and discard the brown

By Almanac Staff

Remove and discard the brown leaves and make sure there is air circulation over the rhizomes. Hopefully you'll have some sun soon that will dry the soil.

I have found that using old

By Kitty Araiyama

I have found that using old nylons to tie up my plants works better than twine. Cut them into circles (cut legs side to side, not lengthwise) then cut open the circle. This makes a sturdy, invisible, but very gentle tie. Durable too.

I purchased four irises from

By lilabean3

I purchased four irises from my local green house about 6 weeks ago. I planted them in a newly tilled flowerbed that is sunny most of the day and sloped slightly away from the iris. The rhizomes are exposed a little bit and are about 2 feet apart. When I purchased them, they had beautiful blooms on them and were very tall! I used stakes to help support them. The blooms lasted for about 2 weeks until we had a week of rain and high winds. The blooms disappeared and seedpods were present. Since then they have slowly turned brown from the seedpod down, as well as the leaves tips of the leaves down. I have not checked rhizomes for borers but will do so tonight. (I learned about those today from your site!) If there are no borers, do you have any suggestions as to what I should do so they will continue to grow in the future?

Your rhizomes should be fine

By Okterp

Your rhizomes should be fine if you have no borers. The stalk going brown after blooming is normal. The leaves turning brown at the tips could be from stress of replanting. It sounds like you have planted them perfectly. Enjoy.

I just dug up about 200 iris

By Nancy H.

I just dug up about 200 iris rhizomes from a lot that will be under construction soon. I would like to keep them out of the ground until the first week in August when the local garden fair takes place and the rhizomes can be sold. Any suggestions on how to store them in the meantime? Most are without dirt around them. Thank you.

We'd recommend that you ask a

By Almanac Staff

We'd recommend that you ask a local nursery for advice on care for such a large quantity, especially since they will be offered for sale later.

In general, you can trim off any foliage, remove any remaining soil, place the rhizomes on newspaper, and allow them to dry. Then, store them in boxes with peat moss or sand, in a dark location in temperatures around 40 degrees F. Keep them dry and cool (but not freezing). Try to prevent the rhizomes from touching each other.

Although some advise against it, you can also try storing them in an empty vegetable bin of the refrigerator in brown bags or onion mesh (some gardeners add peat moss). Do not use plastic bags, which may encourage moisture and rotting. Keep the roots away from fruits, such as apples, which emit ethylene gas that can encourage rot.

Dusting the rhizomes with sulfur after they have dried but before storing them, can help to prevent diseases. You can get sulfur at a garden nursery.

I am wondering about storing

By Roberta Rosheim

I am wondering about storing iris until spring. It is mid October and we are close to frost time in Iowa. Can I plant them now or can I store them until spring? I just received them after ordering them from a fundraiser for a school. There are 14 Tall Dutch Irises Mix.

I've read all the comments

By Marcy Clark

I've read all the comments and over and over it was said that Iris DON'T change color. Well at my house they do. They are hybrid and they were given to me with the bloom on it. Gorgeous, vibrant and spectacular colors. I have waited for four years with a lone colored one; dark blood purple or black with the rest pale yellow. This year, two steel gray, two peach/dark yellow, and one breath taking blue~ The friend who gave them to me said the soil conditions/fertilizer makes the difference. I've never gotten the blood purple again and I have NEVER gotten this blue before. I've now had them for 5 years.

I have the same thing

By Mary Beth Donnelly

I have the same thing happening in my garden! I bought a single rhizome years ago through a friend, and hoped I was getting what I requested: a deep purple. Over the years, from that single starting point, I've had deep purple (with all-over ruffled edges), two-tone purple (ruffled only on the falls), and a deep mahogany. The last color shows up only every 3 years or so, but the other two bloom together annually. Beautiful always.

Sometimes new irises of

By Almanac Staff

Sometimes new irises of different colors pop up in a garden because of pollination. If a bee pollinates a hybrid iris, any seed that germinates will result in a plant that most likely will not exhibit the same flower color as the parent. The offspring can also be quite variable. Could that be the case in your garden? No matter what the cause, it certainly makes for an interesting display. Thanks for sharing, Marcy!

My iris-loving Aunt gave me

By Mtn Lady

My iris-loving Aunt gave me as many rhizomes as I could lift, and we dug from her yellow, blue, & purple beds.

Every iris lugged home bloomed white, so I have to respectfully disagree that iris don't change color.

Even to me it's hard to believe, but it happened to me!

I agree Mtn. Lady! I've seen

By Bertia

I agree Mtn. Lady! I've seen my own purple iris start blooming white!

my irises kept falling over

By Tammy Shiflett

my irises kept falling over as well. What I did was take a wire hanger cut off thendooked end at the top and used a pair of needle nose pliers and fashioned a loop at the top and slipped the stem in just under the flower. then the long part I pushed into the ground and used it as a steak mine stayed up beautiful all season.

Great idea, Tammy! Thanks for

By Almanac Staff

Great idea, Tammy! Thanks for sharing.

I have two areas in my

By Kathy in Missouri

I have two areas in my backyard I have planted iris. Both get the same amount of sun, rain, etc. The biggest area was a real flop this year. All the plants came up, then I started watching the stalks with the buds coming on. I was really excited, because there was going to be about 100 iris blooming. Went out two days after I had checked them, and much to my surprise, ALL of them had bent in the middle, so they looked like a "goose neck". They still had their budson them, only about six of them bloomed. I was ill last year and was unable to dig them up and separate them and replant them. Last night, I cut all of the greenery down. Alot of them just came up from the ground. Took a good look at some of the rhizomes. Some were yellowish and kind of soft, besides having holes in them, which appeared to be dead. Others I broke at the at a "seam", it was white, hard like a carrot, and appeared to be healthy, also no holes. Now, I know I can dig them all up and separate the bad from the good. Sooooo....am I taking a chance in keeping the good ones, or should I just pitch them with the others. Now, the SOIL. What do I need to do to prepare it for the iris'? Do I need to till it up,and mix some new top soil with it? Or should I do what I mentioned, and let set till next spring? Sorry I have so many questions. Ihave chronic arthritis,and my iris are easier for me to take care of. I used to have alot more plants like tulips an daffodils, but I am unable to get on the ground and dig them up and replant them. Flowers make me feel good. Thank You, Kathy Wilkerson

Hi Kathy, Now is a good time

By Almanac Staff

Hi Kathy,

Now is a good time to transplant the healthy rhizomes that you dug up. Loosen the soil with a tiller or garden fork to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. It's very important that the soil drains well. Plant the rhizomes according to the planting instructions above. Good luck!

Late year I transplanted my

By JohnC

Late year I transplanted my purple and a few yellow iris in three different locations. Since the blossoms were long gone, I made no effort to seperate them by color and just tossed them in a pile. This year,every flower in two locations is purple while every iris in the third location is yellow. The probability of this happening by chance is enormous, so I suspect that soil condition or sunlight are the cause. Any info on this????

Irises do not change flower

By Almanac Staff

Irises do not change flower color. Sometimes one variety is stronger and will dominate another but this is not what happened in your case. Also, they can each drop seed in the new beds, but iris seed does not grow true to the parent plant so not sure this is an explanation either!

I am a new iris fan. I

By Steven MacFarland

I am a new iris fan. I noticed since my plants bloomed a large pod which looks like a seed appeared. Can these be dried out and planted in the ground to grow a new plant?

Many gardeners remove the

By Almanac Staff

Many gardeners remove the spent blooms to stop the formation of seed pods because it diverts energy from the growing flower. However, if you wish to grow new plants from seed, leave some in place until they turn yellow-green in July or August. Then, shell out the seeds before they dry, and plant at once into pots of well-prepared soil. Provide adequate protection over the winter, and plant the young seedlings into permanent locations in March.

I live in Pittsburgh, PA, and

By CMomich

I live in Pittsburgh, PA, and my iris had spikes with flower pods forming, and we had a couple nights of heavy frost. At the same time, I had my beds mulched, and noticed they put a thin layer of mulch on the Rhizones. About 1/3 of the flowers bloomed, and the remaining flower pods dried up. I'm trying to figure out if it's the frost or mulch that affected the blooming?

It was probably the frost

By Almanac Staff

It was probably the frost that killed the buds. Regarding the mulch many iris growing websites recommend to use it only to protect the rhizomes during the winter months and not to use it on top of the rhizomes in the summer.

How can I store my plants for

By John in Tennessee

How can I store my plants for future planting and how long can they be stored?

Put the tubers in a container

By Almanac Staff

Put the tubers in a container with sawdust or clean sand and store them in a cool, dark place. They also need good ventilation. Check the tubers often and throw away any that have soft spots or look moldy. If possible plant them in the fall.

MY IRIS HAVE CHANGE COLOR THE

By DENNIS PEARSE

MY IRIS HAVE CHANGE COLOR THE LIGHT BLUES HAVE TURNED YELLOW ?
WHAT CAUSED THIS ?

Irises usually don't change

By Almanac Staff

Irises usually don't change color. You may have had a yellow iris tuber among the blue irises and this year the yellow iris was a more vigorous grower and choked out the blue irises. Or the seeds from your irises may have ripened, dropped, and germinated. Iris seed does not grow true to the parent plant.

The Almanac Staff Said "Iris

By Derrick Davis

The Almanac Staff Said "Iris seed does not grow true to the parent plant." Why does the seeds color change from the parent plants color? Is it cross pollination? If so, would the colors of the Iris' I have closest to them "mix" together giving me seeds that would bloom with 2 or more colors?

Many of the new iris

By Okterp

Many of the new iris cultivars are hybrids. When a seed pod is produced it may herald back to one of the parents. Parents can be several, you cross two then from these two you cross another. There are hundreds/thousands of new cultivars introduced yearly.

I live in nj and I have a

By Pat ww

I live in nj and I have a group of iris that needs to be moved. They just finished blooming. Can I move them now or do I have to wait till ate summer? They are not getting enough sun anymore.....

I move mine any time I want

By Pat gal

I move mine any time I want to. Some bloom the first year after the move, some don't. It may depends on health or size of bulb. I am to a scientist.

Divide your iris about 6-8

By Almanac Staff

Divide your iris about 6-8 weeks after they bloom or at least 2-3 months months before freezing temperatures to give them time to root before winter.

My neighbor has givin me some

By kschaal

My neighbor has givin me some of her iris's and i planted them before the first frost last fall. I noticed out of the 12 that i planted only 2 have actually bloomed. My question is, did i do something wrong or are they just late starters? The reason i ask is bc they are all in the same area they get the same amount of water and sun-light.I live in northern ohio and we had a late frost but like stated before only 2 have bloomed. The rest are just greenage.

You didn't do anything

By Femlin

You didn't do anything wrong... Last year I planted about 50 and only three bloomed, but this year, 50 bloomed, and I already have plenty of new tubers developing. Those new plants won't bloom this year as their root systems are just getting established, but next year will be quite a beauty. :)

In SC we have had some

By MGP

In SC we have had some fluctuation of temperature this spring. I have noted few of my iris bloomed. Do I wait until Sept. to see if they need separating and do I remove leaves and replant at that time?

fallen purple iris

By Anonymous

Bought a new home which has purple iris around the back deck. The iris are blooming but then the heavy stalk and flower fall over and lay on the ground. Being a true novice gardener, is this normal? They look beautiful but then wind up lying in the mulch. Anything you can tell me?

I take thin fishingline,or

By Kim DedrickBell

I take thin fishingline,or twine(green)and tie mine up closer to the top.weight of flowers drags them down.l never hsd any problems.my yard has a variety and looks lovely.they are my conversation piece for sure andl cut and bring in my house in vase.like l went to aflorists.

purple iris

By Anonymous

Bought a new home, have purple iris off deck which are blooming (yeah) but as a complete and total novice when it comes to gardening...why is it that the tall stalks with blooming flowers fall over and lay on the ground? Is this normal? Hoping someone can answer and give us some info...thanks!

If the blooms are big and

By Almanac Staff

If the blooms are big and heavy it is natural for the stalks to bend over. Put stakes next to the irises and secure the stalk to the stake with some twine or yarn.

leaf spot

By Anonymous

Its May in the NC Piedmont and we have had an unusual amount of rain over two weeks. My Iris leaves have brown spots and all the blooms have gone in a matter of days. Should I trim all the leaves and stems back?

iris

By Anonymous

In Arkansas region 1 on map- My question is this- I have opportunity to get iris bulbs from friend now-when would be best day in May to transplant the bulbs? They have to be moved now for new construction.

Bulbs for replanting

By Anonymous

Are bulbs still viable if they have been stored inside for two years?

bulbs for replanting

By Anonymous

No. They would have dried out in two years.

Transplanting iris

By Anonymous

My purple iris are up about 8 inches tall. A friend would like some and I was wondering if I gave them to her now - would the iris still bloom this year.

Transplanting Iris

By Anonymous

Gently uncover rhizome until you see segments. With a hand shovel spilt the rhizome at the segment. Loosen dirt around the segment you want to give alway and lift. To not distrub the half that is still in ground and it will flower.

Something is eating my iris flower stems

By Anonymous

Ok...after accusing dog, kids, husband, crows, I now want to get to the bottom of what is snapping my iris stems off before the flowers bloom. Some of the stems look as if something has dug into the inside flesh from the cut end and scooped out the moist tissue....but left the outside of the stem intact! I am finding 3 to 5 a day on the ground and it is getting frustrating! I would like to see some flowers. Once we saw a green frog at the base of an iris. Is there a frog that will do this?

It's not the frog. The iris

By Almanac Staff

It's not the frog. The iris borer can cause a lot of damage. Check your damaged iris plant to see if you can find the iris borer larvae. It usually works it way down to the rhizome and eats the flesh inside it.

Rotting bulbs

By Anonymous

My Iris are rotting and the have excessive brown leaves. What can we do to prevent this? Should we take out all the Irisses and replant them?

You may have to get rid of

By Almanac Staff

You may have to get rid of the rhizomes that are rotten and move any good rhizomes to an area that has better drainage. See above for planting tips.

Latespring frost

By Anonymous

My iris have always been a great beauty in late spring.early summer. This year our April has had a lot of snow and cold, the leaves that were already up about 6 inches have mostly turned brown, what do I do?

Remove the brown leaves and

By Almanac Staff

Remove the brown leaves and check the rhizomes. If there is no rot or soft spots leave them in the ground and they may award you with a few blooms this year.

will the iris flower make a bulb to plant?

By Anonymous

I have noticed that the flowers have a buldge at the bottom as they wilt. Does this eventually turn into a bulb that be planted?

I was given a beautiful iris

By Kusum Patel

I was given a beautiful iris plant as a gift and i need to know how often i need to water it and also the best place to keep indoors too.

Thank you

replanting irises

By Anonymous

I had to take up about 100 irises because of a foundation problem last November. I called local florist who told me that I could dig them up and keep in basement until this Spring. I did, but they've been replanted for over two weeks and I don't see much, if any, growth. I feel like I've lost a lot of great plants

I found some iris bulbs in my

By David Troutman

I found some iris bulbs in my basement that had to have been there for 2 years or more. I planted them last spring to see of they would do anything. Some sprouted last year, but that was it. This spring, they all came up and all have flowers. They must be the toughest flower I've ever dealt with.

Drooping iris stalks

By Anonymous

My iris are well developed. I applied bone meal spring and fall. However this spring about 1/3 of the stalks are droopy. I have blooms on the droopy stalks but they do not appear to be very bulky.

If you have large blooms, you

By Almanac Staff

If you have large blooms, you may need to stake your iris. Consider peony hoops for clusters or individual bamboo stakes for single plants. Reasons for this: Too much shade (relocate) or too much nitrogen fertilization.

where is the iris native to?

By Anonymous

where is the iris native to? What areas of the United States?

The Iris is the Tennessee

By Anonymous

The Iris is the Tennessee state flower. It is native to the area. It is unstobable here.

The majority of them are

By Catherine Boeckmann

The majority of them are native to Europe and Asia. However, there are 28 iris species native to the United States.

rain tolerance

By Anonymous

I have recently moved to the rainforest of Canada. Yes, rainforest. It is a very temperate climate but we average just shy of 5 hours of bright sunshine per day in the summer according to environment Canada. Is it silly to even consider trying to grow irises here?

Rain tolerance

By Anonymous

It will be problematic. High raised beds could make it possible. Another problem, however is with only five hours of sunlight and the cloudy conditions associated with rain, they may not get enough sun to bloom reliably.

We do not know of an iris

By Almanac Staff

We do not know of an iris bred for Canadian rainforests. "I. tenax (Oregon iris)" is one variety that grows as north as western Washington. We suggest you contact your local cooperative extension for better on-the-ground advice. You may also find this article of interest: http://bc-iris.org/PacificCoastIrisArticle.htm

Canada iris

By Anonymous

I live in Canada, and im not sure about where you live, but in Nova Scotia we grow iris'. We also have more sunlight during the summer, in fact at the longest point in July, sunset is after 9 p.m. perhaps what environment Canada meant was 5 hours of brightest, hottest sun. Unless you live farther North. I know some areas get more rain, like B.C. than here in Nova Scotia as well.

Pruning while in bloom

By Anonymous

It's Spring here in So. Cal and I purchased and repotted 3 small blooming Iris plants. They've been doing well and blooming for a couple weeks. I picked off the spent blooms. Was that a mistake or will new ones keep coming? Thanks!

Yes, it is fine to deadhead

By Almanac Staff

Yes, it is fine to deadhead your iris, but leave the foliage alone. Removing spent blooms stops the formation of seed pods and also makes your pots more attractive!

Thanks for the quick response!

By Anonymous

Should I expose the rhizomes? I've got them covered.

Never Bloom

By Anonymous

Our irises have stop blooming. It's been about 4 years since we have seen any of their flowers. Any advise?

Thanks,
Pierre...

If your irises used to bloom,

By Almanac Staff

If your irises used to bloom, we will assume that they are in a sunny location and not planted in the soil too deeply (common issues). Then, our question is: Did you divide them? Irises need to be divided every 3 to 5 years as they multiply and get overcrowded; when the clumps are crowded, they stop blooming. Divide after the normal bloom period (between July and September).

iris-what causes irises to change color?

By Anonymous

I've planted a variety of iris along a bank and these have retained their colors. However, all the other colored iris have bloomed white. What causes this to happen?

Iris flowers can not change

By Almanac Staff

Iris flowers can not change color. You may have some white irises in the mix; they bloom earlier and are often more vigorous and take over other colors, giving the impression that a whole garden bed of iris have changed color. You should start to see the purple iris soon. If you do not like the white, you could tag them and remove for next year.

my purple iris are turning white too!!!

By Anonymous

We have never had solid white iris in the bed of all purple&white iris. Now we are having some white iris blooming. What is going on? I once had an all over dark purple iris bloom about two years ago and it never came back. So strange.

Clear away all old foliage ?

By Anonymous

I have a large group of iris plants that were left with all the old foliage from last season. Can I clear all that growth away or do I cut it short to the ground? I am afraid to pull it off as I didn't know if the bulbs will come up with the old dried leaves.

Normally, you would prune

By Almanac Staff

Normally, you would prune back the foliage in the fall to avoid overwintering pests. Go ahead and prune. And be to break/remove any old stalks. Iris are perennials (return each year). Every 3 or 4 years, irises become crowded and bloom declines so you need to divide the clumps in the fall. Make sure the beds are free of weeds and fallen leaves to provide good air circulation, exposure to sunlight, and pest control.

Strange growth on iris stalk

By Anonymous

After my 3 Iris(purple) blooms fell off the stalks I was left with an unusual thick looking green mass which is curled up like a fist. Any ideas?

Green mass on iris

By Almanac Staff

It's hard to know without seeing a picture, but if these are at the top of the stalk where the flowers were, could they be the seedpods? After the petals fall, you will more easily see the green seedpods, which sort of look like large, thick beans. These will eventually brown as the seeds mature.

Another option might possibly be some type of gall, which can be caused by an insect or disease, but we could not verify that this is common on iris.

Iris bulbs

By Anonymous

I planted three iris' but they have never bloomed. the have tall green shoots but no flowering. Are they planted too deep or what?

no flowers

By Almanac Staff

Irises like sun; make sure that they are getting enough--at least 6 hours.

Also, if the plants are otherwise looking healthy (which likely rules out pests and diseases), perhaps as you suggest, they are planted too deep. Make sure the tops of the rhizomes are level with the soil surface, or just below it. (Japanese irises like it a little deeper--about 2 inches.)

If this is the first year of planting, they may just need a year or two to become established before flowering.

Irises

By Anonymous

I planted irises last summer they grew got established then vanished because of the heat in sw kansas. Can I expect them to grow this year?

The rhizomes (roots) probably

By Almanac Staff

The rhizomes (roots) probably survived the stress of the heat. Just wait and see if you'll get some new growth this spring.

Iris-does the bulb need to freeze in the winter?

By Anonymous

My Iris did not bloom this year--Is it because we do not have a freeze in Calif? Should I put the Rhizome in the freezer?

Don't put the rhizomes in the

By Almanac Staff

Don't put the rhizomes in the freezer. Irises sometimes don't bloom the first year they are planted. If this is the case just wait and they should be fine next year. Also make sure that the rhizomes are not planted too deep. If you have had the irises a few years they may need to be divided and replanted. Irises don't like to be crowded. Make sure your irises get plenty of sun.

my irises bloomed all winter

By Anonymous

We are in north central Alabama and had irises that bloomed most all of January. We have had a varity of weather conditions such as freezing temperatures some snow/freezing rain and then warmer days upper 60's and some low 70's. But never really had irises to bloom this early.

Post new comment

Before posting, please review all comments. Due to the volume of questions, Almanac editors can respond only occasionally, as time allows. We also welcome tips from our wonderful Almanac community!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.