How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Irises

Bearded Iris
BA Elliott


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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.


  • 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. Learn more about preparing soil for planting.
  • 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.


  • 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. See your local frost dates.
  • After 2 to 5 years, when clumps become congested or lose vitality and stop blooming, 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.”


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

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.

Reader Comments

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Iris blooming right out of the leaves at ground level

I have an unknown variety of iris that is huge and is blooming straight out of the leaves at ground level. Did I plant it wrong?

Bearded Iris depth

It sounds as if this is a Bearded Iris that was planted too deeply. The rhizome should be planted at or just barely below the surface of the ground. The tops of the rhizomes need to be visible.

Iris Roots

I will be planting Iris' for the first time, but the area I would like to put them in is close to my septic tank and tile bed. I know they grow from a rhizome but I am wondering how aggressive and deep the roots that come off of the rhizome are?

Iris Roots

Hi Lisa,

The roots do not grow that deep or widespread, but irises are prolific reproducers. They will grow new rhizomes connected to the first, requiring they be dug up, separated, and replanted every 3 to 5 years. They may become a problem in the future if you plant them too close to the tile bed. 

Iris Roots

Thank you that was really helpful!

"Iris" Leaves

I received 50 iris rhizomes last fall and planted them. They now are approximately 3 feet tall and are flat for a leaf fans. They received direct sunlight throughout the day and are in a fairly dry area. I'm not even sure they are irises, I can see nowhere a flower might emerge.


Sorry, posted too soon. My question is, I was told they were irises, and I have no reason to question that. I'm just curious where the flower might come from. We are in Massachusetts, this is the first year of growth of these newly replanted plants. Should I expect to see some flower blossoms?

Iris lost their color after replanting

I replanted all our iris, which were scattered, in one place where tey got more sun. They were variously colored, but now when they bloomed were all white. Can you tell me why? And can this be fixed?

Iris Color Change

Hi Suzanne,

It’s not possible to know exactly what happened, but there are a few possibilities. Irises do not bloom every year. If you took irises from one area that only ever bloomed purple and replanted them elsewhere, you could have unknowingly planted another kind of iris that didn’t bloom or hadn’t bloomed in a long time. All of the colored irises may simply not be blooming this year, while the new kind are blooming. The other kind of irises should bloom in future years. To reduce the chances of more white ones spreading, deadhead the flowers and throw them away.   

planting irises in June?

My neighbor uprooted his irises and gave me a large bag of them. I don't want to wait until fall in case the bulbs die. Can I plant them in June?

Plant in June?

Planting in June should not be a problem, June. Realize that you are not likely to get any blooms this year, but your plants should set up nicely to flower next spring. Good luck!


My grandmother had a purple iris that smelled like grapes, can you tell me which one it was so I can plant them?

iris smells like grapes

Hi, Candy. It sounds like your grandmother was probably growing Iris pallida ‘Variegata’.

Iris rot

I purchased an iris and the large rhizome is rotting but has smaller plants attached. Can I cut them off and plant them ? Also is there something I can treat them with?

main rhizome is rotted

It’s not unusual for the central, or main, rhizome to lose its vigor after having developed “baby” rhizomes beside/attached to it. So, yes, you can discard it. If you are dividing the remaining cluster, see below (the next Q/A) for specific guidance.

Falling Irises

Our irises grow long stalks and have blooms. Just as soon as they bloom, then they all fall down. Why? They do this year after year.

falling iris

There may be a few reasons for this:

• the clump needs to be divided; this is best done in/around late July: Cut foliage back two-thirds, leaving a short fan of leaves. Lift the rhizomes and remove/cut off any rot. Using a sharp, clean knife, cut the rhizome, making sure it has some leaf fan and roots attached. Replant, covering with ½ inch of soil. If the central portion of the rhizome has no root or foliage, discard it.

• shade on one side causes them to reach for sun and so lean, eventually falling.

• fertilizer high in nitrogen has been provided; this cases foliage growth at the cost of flowers.


Can one brew the leaves for tea? I have purple irises and they smell like root beer!


Hi Alicia,

The leaves of irises are toxic to humans and so should not be made into tea. It may seem enticing when a leaf or flower smells like something else that is edible, but never eat anything that you cannot completely guarantee is not poisonous. 

Type of flower

I am not sure what type of flower this is, it looks like an iris , but not like others. I dont know how to upload a picture, but it is my profile on facebook.

Weeds in iris bed ...

Is a seed pre-emergent indicated for an iris bed? I keep weeding out the iris bed, but inevitably seeds of weeds end up in the ground, and weeds grow all over again. I was thinking of putting some kind of seed pre-emergent like Preen on the ground in between the irises ... Any advise or experience? Thank you.

beat weeds around iris

Mulch is the most common recommendation for controlling weeds in iris beds. No more than 2 inches to avoid disease problems. But there are herbicides, if you want to use them. We would noto would normally send you to the coop extension service page (and we will) but we found that the University of Georgia service has the information clearly arranged; see here:

To contact the cooperative extension service nearest you for more or, possibly, other information, click here and choose your state:

weed control in iris beds

Thank you for your help! Will do!

Planting Iris Bulbs

I'm confused. I have a box of 10 Tall Iris Hollandica Mixture bulbs (extra large size), and the box states that I should be planting between April-June for the Toronto, Ontario area after the danger of frost has passed. In reviewing the information on your website, you recommend that bulbs be planted in the fall, so I need clarification on when I should be planting these bulbs, spring or fall?

when to plant?

Our guidance above suggests planting in mid to late summer. (Not sure where you’re seeing “fall” on this page.)  We do not know where you purchased yours/what brand they are but we checked a few experts and they suggests that [Dutch] Iris Hollandica be planted in fall—like daffodils and tulips. (Like those bulbs, these iris are expected to bloom in early spring.) We can see how a conflict could develop. As a final answer, we recommend following the guidance on the iris container. Presumably, that is the truest advice. If you have any further questions, perhaps there is a source and contact mentioned on the packaging?


Dig up Iris bulbs planted at wrong time?

I happened upon a box of iris bulbs (they aren't rhizomes, but bulbs like tulips) on sale at a big box store. Without thinking, I planted them in large containers a few days ago. They were starting to sprout when I planted them. Then I found out I should have waited until Fall to plant them. Should I dig them up now? Or leave them where they are. They've received a fair amount of water, since we've had some rain since i planted them. Thanks.

Too Hot in Tampa?

I just found and bought today a set of Miss Saigon bulbs. When I got home I began to wonder if it's already too warm for them to grow and bloom. Days here in the Tampa Bay area are already in the 80s. Should I just hold onto them for later in the year? I'm able to find much information about bulb planting this far south. Our days never really get "cold"...

When to Plant Dutch Irises

As Dutch Irises (like ‘Miss Saigon’) tend to bloom from late March to early June, it would probably be best to hold onto your bulbs and plant them in late fall, when it’s (hopefully) a little cooler. 


My iris dividing turned out almost all white blooms when the rhizomes originated from plants of several other colors..... need to know is there a tip or trick to fix this problem?

Color changed

I planted a variety of colors, purple, yellow and white. They are ALL white when they bloomed. I dug them myself from my parents supply. Why would they change color? I really wanted Purple and some yellow.

Few blooms

We have beautiful plants but very few blooms. Any suggestions?

Irises Not Blooming

There are several common problems that could be preventing your irises from blooming:

  1. Overcrowding: Irises that are clumped too tightly together may stop blooming and will benefit greatly from being divided. Simply dig your irises up—being careful to leave most roots intact—and separate the plants’ rhizomes from one another with a sharp blade. Each division should consist of a sizable rhizome, several roots, and at least one fan of foliage. The best time to divide and replant irises is mid-summer, as this gives the irises a good chance to reestablish themselves and (hopefully) bloom in subsequent springs. Freshly replanted irises should be given ample water for several weeks after they are planted. 
  2. Lack of sunlight: Irises bloom best when they receive at least half a day (6 hours) of full sun. If your irises are receiving too little light, they may not flower.
  3. Over-fertilization: Too much nitrogen can encourage irises to grow foliage instead of flowers. Lawn fertilizers contain large amounts of nitrogen, so avoid exposing irises to these.
  4. Too much or too little water: Irises prefer well-draining soil, so make sure your irises are not getting swamped with water, which can lead to root or rhizome rot. Irises do not need to be planted very deep in the ground and should be allowed to dry out a little before their next watering. Depending on your local climate, irises can be watered once or twice a month in the summer.

Dealing with one or more of the above issues should get your irises back to blooming. Good luck!

replanting irises

This week I dug up a plethora of iris from a flower bed at my church that will be bulldozed in mid-May due to construction. These iris should bloom in late May and have nice long leaves and the beginnings of emerging buds on a few. If I transplant them now in my garden, in mid-April, will they bloom? Or should I store them and wait to plant in the fall? I live in the Eastern shore of Maryland.

I have the same issue on the

I have the same issue on the western shore. All the sites say don't dig them up in spring. But we don't really have a choice on timing, do we? I'm found a forum at that answers this very question but this site won't let me embed it. The general wisdom seems to be trim them and throw them in the ground ASAP. They'll do better there than stored until late summer and are difficult to kill off. They won't bloom this year but should be fine next year.

transplanting iris rizomes

I will dig up my iris when they stop blooming...when should I transplant them...I live in upstate new york

Dividing iris

I have a Wisconsin garden of irises that need to be divided. If I divide them now will they still bloom this year?

when to divide irises

In most places, gardeners are advised to lift and divide irises in late summer, often August through October.
If you want to do it now, this may be the best method: Dig deep and wide enough to lift the irises without disturbing them, without getting too close to the corm (bulb), and transfer them in a pot or box or the like. Allow them to grow, undisturbed, in that container (realize that this season’s flower performance may not be their best), and plant them permanently in late summer at which time you could divide them.

Iris bulbs

I sent for some irises, but instead of the rhizomes I'm used to seeing, I got a bag of small bulbs.
The package says mixed iris bulbs and that they will grow to 24", is this right ?? I've never seen bulbs.

Iris varieties

Yes, the popular Bearded Irises and many iris varieties grow from a root called a rhizome. However, there are some irises that grow from a bulb, most commonly the Dutch iris. You’ll often see this variety iris in the flower bouquets in spring arrangements so they make great cut flowers. You plant the bulbs like you do tulips and daffodils–in the fall.

when can I plant

I harvested iris rhizomes in coastal NC last July and never got around to planting in Colorado. The rhizomes have been in my refrigerator all winter. Can I plant them now (April)? Do you think they will flower next year?

iris planting

Iris rhizomes are usually planted in mid- to late summer, or even early fall, allowing enough time for the plants to establish before fall frost. However, you can plant them in spring if need arises. Some sources say, though, that this results in the plant establishing more slowly, and that bloom time may be put off for one or two more growing seasons. Because your rhizomes have been stored so long, though, it might be better to put them into the ground soon rather than storing them for several more months. You might want to plant after the last expected spring frost in you area, though (to find your local frost dates, see: Hope this helps!

Re Planting

I was recently given a large cardboard box of Iris . We are moving in the next month or so and I do not want to plant them until we get to our new home, I live in Colorado, is it ok to keep them in a bag or box until around September?

storing iris rhizomes

Look over the rhizomes and discard any that show signs of rot (softness) or disease. Fill the box with fine wood chips or slightly damp (not wet!) peat moss, and place the rhizomes into this, deep enough that they are almost covered. Store the box in a cool (50°F-ish), dark place and do not seal the box. Check on them once or twice in the summer, looking again for rot or disease, and restore moisture to the fill by misting, if necessary.

Indonesia borneo is the right place for bearded iris

Few months ago i bought bearded iris imported from aboard. The question is my zone can be good habitat for germanica bearded iris or dutch iris? Here in Indonesia also has local iris that can thrive in hot day full sun but the flowers is small maybe around 3cm the color is yellow. I'm curious is the germanica and dutch can stand same place with the local iris. Mine seem don't want get tall enough and easily rot. Why is that? Recently my place seems to get rain everyday but not full day, i also put on shade area not directly on ground with full hot sun. Ps:i live near sea here. And gladiol can grow well here


I have moved into a house with a flower that has iris sprouting and they are now 6 to 8 inches tall, no blooms yet. I want to move them in the bed but don't want to kill them. Can i do it now in March or do i need to wait? I live in the coastal area of South Carolina.

moving irises

In most places, gardeners are advised to lift irises in late summer, often August through October. But if you must do it now, this may be the best method: Dig deep and wide enough to lift the irises without disturbing them, without getting too close to the corm (bulb), and transfer them in a pot or box or the like. Allow them to grow, undisturbed, in that container (realize that this season’s flower performance may not be their best), and plant them permanently in late summer, per above, at which time you could divide them, too.

i was given irises today and i have a question

i live in Virginia and i was given irises. it says to plant in late summer is it still to early to plant them being its only march 6 ?

Planting Iris

For iris, you want to plant in late July through September, not in spring. Make sure the new rhizomes feel firm, not rotted. 

Short and then dying

I moved 3 years ago and brought some of my irises with me. The first year they came up beautifully and had great tall stalks with many flowers, even flowers on some that had never flowered before. The second year I had some that were beautiful and then some that stayed "stumpy", short to the ground, no tall stalk, but put out a flower right at the base. So far this year I have only 3 that have come up and they are also tiny, one so far sent out a flower, but again, it is right at ground level. The plants seem to die right after doing this also. I could send pictures if needed. Also, I live in southern TX.

stumpy iris

It may be that these plants are just not going to survive south Texas conditions. Many iris need a cold spell (winter) in order to return year after year. They will appear to thrive for a couple of seasons, as you describe and then dwindle in the way that you describe. In fact, one source suggests that bearded iris grow best north and west of US 59, from Houston to Laredo. As it happens, Texas A&M has a wonderful coop extension; you might contact them (find your county’s office here: ) and ask about other plants—possibly any irises—that would thrive in your area.

Irises in Texas

I have a friend in Texas that has an old refrigerator that she winters her Irises in... She has told me it's the only way she can keep them growing.


When can I split irises. I live in Enterprise Alabama. Thank you.

when to divide irises

Irises 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.

Planting tulips and daffodila

I have tulip and daffodil bulbs left from last fall. Would it be OK to plant them now(January) as we are having very moderate temps 45 at night to 62 in day?

ok to plant?

It’s difficult for us to know the condition of the bulbs, in terms of how they were stored, etc., but if they are not dried out, now is as good a time as any to plant them. In fact, better now than never. Hope for the best and accept what happens.

blue iris

I live in the Bahamas. I have blue and yellow iris in my garden for almost a year only one bloom so far when can I expect them to bloom and what zoom am I in. The Bahamas is just off the coast of south Florida. Thanks

when can I plant iris bulbs in AL

I was just given iris bulbs and live in Birmingham, AL. No freeze yet. Can I plant the bulbs? or should I wait until spring?

Iris in Alabama

Plan to plant them in the spring. Planting them now will not allow enough time for them to get established before the potential for a freeze. Store them in a cool, dry place such as a garage.


Will these Iris survive???

I was given some Bearded Iris from my grandmother's flower bed in MO. I live in Southern Alabama and we have been in a drought since early September. The ground is too hard to plant so I have left the rhizomes in a cardboard flat in my carport. What do I need to do? I would hate for them to die as my grandmother passed away in April.

iris in Alabama

Hi, Tera, Irises need a cold period in order to bloom. You can put them in the refrigerator, but care needs to be taken if there is also food—esp fruit—in the fridge. (We have to warn that we can not guarantee success with refrigeration; sometimes it’s just not enough; remember, it’s not “natural”—but it’s worth trying.) Moisten the bulbs and put them in zip-lock plastic bags. At least one a month, open the plastic bags for an hour or two to give the rhizomes fresh air. Moisten them again, if necessary, reseal the bags and return them to the fridge. The Alabama Cooperative Extension suggests that they need 15 weeks of cooling like this, so be prepared to give them TLC.

As for your hard ground … you can amend it with peat moss, compost, and a bit of sand, for starters. See above for the advice on soil acidity (determined by a soil test). Soil is, in most cases, determines the success of failure of any plant. “Hard ground” sounds like it does not drain well; amendments such as those suggested should help. If water does not drain away, the rhizome could rot.

We hope this helps.

I live in South Georgia, zone

I live in South Georgia, zone 8, and have irises which need to be separated and replanted; but just as I was ready to do so (in early November), I saw that two bloom stalks were emerging! These irises also bloom in late spring, so I don't know the best time to transplant them. Thank you for any assistance you can offer.

Hi, Janet, The irises are

Hi, Janet, The irises are probably responding to fine fall weather, thinking it’s time to “go.” (A friend saw a similar peek-a-boo iris this past weekend, and this area has already had a couple of hard frosts.) Here’s a thought: since the ideal time to lif and divide irises is right after they bloom, why not wait until spring. There is a school of thought that says if you lift them now, wrap in newspaper or peat moss or saw dust in a cool, dry place. If they appear to begin to shrivel, sprinkle water on them.

We like the first option: lift and divide them next spring. In the meantime, toss a couple inches on mulch on them. The new growth will not be harmed, and the mulch will serve as a blanket.

We hope this helps.

I just dug up some "free"

I just dug up some "free" Iris in November in IL. How can I take care of the "bulbs" until I plant in summer?

I have the same question. I

I have the same question. I got some free bearded iris rhizomes from a neighbor, but from what I have read, they should have been planted in late summer and November is too late. Should I keep them in a paper bag in the garage and try planting in the Spring? I live in Charlotte, NC. Thanks for any suggestions. ( :

For a warm climate like North

For a warm climate like North Carolina, early November isn’t too late to plant them–just do it soon.

In a cold-climate region like

In a cold-climate region like Illinois, you are right to hold onto your iris rhizomes for the winter. Plan to plant them in the early spring rather than summer (to give them time to root, grow, and bloom). In the meantime, keep them spread out on a tray or a flat surface and place them in a cool, dry place such as the garage.

I mistakenly cut my Iris last

I mistakenly cut my Iris last fall, and fertilized them this past spring. The leaves grew quickly, but did not stand well. They have fallen over and now the plants are in complete disarray. What should I do with them now?


Could you please tell me what

Could you please tell me what variety is the old-time iris pictured at the top of this page? I have some just like it-- inherited from my husband's grandmother decades ago-- but I don't know what variety they are! They bloom profusely only once a year here in southern California, they never seem to get bugs on them, and they are quite tall (about 34").

That is a bearded iris. They

That is a bearded iris. They come is a wide variety of colors but purple is the most common. They can grow anywhere from 8 inches to 4 feet, depending on the variety. It is hard to say if there is an easier plant to grow!

aphids on iris

Has anyone ever planted garlic amongst the iris to drive away aphids, you know as in "roses love garlic"? One bed of iris was attacked, the other wasn't, but I don't want the aphids to spread, and I don't want to use a pesticide.

When a large batch of my

When a large batch of my irises got attacked by aphids in spring, I used the garden hose with a strong focused spray of water over the aphids. I did it a couple of times, about one week apart, and the huge majority of the aphids were gone. I guess the little that was left died out, I did not have any further problems.


Just cut them back so 2 to 3 inches of foliage remains, then add a thick layer of mulch to the pots. Don’t worry, both bearded and Siberian iris are tough as nails!

Reno Nevada Winter

I received some plants from a friend who lives in Oakland CA. I have had them here since July, they are doing well considering they came from a moist climate to a dry climate. My concern is the winter. They are in planters now, with good draining. Do I need to do anything to these plants before it snows. Will they survive being outside?


Why is my iris blooming now instead of this summer? I live in Frederick, Maryland

How rare is it to see an iris

How rare is it to see an iris blooming in late October in southern Va.

Can I plant Iris bulbs in October?

I was just given a bucket of Iris bulbs from a family member's garden, and was wondering if it's too late to plant them? (Southern Ontario hasn't gotten too cold yet.) If not, can I store them in brown paper bags through winter and plant them in the spring?
I'm not sure what type of irises they are, only that some of the flowers are purple, and some yellow.


Hi, Dahlia: If you can get them into the ground, it’s best to do so now. Protect them with some loose mulch and check during the winter to make sure they have not been pushed up out of the ground by freeze/thaw action (put back if possible, or bring inside). If you need to overwinter them, they need to be in a growing medium such as potting soil, not just paper bags, that is occasionally moistened until spring. Thanks for asking!

Iris in pot

I would like to plant the Iris in clay pots is that wise

Some folks have grown iris in

Some folks have grown iris in a pot. You just need a pot with good drainage (and no saucer) That said, iris plants really prefer to be in the ground as they have large root systems and they use up the nutrients in soil quickly. Also, there’s always the question of what to do with the iris in the winter.


I have rhizomes from my dad in Illinois and they have acclimated to Southern California over the years. We are moving and plan on taking the family rhizomes with us. Any suggestions?

You can move and ship irises

You can move and ship irises in the fall.  Usually, it’s September/October but in southern parts of California, you could probably even move in November.

Iris bulb

I have been given some iris bulbs. They have been in a paper sack in the basement for about 3 weeks. I'm waiting to plant them until our weather temps cool down a bit. How long can I wait before planting them?

Planting Iris Bulbs

The best months to plant iris bulbs are July, August, and September, so we would advise planting sometime before October hits and definitely before the first frost. Find out the first frost dates for your area.

How to identify if an iris should be planted in wet or dry area

I bought two pots of iris at an end of season sale and was told the labels may not be correct. The label names are Red Flag, and Veriscolor Blue and state they should be planted in a moist area and can take up to six inches of water. My intent was to plant them on the edge of a pond. I was unable to plant them immediately so I placed the pots in a shallow area of about three inches of water. The pots fell over and floated around for a day. It's now two weeks later and the leaves have brown streaks. The pots have been moved to a drier location and I'm trying to figure out where to plant them. Is there a way to identify if these are indeed a water happy variety, or should I plant them in a drier location? I have some yellow iris at the ponds edge and other varieties in sunny beds. Those are doing great, but we're planted according to the directions on their labels. Your advice on the placement of these plant will be appreciated.

Planting Conditions for Iris

Hi Kim,

The good news is: Iris are tremendously tough! They might not have appreciated floating around in water for a day, but I think they would be fine planted near the pond’s edge. Most iris adapt to various conditions.

Planting conditions for iris

Thank you for the reply. They definitely did not appreciate their floating trip but are hanging in on shore. I'll plant them near the pond as planned.

Spots on iris leaves

Don't know what is causing brown spots on the leaves of my iris.

Iris disease

Iris leaf spot is very common; it’s a fungal infection caused by high humidity and lots of moisture. You need to cut off the infected portions of the leaves to prevent further infections, and apply a fungicide (ask your local garden center).

The fungus may over winter so you will need to destroy spotted or dead in the fall, so it doesn’t happen in the spring. Also, plant iris in full sun (not shade) and space at least 8 inches apart for good air circulation. 

Inherited Iris bed

We bought home 9/15. The previous owner cut everything down to the ground right before we closed on our home. They came back but we only had a few blooms in the spring. I want to expand our driveway so I will need to move a large area of the flower bed. Can these plants be dug up and dried to be saved and replanted later when we decide where we want to use them? They definitely need to be thinned out so I would like to begin working on clearing the area even though it may be several months before we actually expand our driveway. I would hate to totally waste all the time and expense the previous owners obviously have invested.


Irises are tough. You can dig them up after flowering and store them in 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). We have heard of people keeping them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator, too. It’s best if the irises can be replanted within 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.

What to do with extra rhizomes? (Utah)

It breaks my heart to even have to ask this question ... but what do you do with about 250 - 300 extra rhizomes once you thin out your iris beds? Over the past years, as I have thinned out my iris beds, I have already given my organic extra iris rhizomes (purple outside, yellow/orange inside, 3' tall, fragrant flowers) to neighbors, friends, associates at work, volunteer landscaping places, you-name-it, I have also used ads "free to a new good home" to place some rhizomes successfully. Yet, I *still* have too many extra rhizomes. Do I just put these lovely, perfectly functional thinned-out rhizomes in the compost pile? I do not have any more space for them. They need to go, but it breaks my heart just to think about throwing them away. Any ideas? Really, I have offered my extra rhizomes to just about everybody in my county .... everyone already took some, and I have no more takers...

extra iris

What a wonderful dilemma you have! I will gladly take your iris extras and pay for shipping. You could also sell them on eBay.

Thank you for your consideration!

Theresa Bates

Extra Iris

I too, if you have any would love to have some of your irises. I will gladly pay for shipping. I am trying to finish my backyard and love flowers. They would have a loving owner.Thanks

I, too would be very happy to

I, too would be very happy to have some of your irises. Would also be happy to pay for shipping! Please email me!

Too many Iris

I would LOVE to have your over flow of Iris. My grandma had them and would love to have them.

Iris giveaway

Hi Sylvia, We would happily post this on our Almanac Facebook site if you wish. We have over a million fans so it would have to be offered as “first come, first serve.” Just let us know.  Email us at:


I too would gladly pay to have some shipped to me in Northern CA?

Your flowers

I read your article and my jaw dropped. I recently moved to Massachusetts with my family and we are redoing the family house and the whole landscape. I would be so great flu to have some of your plants. I have a lot of a eras and would be a great addition to the yard. Not to mention my mother in law loves them. They are actually her favorite.

I will be awaiting your response patiently.
Thank you.

extra iris

I also would love to have your extras and am willing to pay shipping.

I am so sorry to have

I am so sorry to have disappointed so many nice folks here, I wish I had checked this board for a reply for a bit longer .... I was mistaken in thinking I could not make a connection here ... Apologies. Just FYI as a followup, I ended up donating approx. 450 iris rhizomes (they were more than I thought!) to the local Habitat for Humanity, for their landscaping needs of newly-built homes for low-income folks. For the next time I thin out my iris beds, and I need to donate them, I know now how to proceed to get them to the kind people on this board. Again, I am so sorry I messed up, and I let down those of you who volunteered to adopt my rhizomes. I will post again when I have some more, and yes postage reimbursed will be just fine. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and sorry again!

Irises Do Not Bloom

I planted several colors of bearded irises spaced out along my driveway at least 15 years ago. The plants are lined near a retaining wall my ex-husband had built, yet they receive good afternoon and evening sun. They bloomed beautifully the first year and sparsely the next. Since then, the plants have never bloomed again. The leaves will grow, on average about 4 blades per plant. I have never dug them up or wintered them indoors. The plants have not multiplied, and are certainly not overcrowded, which is why I have never bothered to dig and divide. I live near Augusta, GA. Is there anything I can do to get them to bloom again? Thanks!

Old Irises

Hi Kathy,

The truth is, even plants get tired. It is strange they have never bloomed much, but at 15 years old, they likely never will. Short of digging them out and replacing them with new, ready-to-grow plants, try a slow-release fertilizer.

Thank you so much! They are

Thank you so much! They are overwhelming right now, and I have never known whether or not to cut back or not. Very helpful!!


I have a crazy ?.. What are the big green bulbs that form after the iris dies...


Those are the seed pods. Many people leave them on for ornamental value.

Transplanting a Bearded Iris

I have a gorgeous bearded iris (shades of orange and gold) that I just kind of moved to a place last year so I could see it better from my kitchen window. I have several iris beds and want to move it to one of them as it looks silly this year where it is. It didn't bloom this year but the leaves are about 18-20" tall. I live in southern Oregon in a location where the weather is insane (in the space of a few weeks it can go from freezing to the 90's). Is it OK to move it now or should I wait until fall?? Thanks!!

Relocating Iris

Dividing and/or moving iris is best done in the fall, but can be done just about anytime (an exceptionally hot day is not a good idea). Water it well during the cool of an evening, then dig it and move it during the cool of the next morning. Keep an eye on it in terms of water. Iris rhizomes are tough, it is highly likely it will be just fine.

Rhizome rot

I think I remember hearing Martha Stewart say when dividing rhizomes you need to make sure to cut the rot away. Is this correct? And how small can the rhizome be to replant and survive?
Thank you for your advice

Rhizome Rot

Yes, that is right, cut off the rot. Rhizomes can be planted at just about any size. Starting with one that is 2 to 3 inches big is fine. Those that are 5 to 6 inches long are ideal.

My bearded iris's fall over

My bearded iris's fall over after a few days. How can I get them to stand tall and not fall? And why do mine do this and not other people's? Happens after a rainstorm, or some wind, but nothing very violent. Hope you can help

falling iris

There are a number of possibles resons this is happening:

• If the rhizomes are just at the soil surface and the soil is wet, the plants might be leaning toward the sun.

• If the soil is heavy, the plants’ roots may not be anchored as well as they could be.

• Excess nitrogen promotes fast but weak growth; check your soil.

• Clumps of rhizomes at the peak of their performance can produce more and bigger blooms, which can out pace stalk strength.

• Remember too that rain on or in the flower and add weight. (Just try picking up / raising the flower that has fallen.)

To avoid the you could stake the stalks. Avoid piercing the rhizome as far as possible.

We hope this helps.

A Shared Bed of Mint

I live CA Central Coast area, my Irises are in a good sunny location with sandy soil, it's early June and my Iris appear healthy but I have wild Mint growing in my flower beds to keep the Cats away, will the Mint cause crouding for the Iris bulbs and cause them to rot, as stated below? Should I transplant the Iris to their own bed without the mint?

Why aren't they flowering?

I have a 20' bed of various irises. For several years they have been the show bed of the neighborhood, but last year and again this year, half the the bed is in full fans, but has no blooms. Everything seems to be equal. what's happening?

Irises won't bloom

Jim, you may have a couple of issues here:

• Irises need full sun. Has a tree or other plant or thing cast a shadow on them?

• You mention a bed in full fans: perhaps it’s too full? Crowded irises will not bloom. You may need to lift and divide them.

• This is probably not the case but if the rhizone is planted too deeply, it will not bloom.

We hope this helps!


I was hoping my Iris would produce the typical royal bluish color but instead I am getting a pale almost fading purple that looks sickly to me.

Any way I can get them to produce more color, or better yet, that royal blueish color?

We are never satisfied are we? Sorry : /

Irises Bulb Cultivation, Temperature and Market

Please gives details about Irises Bulb Cultivation, Temperature and Market in India.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Ram Yadav

how to bring back iris flowers after 2 cold days

My iris blooms all died off after 2 cold days. The rest of the plant seems to be doing well but there are no more flowers. Can I bring flowers back? I trimmed off the dead blooms, will new buds grow in its place?

Iris plant

What is the tumor-looking thing growing on my iris plant? They are done blooming.

Those are seed pods. After

Those are seed pods. After some time they will turn brown and split open. You will see the seeds inside the pod. If the seeds are a dark color and have a hard exterior they are ready to be picked and saved for planting.

Re -Iris Bells

I am after information on Iris Bells ( malacca balm ) and also can you strike them

Replanting gifted iris

I was given some iris as a large clump of root with over 50 leaf sets of varying sizes. I broke off about half off it and then further divided that half into small pieces with varying amount of tuber attached. The other half, I planted in the garden soil, as is, so that if I screwed up the first half, I could hope to try again with the second half.

I have several questions. How much tuber is needed for the leaves to establish roots? Will tuber chunks be able to start if they have no leaves but do have roots? I discarded any tuber pieces that felt punky or soft, but am wondering if there is any difference between snapping off pieces of the solid tuber versus cutting pieces off (which allows for better regulation of how much tuber goes in each hole)? Thanks for any information.

Hi Clint,

Hi Clint,

We suggest snapping off pieces and not using a knife. Each piece should be about 3 to 4 inches long and have at least on fan of leaves. Discard the chunks with no leaves. See the top of this page for planting and care instructions.



We have tall iris growing, pretty and green, but they never bloom. My question is want they bloom. We have them in other parts of our yard, and they bloom.

Transplanting irises now

We are having construction done and I had to dig up my irises which had foliage but no flower buds. Is there anything I should do to help them survive this upheaval when I plant them?

Are you going to plant them

Are you going to plant them in the same location after construction is done or move them to a new location? If you are moving them to a new location see our planting advice at the top of this page. If you are going to put them back in the same spot you can plant the irises in containers until the construction is finished.


Do Irises have a gender? I was told that you have to have both a male and female plant for them to bloom. I have a few Irises and they have never bloomed.

Iris gender

No, Iris germanica do not need a male and female, the flowers are complete, both male and female. The tall irises often take 2 years to bloom here in the north after planting, sometimes even 3 if it was a small piece of rhizome. The shorter varieties tend to come on earlier. They need a minimum of 6 hours of sun also. Then after about 4-5 years here in eastern Ontario you have to divide them to reinvigorate the clump. Try a 1/2 strength liquid fertilizer with a higher middle number, and a bit of compost between the clumps to see if they just need a boost. Be sure not to plant too deep, and keep well weeded.


I don't see the specific information in regards to watering except at planting time that I am looking for. What are their watering needs throughout the season? I want to plant them along the north side of our house but we don't want to install a drip line so close to the foundation. We have tulips on the other side thriving with no watering system.

Irises need sun and well

Irises need sun and well-drained soil to grow well. They like dry conditions so do not overwater. Too much water in the soil can cause rot.

iris rot

I have lots of green stalks and I had some pretty flowers. My bud to flower ratio is about 3:1. Washington DC had 4 weeks of rain.
2/3rd of the buds did not flower. I think I have a too much water and a drainage problem, what do you think? And if so, how do
I fix this problem, the plant has been in the ground for 2 yrs. Wish I could send you a pic.

Pale leaves on my iris.

The leaves of some of my irises are turning pale green, what to do?

Iris disease

Irises have so many different diseases. We would need more information. However, light green streaks suggest an iris mosaic which can be managed by controlling aphids. You can spray aphids with an insecticidal soap or liquid dish detergent early in the morning. See the American Iris Society page for more information:


can someone tell me why my iris have all of these thin green strands coming up as well - they look like tons of green onions but they aren't. There is actually an iris flower amongst all of the strands. All of my iris are like that in this one area. thanks

green strands

It sounds like your irises are trying to reproduce. These grassy strands are probably coming off the “mother” bulb and they are not likely to ever mature. You would do well to lift (unearth) them, separate them, and remove old/unhealthy growths or small shoots. Then replant. Do this eveyr three years, in summer.

My Purple Irises bloomed out yellow this year .

I have had a Irises bed for twenty years I thin them and feed them , even shared them with family. They are the darkest purple and as big as your fist. With three to four on a stem. This year they bloomed yellow the size of a small fist and only two to a stem. Last year only a few bloomed out ,but the passed years the whole beds have bloomed. Any reason why they are yellow this year. Even the ones I gave to my aunt s are yellow>

There are a few explanations

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.”

No stalk on iris bloom

Last year was the first year this blue iris bloomed and it had 3 blooms on the tall (probably 2 ft) stem. This year it has one bloom right at ground level, no visible stem at all. What causes this and what can I do about it? I've had them many years and just divided and replanted them year before last. They are not crowded at all.

A late freeze can kill a

A late freeze can kill a growing stalk but not sure that’s what happened. Maybe the tuber is planted too deep. It needs to be just barely under the top soil. How are the other irises doing? Do they have stalks?

Planting irises in spring

I just purchased some iris bulbs. I did not know that the best time to plant the issues is late summer. Can I plant them now?

Late summer early fall is

Late summer early fall is recommended for best results. You can plant the irises now but spring planting can often result in few blooms for the first couple of seasons.

Too bloom of not to bloom

I was gifted Iris's late last season . ( purple bearded) . As it is spring now the leaves look good, no discoloring or disease. The tubers were quite long about 4" and I put them in a sunny area with light soil. The tubers look healthy and not mushy, I do not see any " buds" so don't know if they will flower this summer. I wonder if I should raise the tuber a little so that it is peaking out from the soil? They are planted a good 2 foot apart. I have not fertilized them and I believe that they bloom later in the summer. The soil is light so that I can raise the tubers without disturbing the plant so much . Thank you for any help


Can I plant Iris's that I have taken out of my pond into my garden?

Should I cut flowers or leave them?

I have several white bearded flowers in bloom. Should I leave them alone until they die off naturally?

Iris changed color

My beautiful purple iris changed its color to yellow after I planted a couple of yellow iris close by...why is this? I live in North Texas and have used 13-13-13 fertilizer sparingly on the plants. Thank you.

Iris changed color

I had the same thing happen! I have had a yard full of different shades of purple irises for 6 years, and this year I got some yellow ones in among my purples! I, too, am in North Texas, but I can't imagine that would make any real difference. I was simply amazed to see yellow in my yard!
Thanks for any idea of what may have happened.


I live in an inland valley in Southern California. Have a yard that has many bearded irises that have self propagated but they aren't blooming much anymore-- just the green plant grows year round. What to do?

German Iris

Dear all,

I have been growing some German irises for 5 months now. Some of the Irises already bloomed and gave beautiful flowers. The plants are also doing very well. I live in a tropical island in the Caribbean. The average temperature here is 30 degrees celsius. I would like to know if the Irises needs to be chilled to bloom again or this is not necessary.

There is no need for the

There is no need for the German bearded iris to be chilled. It will keep growing and blooming in a mild climate. You may want to dig up the rhizomes in a couple of years to divide the plants.

I agree. I have grown Irises

I agree. I have grown Irises that way and they have turned out lovely.

Moving irises

I moved in December and wanted to take some of my grandmother's irises with me to my new home. Although it is mild and the ground is not frozen, it seems too late to plant bulbs in Michigan in January. Would leaving them in a box with dirt around them for the winter be okay?

Moving irises

I moved in December and wanted to take some of my grandmother's irises with me to my new home. Although it is mild and the ground is not frozen, it seems too late to plant bulbs in Michigan in January. Would leaving them in a box with dirt around them for the winter be okay?

saving iris bulbs

I need to replant my irises now (mid April in NC).Should I bring in the rhizomes until July and if so,how do I keep them alive until then?

Moving irises

I moved in December and wanted to take some of my grandmother's irises with me to my new home. Although it is mild and the ground is not frozen, it seems too late to plant bulbs in Michigan in January. Would leaving them in a box with dirt around them for the winter be okay?

Red rhizome

I was forced to dig up a couple of dozen irises recently and before replanting them, I was dividing them. When I cut the rhizome on one type (and I don't know what they type is), it was blood red on the inside. Our local experts say they haven't see that before. Does anyone know if this is normal for some irises or if it indicates some kind of problem/disease?

Cutting back iris in fall

Our new house has iris planted in beds. I read where you should cut them back in the fall.....which I did. Some stalks were brown and some were green. I cut them all back to 5-6". Now they're all growing again, putting out new tall green leaves. I wasn't expecting that. Do I trim them back again? Or what? Thanks.


It’s generally advised to

It’s generally advised to remove the flower after bloom at the base of the plant. That will eliminate the formation of a seed pod and enable the plant to put its energy into future growth. Healthy green foliage should not be removed, unless it is diseased or “dead” such as at the end of season; cutting foliage is ok, too, when plants are being divided and replanted (pruning will keep them from being top heavy).

So, if that’s “allowed,” your pruning should not cause the plants to fail/not appear next season. As for the regrowth, could it be due to unseasonably warm weather? If you expect a true cold winter (snow, etc.), leave the plants alone and just mulch heavily around/on them.

Storing iris rhizomes

I have grown some miniature(?) iris rhizomes all summer in a pot. Now it is November and I have not planted them in the ground yet as I originally intended. They are still in the pot and have lots of new sprouts. What shall I do with them now? It's been a remarkably warm fall/winter here in CT but this can't last forever. Thanks.

miniature iris

Miniature iris are planted in the fall, so you’re in luck! Doubly so with this upciming mild spell. Plant them rhizomes this week, with the shoots. No need to water, of course. Assuming ideal conditions otherwise, they should be fine.

Insulate irises from snow?

I was gifted my first irises in August. They were newly divided and beginning to develop roots in pots, and I transplanted them from the pots to raised beds in early September.They are all still alive. I live in southeastern Michigan, and until now it's been unusually warm. Today its dropped below freezing and is starting to snow. Do I need to insulate them from the cold/snow? If so, what method do you suggest? Thanks!

Can I store Iris Rhizomes

Was just given Some yellow Iris Rhizomes today. I live in zone 6-7 Enid,Oklahoma, east of the panel handle.
Can I plant know or do I need to wait until June to plant? I plan on placing them in a garden bed, that is not raised.
Please help!

Can I Plant Iris Rhizomes Now in Zone 9 AZ?

Is it too late to plant iris rhizomes in Zone 9 Scottsdale/Phoenix, AZ??? Intending to put them in a raised planter bed on north side of house. Seems like several websites suggest planting iris rhizomes July-Sept/Oct, but many "normal" garden rules don't apply that well in the desert southwest. Many thanks.

It is recommended to plant

It is recommended to plant iris in Sept. or Oct. in Zone 9. You can plant a few rhizomes now and see how they do next spring. They just need time to develop roots and get established before the growing seasons ends.

Frost Protection,

Last month I planted new Tall Bearded Hybrid Iris rhizomes in my new yard. Two years ago I had frost damage to my raised Iris bed (old address). We don't get a lot of heavy frost here, West of San Antonio Texas, but we get Frost often enough to harm my new Iris. What is the best ground cover to use? I've been reading about Frost blankets, but am not sure they would be appropriate for Iris. Also, I am handicapped, trying to find the easiest but best thing to do to protect my Iris. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

Do Iris's throw back to blue/mauve?

I live in New South Wales, Australia and I purchased a large number of different coloured irises. They flowered well the first year (this was in newly brought in soil and no other flowers or irises have been grown in this spot) but last year and this year several of the irises are now reverting back to the insipid bluey mauve colour. Can you tell me why?

When to plant Irises

My neighbor just gave me a large box filled with iris roots, but I'm not sure when I should plant them. They seem to be hearty plants, should I go ahead and plant them even though it is October in NC, or should I wait and store them until spring? She also says they bloom twice a year. She is just trying to minimize her yard work.

The best time to plant iris

The best time to plant iris is mid-July to mid-October depending on where you live. You should be able to plant the irises now in NC.

Fall bearded iris, with them cut down to 6to8 inches above the s

I trimmed the leaves back in late September to about 6 to 8 inches from the ground up. I live in southern iowa, and I was wondering if they will be safe over the winter? Or will it mess up the growth in the spring?

It’s best to let the leaves

It’s best to let the leaves turn brown before trimming them. Your irises should be fine during the dormant winter months and come back next year. Most varieties are cold hardy.

growing irises from seed

I picked some dried bearded iris seed on Cape Cod this week and would like to try to grow them. Reading many different ways. What's the best way for the best chance of germination? Wash them then soak them? Plant in pots then plant pots into the garden? Potting soil mix? Seed starter? Help...

If you live in a region with

If you live in a region with cold winters the easiest way to plant the seeds in the fall is to plant them outdoors in weedfree garden soil. Make sure to keep the soil moist before it freezes and mark the area. If you want to start the seeds indoors you need to soak the seeds for a couple of weeks and rinse them several times. Then the seeds need to be put in plastic bags and kept in the fridge for a couple of months before they are planted in pots in early spring. See link below for more information.


It's September 25th, and I

It's September 25th, and I just received some iris from a neighbor. I live in southcentral Pennsylvania and was wondering if it was too late to plant them.

Though the best time to

Though the best time to transplant them is right after flowering, there is still time for them to get a foothold before the ground freezes in your area. Plant them as soon as you can!

I need to know that when

I need to know that when winter comes if I can mow the flowers down with my lawn mower, will they grow again in the spring?

Thank You.

Hi Lee, Leaves carry on

Hi Lee,

  • Leaves carry on photosynthesis for next year's growth. Cut off only the brown tips—and cut the flowering stalk down to the rhizome to discourage rot.
  • After the foliage is hit with heavy frost you can remove the brown foliage being careful not to damage the rhizomes.

I just clipped all the leaves

I just clipped all the leaves down. Will they come back next year? I in VT with
Very cold winters and snow

With iris bulbs, we advise

With iris bulbs, we advise not to cut the leaves because this is how the plants stores energy to form blooms next season. If you just cut the large leaves and the small, short ones are still there, they should be OK. If you cut them all, you may not get flowers in the coming season, however, they'll survive to bloom again. Allow leaves to turn yellow.

We've had iris for 55 years.

We've had iris for 55 years. One has been transplanted twice from one house to a second to a third.
What I don't understand is why it never propagates? I is still the same clump it always was. It is red in color.

We planted 15 irises in a

We planted 15 irises in a front yard patch 20' x 10' about 8 years ago. We planted some vinca vine in the same area as ground cover about 5 years ago. The irises have not bloomed as well over the past 2 years. Could it be the vinca vine? Do they need to be moved... divided? Thanks for any advice!

We recommend to divide and

We recommend to divide and replant ireses after 2 to 5 years, when clumps become congested or lose vitality. Replant sound rhizomes in fresh soil. The best time to replant irises is soon after bloom.

I have read and read these

I have read and read these post. Very informative. I should have researched before I dug up my iris yesterday. I am
not comfortable yet in dividing the rhizomes. You talk about dividing and keeping 4-6 inches of stem. Questions. 1 How do I divide and still have stems on different pieces? Some of the rhizomes are six inches long. Which part do I keep? 2. Some of the rhizomes came quickly out of the ground and have little to no root system. They had stems. Should I bother to plant these? 3. Are there any pictures on a website of rhizomes and the correct way to divide? Thanks so much.

When you divide irises you

When you divide irises you discard the "mother" rhizome and replant the rhizomes that were attached to the mother rhizome. See link below.

Two years ago a friend gave

Two years ago a friend gave me enough irises for several beds. Last year there were beautiful. This year they came up, we had a cold spell and had few blooms. Stems were weak and blooms were bending over. Several weeks later foliage became brown and disappeard completely. Now all the rhizomes are rotting. Is this an insect? I have removed the rotted plants but wondering if I should replant in the same area?

Debby, it sounds like

Debby, it sounds like bacterial soft rot. It is present in most soils and is often harmless. The problem could have developed from freeze/thaw cycles through winter and early spring. Rhizomes were damaged and bacteria got into them. Severity—and maybe frequency—of occurrence is worse when plants are close together and circulation is poor. If you replant, remove all remaining rhizomes and all weeds before planting. You can apply insecticide—as a local nurseryman/woman—when leaves are 5 to 6 inches tall.

I have 2 beds of "Queen of

I have 2 beds of "Queen of the Night" black Iris that until this year got neglected badly. They were shipped from Baltimore to Sterling UT to here In long Beach, WA. This year the beds got weeded and a 5-10-10 fertilizer applied and watered in well. The soil is sandy (we live 2 blocks from the ocean) and drains well. Both beds have responded with lots of blooms with as many as 4 buds on each stalk. Needless to say we have enjoyed them. Allan

I have to temporarily move

I have to temporarily move some Iris due to a nearby tree removal. They have just flowered in the last few days. Can I just move them to a pot for a few days and put them back when the tree has been sorted out, or do I need to go through the entire transplanting process and stick them somewhere for the rest of the season?

You can move them temporarily

You can move them temporarily but do not be surprised if the blooms wilt and eventually collapse. That could happen simply because of the disruption they will experience at their root when all that they are focused on is their big show, their flower.
Dig up as much of the soil around and beneath the rhizomes as you can; this could help to mitigate the shock to their system. (If the tree coming out is a large one, perhaps the removal involves a piece of heavy equipment that could scoop up your irises in one very large "bite" and deposit them in a convenient place??) You don't need to put them into the ground as if transplanting but do put them into a proportionately sized pot—that is, if it's a large clump, a larger pot (or barrel, if that suits best). The point is, don't force them to wait this out in pinched quarters.
When you replant, again disturb them as little as possible; don't bother to shake or brush soil off the root/rhizome. Just remember that almost no matter how careful you are, the blooms may wilt. And know that as long as the rhizomes suffer no damage, the plants should bloom, as usual, next year.

if you take a large clump of

if you take a large clump of soil with them, you can even just put them in a box..keep them watered though. They should be fine like that for a couple weeks. mine have
been :)

I bought some Iris bulbs 40.

I bought some Iris bulbs 40. for planting on the balcony.
i planted in pots in march and hoped they will bloom. come summer.
They all have stems leaves now but wondered if planted in pots and so late will they bloom ?

They are the hardy variety i believe , purple with yellow center. They get the late afternoon sun and i limit watering to prevent rot.

Also in fall , can they be kept in pots or removed??

Hi Vicky, Irises prefer

Hi Vicky,
Irises prefer morning sun. They would bloom better if you had a bit more sunshine on your balcony. Make sure that the tops of the rhizomes are exposed and not planted too deeply. You can leave the iris in the pots in the fall. If you have severe winters you may put the pots in a big cardboard box and fill the empty spaces between the pots with crumpled up newspaper or other isolating material.

i was just wondering,i have

i was just wondering,i have all colors of irises and i have notice that after they have bloomed and the flowers die back they have what looks like a root bod where the flowers was.could a person cut this back and start a new plant?if so,is there a way to get a good start from it?thank you

Hi Melissa, Yes, these are

Hi Melissa,
Yes, these are seed pods. The pods 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.

Do I leave them on the stem

Do I leave them on the stem or cut them off to dry. Also when do I replant the seeds.

Yes my irises are doing the

Yes my irises are doing the same thing and have never seen this before. Do the pids need to brown and dry on the plant and when is the best time to sow the seeds or may I keep them for next year?

The pods need to dry and turn

The pods 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. Or you can save them by storing in an envelope in a cool, dry place. This will keep the seeds from germinating too soon and let them finish drying.

My irises didn't bloom this

My irises didn't bloom this year. They did bloom last year. Any thoughts what I should do? Thank you.

There are many reasons that

There are many reasons that iris don't bloom. DId a nearby bush grow so that your iris aren't getting enough sunlight? Has it been a dry year and are the iris getting plenty of water? Are you giving them too much (nitrogen) fertilizer? Are they overcrowded and need dividing/transplanting? Did the bulbs rot? Hope this sparks some ideas.

I was given some Iris last

I was given some Iris last year. I was told they were "Flags" and not to put them by any other Iris. So of course I did as I was told! They are really beautiful, and are deep purple and white striped. I saw one called Batik that looks just like them. My question is what is a Flag iris? And can I transplant some in an area kind of close to others? How far away would I have to keep them if I do?

Hi Kati, Flag irises are a

Hi Kati, Flag irises are a type of perennial that is quite hardy and need minimal care. Based on the colors you mention, your plant is a  Blue flag iris (Iris versicolor). It's semi-aquatic and likes wetlands and growing near water though it also adapts well to a garden. Perhaps the reason you were told to keep it planted by itself is because flag iris can be quickly become invasive and take over other plants if not managed. --Your OFA editors

i have pods that grew on my

i have pods that grew on my iris look like green pecans but big. what are they?

If you have pods on your

If you have pods on your iris, those are called "seed pods." This means the plant is done blooming. Removing spent blooms stops the formation of seed pods as well as making the iris bed more attractive. When a stem finishes flowering, cut it off at the base.

My Iris blooms, but the

My Iris blooms, but the stalks fall over and the blooms end up on the ground. I live in northern Illinois. Some of the leaves are becoming limp too. Please help!

Hi, Kathy: We don't know

Hi, Kathy: We don't know whether your irises are new plantings or old, but this weakness could come from any number of things, including cold, shade, too much or too little water, wind, rhizomes too deep, etc. Since it seems to be the leaves as well as the stems, you could have a pest or disease. Pull up a bad one and inspect the rhizome for clues, then cut off any bad parts and replant, cutting it back to 6 to 8 inches and introducing some new soil. In the meantime, make sure  that they are getting plenty of sun and moderate water, and stake where necessary. Good luck!

Last fall I received some

Last fall I received some iris bulbs from a friend. They were put in our basement and we forgot to plant them. Can we still plant them now? Should we revive in water first?
We live in the midwest.

Go ahead and plant them. I

Go ahead and plant them. I once had some iris in a paper bag on my basement steps for 3 years...and they still grew!I did not revive them in water...just plopped them in the ground.

I am moving to Mesquite

I am moving to Mesquite Nevada. Any chance I could plant irises there. I love these flowers and would love to have a grouping in my courtyard. Drip irrigation is the watering method. Will they survive our hot summer days (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit!) if I plant them?

I live in Northern Nevada, so

I live in Northern Nevada, so a little less heat, maybe cooler winters...and I have them in my garden. If you follow basic rules listed in Iris care, you should be able to have them. Couldn't hurt to try.

I live in Las Vegas and have

I live in Las Vegas and have about 60 irises growing next to my driveway. They bloom beautifully. You would be surprised to know how many flowers can be grown here in the Mojave Desert. Contact your local Master Gardeners organization for inspiration and advice. If you don't have one in ?Mesquite, the one in Las Vegas is outstanding. I've had great luck with irises, wisteria, (especially Blue Moon wisterias ), clematis, jasmine, and even some of the lilacs, ( I've had my best luck with Lilac Sunday lilac and snowy beach party lilac)

Subject: weed control in iris

Subject: weed control in iris beds. I know not to put mulch (danger of rotting rhizomes) and not to put gravel (mud and mess) in iris beds. May I use grass clippings from my lawn mower to control the weeds? How can one effectively control weeds in iris beds? Thank you.

Hi, Sylvia, There is no easy

Hi, Sylvia,
There is no easy answer for this question that many people ask. There are numerous suggestions here:
Some other solutions include digging up the bed and removing the weeds by hand. Or shallow cultivation. Also, using a pre-emergence herbicide. One suggestion is "Poast"—however, be sure it is suitable (read label or consult the vendor) and follow directions carefully.
We hope that you find a solution here.

Last summer I got about 20

Last summer I got about 20 different colors of iris from a lady who was thinning out her beds. All of them still had flowers on them so I know the colors I planted. I do not like the light purple or yellow that you see everywhere and didnt plant any in my bed. I planted them in rows with anywhere from 6-12 inches apart. They are blooming now and of the 6 that I can see color in 4 are that stinking light purple I didnt want. Why is this? What can I do to fix it. My grandmother had a beautiful bed when I was a kid and its important to me to have one

Hi, Rosemary, Apparenly this

Hi, Rosemary, Apparenly this is a fairly common occurrence that few people talk about. Purple is this plant's genetically dominant color. Often, one cultivar is tougher than the others and eventually takes over. By all estimates, these iris will continue to give purple flowers. You can thin the bed and replace with other colors, but this might occur again later. (Just in cas this corssed your mind: Color change is not related to soil pH or quality.) We hope this helps...even a little.

That's just it. This is a

That's just it. This is a brand new bed. Just tilled the ground last yr. I planted roughly 20 different colors with a black/purple and a verigated purple/white being the only 2 purple ones. Most were one or two bulbs and they are all at least 6-12 inches apart. So its not crowded. I have slaved over this bed and am so disappointed with all these purple blooms. I kept the dying flowers pulled off . Once they have gone purple thats what color they'll stay right?

I transplanted some iris this

I transplanted some iris this spring and one of them is blooming, but the color is different from the original. The bed I took them from was all the same. Any thoughts as to why?

How different is the color?

How different is the color? Is it a lighter or darker shade of the original, or a totally new color? Iris color might turn darker or lighter by a change in growing conditions, such as more or less sunlight, nutrients, etc., or due to the stress of transplanting. Herbicides might also affect color, but you would see damage as well. Sometimes mutations happen, and these are called "sports." If you search for the word "color" below, you'll see that lots of other people have had their irises change color, too!

I have something to say about

I have something to say about iris. When you find an old house site,You find iris and yucca, I believe this is because both are very hardy when dug up and transplanted. Back then most likely in a wagon. I know for a fact if you run a tiller down a row of iris, and fail to remove the chopped remains they come back thicker than ever.

My neighbor divided her iris

My neighbor divided her iris last week and gave me some.
Should I plant them now or wait until later in the summer? And if I wait, do they need to be kept in dirt or can they dry out?

It's best if the irises can

It's best if the irises can be replanted as soon as possible, but they have been known to survive for a year if kept in a plastic bag in a cool place like a cellar or the refrigerator (so that they don't dry out).

I live in TN and want to make

I live in TN and want to make an Iris bed and I don't want them to spread outside the bed. Would a barrier work? What kind and how deep?

I have lived in my rent house

I have lived in my rent house for 5 years and just figured out that I have two huge clumps of bearded irises. I couldn't figure out what they were because they have never bloomed. I dug up the ones in the backyard but came online for research because I didn't realize they had rhizomes instead of bulbs. Should I go ahead and split them up and replant them? Or should I put them back how they were and wait until September/October to divide them? I'm worried about leaving them for another season (they are REALLY crowded) but I also want them to live and thrive and I'm okay if I have to wait another year to see them bloom (I've waited 5 years already).

Since you have already dug

Since you have already dug them up, go ahead and divide them. Plant them in a spot that gets at least half a day of sun and has well-drained soil.

This half day of sun...Should

This half day of sun...Should it be morning or afternoon or midday sun? Because the Lubbock sun can be brutal in the summer - I've had so-called sun-loving plants shrivel up and die on me even though I water them deeply. It's like the wind and sun combine to make the "normal" sun requirements untrue. I have irises in the front and back but the front yard ones have never bloomed either and they're under a tree.

Morning sun is better. This

Morning sun is better. This way you will avoid the hot afternoon sun in Texas.

I did the same thing

I did the same thing

My Mum died last week. A dear

My Mum died last week. A dear friend stopped by to leave Iris bulbs for me. I will plant them this very second. My Mum's name is Iris

Kathleen, I'm sorry for the

Kathleen, I'm sorry for the loss of your mum. What a beautiful flower to be named after! Yours will do well if you follow the advice on planting and care here -- I've had great luck with everything I have come here to look up! Best wishes, Katheryn

I live in North Mississippi

I live in North Mississippi and have moved across town. I would like to take my Iris garden with me. It is Mid February. Can I relocate them without damaging them?

This is tricky, Rickie. In

This is tricky, Rickie. In most places, gardeners are advised to lift and divide (if necessary) irises in late summer, often August through October (even in Louisiana, we are learning).
This may be the best method: Dig deep and wide enough to lift the irises without disturbing them, without getting too close to the corm (bulb), and transfer them in a pot or box or the like. Allow them to grow, undisturbed, in that container (realize that this season's flower performance may not be their best), and plant them permanently in late summer, per above, at which time you could divide them, too.

I have iris that most be

I have iris that most be planted in too much shade. I need to replant , but now it is Feb. Do I wait.? live in zone 8

A previous owner planted iris

A previous owner planted iris that bloomed beautifully this summer despite the drought, high heat, and me not knowing what I was doing. A few weeks ago, I noticed a rhizome that had been dug up by a cat--no roots but a little green poking out of the top. I put the rhizome in a little water near a shaded window in my kitchen and roots are starting to grow back, and more green is pushing through the top. It's late December in La Mesa, CA (just east of San Diego so cooler overnight but warmer by day--will have a few cold snaps with frost in the am). When can I put this beauty back in the ground?

Hi Shay, If the soil is not

Hi Shay,
If the soil is not frozen you can plant the iris now and add a little mulch over it for protection.



Hello. I live in upstate NY,

Hello. I live in upstate NY, just had some snow on the ground last night. I need to prepare my barn last minute, for an abused horse to come in and I need to pull my irises. Can you tell me the best way to store them for winter, until I can replant in spring?

If the soil is still workable

If the soil is still workable you can replant the iris to a new location now. Then add a mulch of straw or evergreen boughs over the bulbs to protect them over the winter. If you can't plant them outside, store them in a cool area (refrigerator is good) in plastic bags with holes punched in the bags to hold some moisture so that the bulbs don't shrivel. Plant next spring as soon as the soil is workable.

Iris' are not bulbs....they

Iris' are not bulbs....they are rhizomes. And Rhizomes do not like being covered in mulch or dirt, as the rhizomes can rot and/or the plant not bloom. The rhizomes also like to have air and sun and do better slightly above the surface of the soil (not covered)

I purchased a package of Iris

I purchased a package of Iris bulbs - 50 in the package. I am confused by your comment that they are not from bulbs

Peggy, irises do not have

Peggy, irises do not have bulbs, they are called "rhizomes" instead. Rhizomes are long-ish and can be a bit somewhat knotty and contorted, too. That's fine. Unlike actual 'bulbs' that need to be planted into the ground at a depth of about 3 x their height, iris's 'rhizomes' need to be planted very shallow for them to be happy and bloom the next year. Just dig a shallow hole where you will accommodate the root system (which should be covered in dirt under the ground), then simply rest the iris's rhizomes on their long side on the ground. They like the sun on their back, so keep about the top 1/2 of the rhizome exposed to the sun when you plant it. Keep it horizontal to the ground, not dug in vertical. I hope this helps.

Irises can be bulb type or rhizome type

To all who say that "Irises are rhizomes, not bulbs"-- be aware that there are indeed some kinds of irises that come from a bulb (corm) rather than a rhizome. Most of us are probably thinking of bearded iris, which do indeed have rhizomes (the things that look like a gnarly sweet potato). "Siberian" and "Louisiana" irises are also rhizome irises.

But other irises, such as Dutch iris or Juno iris, are bulbous irises. The two types/classes of iris require different planting and care methods. This is why it's helpful to indicate the type of iris that you have. It makes it easier to give the kind of answer that will best help you or others with a similar issue.

I was given several of my

I was given several of my grandmas prized iris bulbs by my aunt who separated some of them. My question is, is it too late to plant them this year for them to bloom in the Spring? I surely don't want to kill them!! Right now they are wrapped in newspaper in a paper bag in a dark area. I live in NC and have a very sunny and well drained area to plant them. I appreciate your help!!

Hi Christina, If the soil is

Hi Christina,
If the soil is still workable you can plant the iris now. Then add a mulch of straw or evergreen boughs over the bulbs to protect them over the winter. If you can't plant them outside store them in a cool area (refrigerator is good) in plastic bags with holes punched in the bags to hold some moisture so that the bulbs don't shrivel. Plant next spring as soon as the soil is workable.

I was given an Iris bulb and

I was given an Iris bulb and am looking to plant it but I move often. Can i plant it in a pot?

Hi, Allison: You sure can,

Hi, Allison: You sure can, but growing irises in pots is always an adventure (usually successful, we might add). Some of this depends on what type of iris you have, but make sure your pot is at least 10 inches in diameter, don't plant it too deep, fertilize often, and divide regularly. Oh... and have fun!

After reading all the

After reading all the comments and questions here, I understand to not cut the leaves (fans) of my irises until they turn brown but it is mid October now and they are still green, kind of laying over and covering my mums. The iris leaves got very tall this year, about 3-4 feet. Can I safely cut them back now without compromising their blooms next spring?

It's better to leave the

It's better to leave the leaves to keep making and storing food for next year; the more leaves the better. The time to cut back and discard all foliage is after a hard frost.

I'm confused. Am 1st time

I'm confused. Am 1st time transplanting Iris bulbs. When you say to separate the clusters (rhizones?) do you mean to break them apart? Some are growing out sideways and some are in a "Y" shape. Do I break them up? I just now dug them up, late Sept. and would like to replant them now while I have help, however, KS is havng some very cool nights and frost could be coming, however, in KS you just never know. Could have warm weather or it could snow.

It's a bit late in the season

It's a bit late in the season to transplant irises. The best time is right after they have bloomed in the summer. But yes, you can brake the rhizomes apart at the "joints". Make sure each section has roots.

Subject: transplanting irises

Subject: transplanting irises to the north side of a 6' privacy wood fence. I live in zone 5; 4,500' above sea level in the Rockies, in dry, semi-desert conditions, low humidity. I already have many irises and they bloom very successfully starting around May 12 for about 3 weeks. I need to transplant some. I am looking at a 32' x 1.5' strip on the north side of a 6' privacy wood fence. Once established, will the irises be able to bloom on the north side of a wood fence? My concern would be the amount of direct sunshine that the rhizomes would get from November through the beginning of May on the north side of the fence, which is next to nothing ... not much. However, that north side of the fence gets full sun in the afternoon hours from June through at least the first part of October. Thank you.

OK, now I can answer my own

OK, now I can answer my own question. Outcome: yes, they bloomed! (May 2015). So, at least in my situation, transplanting irises immediately next to a high wooden fence, on its north side, in Utah, does not seem to affect their flowering cycle the following spring. I am so happy they bloomed!

Can iris be watered with a

Can iris be watered with a sprinkler. Or is better to set the house down and not water the top?

It's OK to water the iris

It's OK to water the iris with a sprinkler. Just make sure that the water drains well and doesn't puddle around the roots.

We had a hail storm come

We had a hail storm come through and now the iris leaves are torn and turning brown. Can I cut then back so they look more attractive? 7-26-14

We empathize with your storm

We empathize with your storm damage. Irises can be cut back to within 6 to 12 inches of the ground, as would normally happen. Though this season may be over, the foliage will help build stronger roots for the following year.

I live in the mountains,

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

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
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

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

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,

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!

I have also noticed a pod

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?

These are seedpods and it is

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

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

I am separating and moving my

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?

Spread the roots out and down

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.

Cathy, just wanted to make

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

I find this interesting. I

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

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

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

My mother's irises have taken

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?

My mother too had her Iris

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.

What a lovely idea! I live

What a lovely idea! I live in Maryland and have recently thinned out the iris that I brought from my mother's garden in Pennsylvania years ago. I'm going to save the extras and plant them on the family graves on my next visit. It will be a beautiful way to remember her, as she loved plants and gardening.

Well, although this is not a

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:
• Reach out to the American Iris Society through its Facebook page: 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.

How about sharing them. You

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.

I just wanted to mention that

I just wanted to mention that you can post any type of free giveaway item on for your area. Someone wanting your item will respond by email and you set a date and time they can pick up. You can just place them outside your door, or on your driveway for pickup. Freecycle is designed to help keep usable items out of landfills. You can also probably sell the bulbs on EBay. I just bought one dark purple bulb on there for $5 total. It is a bulb, too, not a rhizome, but I really wanted to try that color. I live in a rental, and have no flowers, zone 8.

I live in Northern NV and

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

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

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!

Irises are tough. You can dig

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).

Well heres one for you. A

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.

Hi, Cory, It's best if the

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!

Not very deer resistant - I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

I'm not an expert but I live

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.

I have iris in my Virginia

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!

Yes, my mother had purple

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?

My condolences on the loss of

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?

The story of our family

The story of our family irises are that they were at least my great grandmothers then my grandmothers. One move was a plastic bag dumped in the backyard and split open and they survived. Then to get to me they survived a two-month transport process in a box with wet paper towels. An now they are doing great with very little care.

My iris's have not bloomed in

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

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

I just discovered vole damage

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

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

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,

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.

For those who has deer eating

For those who has deer eating plants you may try sprinkle plants with red pepper ? Did to my spider plants n deer.stop eating not like spicey taste and may try society garlic deer do not like taste or onion herbs...etc...

I have been told that Iris

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

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

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 old "mother"

Hi, Linda, The old "mother" center rhizomes that have already bloomed will not bloom again. These "mothers" may grow additional baby rhizomes, so when dividing rhizomes they may be worth saving and replanting if there is room in the garden.


Botanical Name: 

Iris germanica

Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil Type: 

Hardiness Zone: 

Bloom Time: 

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