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FAQ: When can I divide and transplant irises?

Late July through mid August is the best time to plant, move or divide iris. Iris is one of the most popular perennials in the garden and easy to grow. Although they provide pleasure for many years with little care, periodic dividing is an important cultural practice for maintaining plant health.

Can you divide iris anytime?

Mid- to late-summer is a good time to divide bearded irises. You want to make sure that the roots have ample time to grow before winter. You can usually tell that your irises are ready to be divided when a clump looks overgrown, with rhizomes starting to grow into each other and popping up from the soil.

How do you divide and replant irises?


  1. Dig up the Clump. Using a garden shovel, dig up the entire clump of iris.
  2. Divide the Clump Into Sections. Shake off loose dirt, and divide the large clump into sections by tugging it apart with your hands.
  3. Trim the Leaves.
  4. Inspect the Rhizome Sections.
  5. Prepare a Planting Hole.
  6. Plant the Iris.
  7. Caring for New Iris.
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When can I dig up and transplant irises?

The most important aspect of transplanting iris is timing. For bearded iris, the ideal time for digging and dividing is in late summer to early fall. Bearded iris are less susceptible to bacterial and fungal rots at this time because weather tends to be drier.

How long can you wait to replant irises?

They need to go in the ground at least 6 weeks before the first frost, in order to establish roots by then to get them through the winter. I would think storing them longer than 6 months would be pushing it. Remember most bearded iris’ can be stored dry, but most JA and SI can not be dried out all the way.

What is the best time to divide irises?

Divide at the right time of year, after flowering, when irises become dormant during late summer, reducing the chance of bacterial soft rot. Avoid dividing during winter when irises are trying to survive on stored energy in their rhizomes. Snip the leaf blades to about one third of their height.

When should you separate iris bulbs?

Late July through early August is the best time to divide iris, as they are dormant during the summer. They then put on a flush of growth in preparation for winter. This dormant period makes it the ideal time to renovate a clump. Iris, as a general rule, should be divided about every three to five years.

Can you grow iris from cuttings?

The advantage of asexual propagation is that you can genetically duplicate plants. New iris cultivars are developed through sexual propagation, then they are replicated by asexual reproduction so that many gardeners can enjoy the new creation.

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Will iris bloom after transplanting?

12 to 24 inches apart with the top of the rhizome at or slightly under the surface of the soil. Divide the clumps every three or four years to avoid crowding problems. Irises may take a season or two to rebloom after transplanting.

Where is the rhizome of an iris?

Since most iris have rhizomes, start by looking for a rhizome. Look at the soil right at the base of the leaves. Some iris will have the rhizome sitting at soil level or even above soil level, as in the picture below. If you don’t see it, remove an inch or two of soil towards the center of the plant.

Can I move irises now?

The best time to divide irises is immediately after they bloom through fall. No need to dig them up now and store unless you are moving, best to keep them in the ground growing until you are ready to divide and replant. Decreased blooming is a definite sign your iris are ready to be divided.

Can I transplant iris now?

Irises can grow from rhizomes or bulbs, depending on the species. October is a little late for transplanting iris but if the weather remains seasonably warm, you should be OK. Ideally, you should transplant them after blooming, from summer into fall.

Can I dig up irises now?

You can dig up anytime after they finish blooming, trim the leaves down into a fan and lay them in a box in a cool dry place. Make sure there are no soft spots or holes in the rhizomes or holes in the leaves (that’s where the borers enter the plant), those are what will kill your iris.

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How long will bulbs last out of the ground?

Most don’t last more than a year out of the ground, and then only if they’re stored properly, although this can vary by species. In general, flower bulbs rot if you don’t get them in the ground soon enough. For this reason, flower bulbs should be planted as soon as possible.

How long can I keep iris rhizomes?

After dividing my irises, I called on friends and family to donate for their beds, but my garage was still full of rhizomes. I have a few friends who want starters for future planting, so I have put them to rest until they could be relocated. If stored properly, the rhizomes will last a year.

How do you store iris bulbs long term?

How To Store Bearded Iris Bulbs?

  1. Dry the roots thoroughly and remove excess soil.
  2. Dust them with an anti-fungal powder.
  3. Wrap each bulb in newspaper and store in a box in a cool dark place.
  4. Check them regularly for any signs of damage.
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