It is time to divide and replant iris

Tom Terry
Master gardener
Pink Iris in full bloom

From now to the end of August is a good time to divide and replant Iris rhizomes. These plants thrive in warm weather and develop new plants after they end their blooming period. When you decide to do this job, you might consider inviting friends and neighbors to assist and they can take home a supply of new rhizomes for their yard.

Iris thrive in the sun and need at least 6 hours of it to do well.  The process is not complicated but if you need some guidance there are several YouTube demonstrations of the procedure that might offer you some tips. Remember that some of them may be from Kansas or Colorado but the procedure is the same.

When beginning you might consider having a shallow box or a pad to place the new plants on. Also you will need a container to receive the old plants and other trash. Use a small spade or garden fork to remove the entire plant from the ground. The original plant will be in the center and new rhizomes will surround it. Remove the new rhizomes and place them in the box. Discard the older plant that was in the center of the growth. 

Before planting the new rhizomes, cut the foliage back to about six inches. One demonstration showed the gardener cutting the foliage into a diamond shape. The soil where the new plants will be placed should be refreshed by digging it. One suggestion is that you prepare a small mound to hold the new plants and arrange the roots around them. It is important that the plant on the mound should have its top only about ¼ inch below the soil. The roots should spread out and be covered with soil. Ideal spacing would be for the plants to be about 12 to 15 inches apart. This will increase the amount of time before this task will be required again.

When you are through planting, water the entire area well and look forward to a beautiful bloom next spring. Then poll your friends and neighbors to see if they would like some of your remaining plants. 

The pink iris in the photograph was planted by Jane Townsend when she lived in the 2300 block of Broadway. It is named for the opera singer, Beverly Sills, who performed at Raley Chapel on the OBU campus 30 or 40 years ago.