Remember how beautiful your irises were just a month or so ago? Mine were. Now they are ratty looking. They are looking tired and are browning. That is as it should be. In my area, that is a good time to think about making more irises by dividing them.
Are you dividing bearded irises this year? You really should about every two or three years. Remember that prize iris you paid a mint for a couple of years ago? It is now a colony of fifteen tubers. OK, that is an exaggeration, but you really could have 6 or 7 tubers. Time to divide them, replant and share with your friends.
Right now I am in the middle of dividing all of my irises, so I thought I would talk a bit about how to divide and replant irises. But first, a look back on how lovely the irises I have were just a little over a month ago..
I have about 40-50 different varietits. These are just a few of them.
A few more.
So getting down to business.
How to Divide Irises
1. You should lift the entire clump out with a pitchfork.
2. Split the clump into several smaller pieces.
3. Discard pieces that are damaged or rotten. If the damaged part is small, you can cut it out and dip in weak bleach solution.
4. Also discard the part that produced a bloom as it will not bloom again, unless there are still good babies that are too small to divide yet.
5. Give away tubers to your friends.
6. Trim back the foliage, leaving as much as you can to photosynthesize.
7. Replant the tubers into soil which has been amended with organic matter. They should be planted shallowly so that top of tuber is at or near soil surface. (irises often won’t bloom if they are planted too deep.
8. It is good to plant three or four in a “wheel” shape, foliage facing out. Plant these at least a foot to two apart.
9. You should plant them no later than 4 to 6 weeks before first frost date.
Here is also a brief video that shows the process of dividing irises.
I hope this has been helpful. One of the wonderful things about dividing irises or any other plant is that you get to expand your collection of plants in your garden, and your friends get to benefit from any you want to give away.