How to Separate Iris Plants

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Bearded irises are perennial plants that don't require much care. Irises grow from thick, fleshy roots called rhizomes. They benefit from being thinned every two to three years to encourage healthy plants with loads of beautiful flowers. The best time of year to separate irises is during the heat of late summer when they are dormant -- August in most gardens.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Planting Bed
  • Garden shears or scissors
  • Cut the leaves of the irises back to about one-third of their current height.

  • Dig deeply under the plant with a shovel and lift up a clump of rhizomes, roots and leaves all at once.

  • Clean the rhizomes with a light spray of water and let them dry.

  • Cut the rhizomes into small sections, each containing up to three buds, one fan of leaves and a generous amount of healthy roots. Discard any diseased or stunted plants.

  • Replant an iris in an area that receives full sun and drains well. Gently spread the roots in the planting hole. Fill the hole to cover the roots all the way up to the rhizome. Position the rhizome at or slightly below soil level.

  • Water the beds thoroughly to settle the soil around the new plants. Irises do not require a large amount of water and suffer if they are kept too wet.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have too many plants for your space, share the bounty of your iris bed with fellow gardeners, friends and neighbors.

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References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
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