How to Care for Iris Bulbs

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In order to care for iris bulbs, store them in paper bags by making sure that they don't get too wet or dry. Discover why the greens of iris bulbs should be cut off before the bulbs are stored with help from a sustainable gardener in this free video on caring for iris bulbs.

Part of the Video Series: Flower Bulbs
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Video Transcript

Hi! This is Yolanda Vanveen from And in this segment we're going to talk about how to care for iris bulbs, some of my favorite plants in the world. Now, there's 1,500 types of irises. So depending on the variety of irises it depends on how you care for 'em. There's many different types of irises and so depending on the bulb it depends on how you take care of 'em. Now, the first family of irises are the Dutch irises and they look just like a tulip bulb or a daffodil bulb and so they bloom every spring and you can store 'em just in black pasta crates and paper bags or right and soil, and so you want to make sure they're not too wet or too dry and you plant them about three inches deep when you plant them in groups of three or more. Then there's the different type of rooted irises like the Japanese irises and the Siberian irises and the Louisiana irises and any type of irises with roots I found like to be really wet. So they're hard to store out of the ground so you want to make sure and store 'em in wet newspaper or keep 'em actually in buckets of water so that they're wet at all times because if they dry up you'll lose 'em and if they're too wet they'll mold, too, so you going to have to check on them all the time. And so when you're storing any type of bulb, my rule of thumb, too, is cut off the greens. It's much easier and just keep the root on the moist side. You can always just store them right in soil that's probably the easiest bet yet. Just put it in nice potting soil or compost and plastic and in that way they'll store really well. Now, there's the bearded irises. Now, bearded irises are different as well and they have the real frilly flowers. Now, their bulbs are easy to grow 'cos you can just throw 'em on top of the ground, little root in and they'll start growing with hardly any soil at all. But I still like to put a couple inches of dirt on top and keep 'em in full sun with good drainage. See if they get too wet they'll rot right out whereas the Japanese irises stick right in the bucket of water. So these guys you want to keep 'em in a paper bag, you want to keep 'em in a box or like this plastic bin where they're getting lots of air, you want to wrap 'em in newspaper anyway that you want to store it, dahlia, but yet you don't want to let them get too dry either so you can always add some moisture to 'em, too, if they get too dry. So no matter what type of iris you are storing, just check on them. If they look too dry add some moisture, add some wet soil. If they look too wet, dry 'em up, put 'em in a paper box and my rule of thumb, too, is to plant 'em as soon as possible. Iris are really hearty, they can go to minus 40, minus 50 degrees so you really don't need to store 'em for very long. So you can leave 'em in the ground even in the coldest of climates and if you live in a warm climate, you just throw 'em in the paper bag and put them in the refrigerator, for three months of the year, you can put them back outside and they'll bloom every spring again. So iris are a great plant to add to your garden and very easy to divide and store.


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