Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Time to divide and plant Iris.


With their showy spring flowers, bearded iris are one of those “must have” plants for your garden. Iris are generally low maintenance plants season after season, but over time they can become crowded and they stop producing as many blooms.
That’s an indication they need to be divided and the time to dig and divide iris is now.  
The best tool to use to dig iris roots – called rhizomes, is a spading fork. Spading forks make it easy to get under and lift the rhizome without causing damage to the roots. Once you’ve got the clump of iris out of the ground, you’ll be able to see the rhizomes clearly. You’ll want to remove any old or diseased rhizomes.
You can divide the clump with a knife or by simply breaking off each root with your hand.
Trim the leaves in a fan shape down to between 4" and 6".
Mark the leaves with the name of the iris, so you’ll remember which one it is.
Or add a plant label with the name of the iris. When you’re planting your iris in their new location, remember that iris grow in the direction of the heel so place your rhizomes with the leaves planted in the direction you want the plant to grow. Iris will do okay in clay soils, but they thrive in soils that have been amended, so add a couple of inches of Sheep, Peat and Compost and dig it in 4-5 inches. 
 Add some Bine Meal and place the rhizome so that the roots are fanned out to the side, then add enough soil to cover the roots, while leaving the very top of the rhizome exposed. Water in thoroughly.
Your iris will establish through the fall and be ready to bloom next spring. This is also a good time to add new varieties and colors to your garden.
You can choose from tall beard iris such as Tennison Ridge or iris that bloom spring and fall.
Same planting guidelines apply. Pick a good solid rhizome, amend the soil well, add some Bone Meal and make sure you mark the iris so you’ll remember the name next spring.

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