This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

April 10, 2013

Why your iris aren't blooming, and how to fix it

Once a clump of iris gets too crowded, it stops blooming. No matter how much water or fertilizer, or whatever you do, won't help. You will need to subdivide and replant. This is how you do it:

• Dig the whole clump up, if possible. When you do that, you will find that where there had once been only a handful of bulbs there are now dozens, all jammed together. Pull them apart and set them aside. Cut the leaves back to the fan shape as in the photo.

• Pour in some fresh potting soil in the hole, along with some plant food. I add some moisture crystals, too, but that's not absolutely necessary. Plant the bulbs shallowly, with the leaves sticking up. Firm in gently, water well, and stand back!

Be sure to plant in a sunny area, and give as much water as you want. Iris bloom best when their "feet are wet", so keep them well watered. Give them a little bit of Miracle Grow with a hose-end sprayer to help them along.

After the blooms are spent, do nothing. Unlike other bulbs, iris leaves won't die back. They will just keep growing and adding more bulbs. In a couple of years, the clump will stop blooming and you will need to do this process again. Save some of the bulbs for me!

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