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

February 1, 2014

Subdividing iris

Iris do great here at The Tropical Paradise. So well in fact, that some years I get tired of tending to the blooms. And they multiply like crazy. In fact, a couple of years ago, I dug them all up and saved just a few bulbs (actually they're rhizomes if you wanna be fussy about it). I gave away a few to my neighbors but, unfortunately, most I just threw away.

If you have had iris for a few seasons, they need subdividing. The main reason to do this is that iris bloom better when they aren't so crowded. And the other reason is to spread the beauty of this plant around to other places of your garden.

This is how you do it:

• Get a nice sharp hand spade, find a clump of leaves and push a clean cut right through the bulb. Then dig carefully all the way around the clump, lift it up and find another place for it.

• Water. Iris like water, and they like standing with their feet wet. I have discovered a part of the garden where water tends to puddle, and that's where I am putting the new subdivisions of iris. Plant iris shallowly, but firmly. Spread some fresh potting soil around, and add some dry fertilizer. Water thoroughly. Then water again. Then go give it some more water.

If you do it right, you will get an "instant effect" of new plants. And even if you do it wrong, and the leaves droop, just cut them back and wait a little bit for new leaves. It will be fine.

Blooms will start to appear in mid-February and will continue through spring.
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