Dividing and replanting bearded irises

An oftenly criticized feature of modern bearded irises is the dividing of clumps, which becomes necessary every 3 or 4 years. The entire clump has to be taken out of the bed whereupon the rhizomes are rejuvenated by cutting off old pedicels and rhizome pieces.

But dividing bearded irises isn't just a chore - the whole procedure does also have  advantages:

Your irises won't grow together and you can easily multiply them.

The following 10 steps will show you how to divide your bearded irises fast and thoroughly.

1. Lifting - Use a spade or a garden fork for digging out irises - iriszucht.de

1. Lifting

Although it might look as if the rhizomes are only lying on the soil, they are deeply rooted. You should keep that in mind while lifting the clumps. So do not  spade too close to the rhizome.

2. Taking the plant - Pulling an iris out of the soil - iriszucht.de

2. Taking the plant

If the roots appear you can grab the plant and pull it out of the soil.

3. Shaking off soil - Freeing irises from redundant soil - iriszucht.de

3. Shaking off soil

If you order any irises, you will receive bare-root plants. In your own garden it's enough to just shake the soil off. - You don't have to wash it.

4. Collecting the plants - Heaping dug out irises - iriszucht.de

4. Collecting the plants

It's to be recommended to dig out all plants of one variety before continuing with the next steps just to save yourself from getting mixed up with more than one variety. Be also mindful of taking the label (if exisitng) of your iris.

5. Cutting off old rhizomes - It's importent for rejuvenating irises - iriszucht.de

5. Cutting off old rhizomes

In order to get single, healthy plants you cut off old rhizomes. 

6. Trimming roots - Shorten the roots to stimulate new root growth - iriszucht.de

6. Trimming roots

To stimulate new root growth, the roots should be shortened.

7. Trimming foliage - Pruning the leaves of an iris to compensate root trimming - iriszucht.de

7. Trimming foliage

Because the shortened roots can't provide the whole foliage with sufficient nutrients and water, the foliage has to be taperingly pruned. That saves the  sprout in the middle of the foliage.

Irises - Ready to be planted - iriszucht.de

That's what your irises should look like after first care. - Now they are ready to be planted again.

8. Preparing soil - Amelioration of soil with sand and compost - iriszucht.de

8. Preparing soil

Bearded irises need good drainage and every now and again some compost for a healthy and strong growth. So if necessary you should mix some sand and compost into the soil.

9. Planting - Pricking in of an iris - iriszucht.de

9. Planting

Now the iris can be planted into the mixed substrate. In order to optimize the drain you can plant it slightly elevated. And don't forget labeling!

10. Watering - Watering of a freshly planted iris - iriszucht.de

10. Watering

Even if bearded irises else don't have to be watered, it's importent after planting, because the roots must be encompassed by soil.

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