How to Divide Bearded Irises

Division is the easiest method of making new plants.

Bearded Iris Most Common Rhizomatic Plant

Bearded Iris Most Common Rhizomatic Plant

Rhizomes are fat underground stems that grow horizontally. They creep along just under the soil surface and sprout stems and leaves upward, and roots downward, all along the length of them. Rhizomes can be propagated by cutting them into sections.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 1: Split and Trim

Dividing Irises

Dividing Irises

When dividing irises split rhizomes into sections, so that each has healthy shoots and good roots.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Split the rhizomes into sections, so that each has healthy shoots and good roots. Trim off the older sections farthest from the leaves with a knife, and dust cut surfaces with fungicide.

Step 2: Cut Back Leaves

Cut Back Leaves

Cut Back Leaves

When dividing bearded irises, trim long roots back by one-third and cut leaves to about 6 inches. Shorter stems will reduce rocking by the wind, keeping the replanting section stable.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Trim long roots back by one-third, and cut leaves to about 6 in (15 cm). This will reduce rocking by the wind, keeping the replanted section stable until it develops strong, anchoring roots. Replant the sections at the same depth as before in well-prepared ground, spaced about 5 in (12 cm) apart. Firm in, level, and water well.

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