How do you care for iris bulbs?


Quick Answer

Iris plants produce delicate blooms and require minimal maintenance throughout the year. Items needed to care for iris bulbs include bypass pruners, a shovel and fertilizer. Careful pruning, regular division and attention to soil fertility will all help keep irises in peak condition./

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Full Answer

  1. Plant the iris

    Plant irises in a spot where they will receive sun throughout the day. Plant them 16 to 18 inches apart, and water them well. Don't apply mulch, because mulch retains too much water.

  2. Cut iris blooms

    As blooms begin to wilt, use bypass pruners to cut them from the stalk. Do this before they become papery. In the fall, prune the plant back to very near the base.

  3. Divide the iris

    Divide iris clumps every 3 to 5 years. Dig the clumps, being careful not to cut the rhizomes. Pull the rhizomes apart by hand to ensure this. Rhizomes with no leaves can be thrown away. Wash the soil from each rhizome, and inspect for worms. If a worm is found, kill it. Rhizomes that appear dead or diseased should be discarded. Clip leaf blades back to 4 to 6 inches, then replant each segment. The top of each rhizome should be visible, and segments should be planted 12 to 18 inches apart.

  4. Fertilize and cut back

    Apply fertilizer 6 inches away from the rhizome, and water the plant. Cut the foliage back to 6 inches above the ground in the fall.

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