How to Plant Bearded Irises

by Daisy

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In my last post, I gave the steps to digging and dividing and getting bearded iris rhizomes into shape for replanting.

Now it’s time to plant them.

Make a planting hole about 3 inches deep and six inches around. Place a mound of soil in the center, high enough so the rhizome will sit with about 1/3 of the height of the rhizome above the soil. You can’t see very well in this photo, but it looks like an island inside a moat.


Put the rhizome on the mound and fan the roots out around the mound.

Cover with soil, leaving part of the rhizome showing above the soil level. In the US South where I live, if the rhizome is completely covered, it will not bloom. Further north, the rhizome can tolerate more coverage.

Firm the soil and water in.

Space the plants 14 to 18 inches apart. You can also use the clump method, placing the irises in a triangular formation about 6 inches apart, “feet” facing each other:


It’s a way to plant in a more compact space and is a good way to form naturalized-looking clumps of like colors in a combined planting with clumps of other colors. Does that make any sense? I’m starting to confuse myself a little bit. With this method, you will need to divide them a bit more often than with more spaced-out plantings.

Do not mulch, unless you’re in a cold climate. In that case, remove the mulch after winter is over.

You will see new growth and the old (trimmed) leaves will brown and fall away.  In a few weeks they will look like this:


New roots and leaves will have grown and you should see happier irises and beautiful blooms in the late spring, after the daffs and the tulips.

After blooming, break off the seedpods.

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ivory Soap September 23, 2013 at 8:17 am

Gersh, you’re bloggerrific! Thank you so much. (Says the lady in the homeschool cave.)

Daisy September 23, 2013 at 8:27 am

Hellooooooo in there there there there!!!

Cherry Fowler September 25, 2013 at 3:43 am

Hi Deanna,

I loved the book and shared it with friends. Would love to hear from you if you get a chance. Cherry

Carol September 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Great and timely advice on replanting the iris. Will use this well! Thanks!

Kellen March 3, 2014 at 10:44 am

I would like to use the first photo in this post in a book as an example of iris rhizomes.
Your permission to use the photo would be greatly appreciated.
If you would like more information about the book or the use of the image, please contact me at:
Thank you for your time.

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