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Irises-Have-Never-Bloomed.jpg

Irises Have Never Bloomed

My irises come up each spring and produce nice green foliage. But they’ve never bloomed. What can I do to coax them into flowering?

Shade and overcrowding are the most common culprits when irises won’t bloom. If your irises aren’t in full sun, move them to a brighter spot. If that’s not the problem, you many need to dig up and divide your plants. The best time to do this is 6 to 8 weeks after they’ve finished flowering (or should have flowered).

Cut back the leaves so they’re 6 inches tall, creating a curved fan shape with the remaining foliage. This process makes them easier to handle, reduces water loss and improves their appearance. Use a sharp knife to cut the iris rhizomes, the bulb-like roots, into smaller pieces. There should be at least one fan of leaves per division. Discard old leafless rhizomes or those that appear damaged or insect-infested.

Replant rhizome just barely below the soil surface. Plant individually or in groups of three. Face the fan of leaves away from the center of the grouping. Set rhizomes 6 to 24 inches apart with the leaf fans facing outward. Smaller cultivars can be set at the closer spacing and larger, fast growing cultivars should be spaced further apart. Some gardeners plant the rhizomes back-to-back for quicker fill. Keep in mind the closer your plant the divisions the sooner they will need dividing. Now be patient. The iris divisions may not bloom until the second spring after transplanting.

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