Give overgrown and poor flowering iris a helping hand for a beautiful spring garden.
You can start transplanting bearded iris about 8 weeks after they finish flowering. Cut the leaves back in a fan shape to about 6 to 8 inches above the ground. Lift the rhizomes and check for borers. These white worm-like insects feed inside of the rhizome causing plants to wilt and eventually die. Remove any damaged, soft, and discolored portions as well as old non-flowering segments before replanting.
Plant the healthy rhizomes 5 inches apart in properly prepared soil. Add several inches of compost or other organic matter to improve the soil. Set the rhizomes just below the soil surface or half buried with the leaves and buds facing upward.
Water thoroughly now and as needed.
And don’t be concerned if your new planting doesn’t flower next spring. Your effort and patience will be rewarded with beautiful blooms the following spring.
A bit more information: Winter mulch can help late plantings survive cold winters. Apply a layer of weed-free straw or evergreen boughs over the plants once the ground freezes.