There are so many iris varieties available, finding one for your garden design isn't difficult. Irises are available in a range of colors, from deep purples to pale yellows. The plants come in dwarf types that are only a few inches high to towering iris that grow 3 feet or taller and sport large, drooping blooms. Iris should only be planted outside when all frost danger is past in spring, so storage of the bulbs may be necessary if you receive them too early in the season. Once established, the iris can overwinter in the garden with no concerns.
Inspect the iris bulbs, which are actually root sections called rhizomes, for signs of rot or disease. Discard any that have open wounds or soft spots, as well as those that crumble when you apply light pressure to them.
Fill a bowl with an iris root dust or sulfur dust, available at garden supply stores. Place the iris bulbs in the dust and coat all sides. Dusting prevents insect and disease infestations during storage.
Fill a paper bag with dry peat moss. Bury the iris bulbs in the peat, placing them so they are not touching one another. Fold the top of the bag over loosely to seal.
Store the bag in a dark, well-ventilated area with a temperature of 35 degrees Fahrenheit. A basement or unheated garage works well. Hang the bag if possible to prevent rodents and other pests from accessing the iris.
Check the iris bulbs once monthly during storage. Dispose of any roots that have begun to show soft spots or disease so it does not spread to the healthy bulbs.