How to Care for Iris Plants

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Iris plants are usually evergreen and produce showy flowers. They are versatile and inexpensive, growing beautifully beneath trees and shrubs. Iris plants produce fragrant blue, rosy purple, yellow or white flowers. The leaves are gray-green on some varieties, and yellow or cream on others. Iris plants are easy to grow, but do best in sunny locations with some shade. Give them the food and water they need and enjoy their beauty in your garden during late spring and summer months.

Step 1

Water your iris plants with infrequent soakings--once a week-- rather than many shallow waterings. Do this right after planting to help young root systems establish themselves properly.

Step 2

Apply a thin layer of low nitrogen fertilizer right after planting and again after the first bloom. Purchase a pound bag of dry fertilizer at any home and garden store.

Step 3

Thin the iris plants with garden snips every 3 years to prevent the plants from crowding each other out. Cut out the old divided clumps with the snips from the center of the plants to prevent removing new growth.

Step 4

Remove all brown and diseased leaves by pinching them off with your fingers. Use garden snips to prune the flowering stems to the ground after the blooms have died. Cut back the healthy leaves to 6 inches in late fall using the snips.

Step 5

Cover your newly planted iris plants during cold winters to protect them. Use straw, soil, leaves or pine needles. Remove the cover in spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Iris plants do not require much water. Be careful not to over-water them. High nitrogen fertilizers can cause plant rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden gloves
  • Garden shovel
  • Garden snips
  • Dry low nitrogen fertilizer


  • Schreiner's Iris Gardens

Who Can Help

  • Caring for Your Iris
Keywords: iris plants, iris flowers, iris care

About this Author

Lacy Enderson received an AA Degree in Behavioral Science and a BS Degree in Religion/Psychology. Lacy is the author of, "Addiction: A Personal Story" and "So You Want To Lose Weight But You Can't Stop Eating." Her articles have appeared in Discipleship Journal and

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