How to Divide Bearded Irises


Bearded Irises are tall, lovely perennials that grow from rhizomes. They are hardy in zones 3 to 10 and require full sun. These plants need to be divided every three to four years so they don't get overcrowded which decreases flowering.

Dividing Iris

Step 1

Irises should be divided in July or August when they are no longer flowering. With a spade, carefully dig out a clump of the root-like rhizomes.

Step 2

Clear off the dirt and snip the leaves to about 6 inches with garden snips or shears.

Step 3

With a knife, cut the rhizomes apart so you have one fan of leaves, a healthy section of the rhizome and good-looking roots. Discard any dead or diseased portions of the rhizomes.

Step 4

Dig a new hole with the spade large enough for the rhizome and its roots. Create a mound of dirt in the middle and place the rhizome clump on top, spreading the roots into the hole. Cover the rhizome with soil. The rhizome should be just barely under the surface of the soil.

Step 5

Space the divisions 1 to 2 feet apart. Groupings of three or four plants are ideal. After planting, water generously.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Garden scissors or snips
  • Knife


  • "New Complete Guide to Gardening;" Susan Roth; 1997
  • "Perennials;" Time-Life Books; 1977
  • Dividing Bearded Iris
Keywords: dividing bearded iris, bearded iris dividing, dividing irises

About this Author

Sonia Acone is a full-time freelance writer in northeast Pennsylvania. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and is currently writing children's picture books, as well as online content and book reviews for the Picnic She holds a bachelor's degree in English and professional writing.