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How to Transplant Bearded Iris

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How to Transplant Bearded Iris

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Bearded iris is a rhizome growing plant that produce large flowers in most colors except red. The plants bloom in late spring to early summer prior to the blooming of most other garden plants, which will give your garden an early color burst. Iris are drought resistant once they become established after the first year of planting and do not require water other than normal rainfall unless severe drought conditions are present.

Transplanting Iris

Step 1

Move and transplant the iris rhizomes in the fall season after blooming is complete.

Step 2

Prepare the new planting location by tilling compost or processed manure into the soil at a rate of one-third compost to two-thirds soil.

Step 3

Add a rose type fertilizer to the soil at the time of planting by mixing it thoroughly into the soil.

Step 4

Remove the rhizomes from their location by gently digging six inches out from the rhizomes. Gently lift the rhizomes from the ground and remove excess soil.

Step 5

Dig a shallow hole in the new location and place the rhizomes so the roots are spread down and outward. The rhizome point should be facing towards the front of the flower bed.

Step 6

Lightly cover the rhizomes with soil. Plant rhizome clumps so they are spaced one to two feet apart. Water the clumps thoroughly after planting and continue to water several times a week for two weeks as this will assist with establishing the new plants.

Dividing Iris

Step 1

Dig around the rhizome clump approximately six inches out. Gently lift the plant out of the ground.

Step 2

Remove soil from the rhizomes by rinsing with a garden hose.

Step 3

Divide rhizomes by cutting through the clump with a sharp knife to form single plants that have one leaf fan. Remove old or soft rhizomes.

Step 4

Dry the rhizomes for 24 hours to seal the cuts. Plant the rhizomes in a new or existing location following the steps given for Transplanting Iris.

Step 5

Water the rhizomes thoroughly after planting and for the following two weeks. This will assist with establishing the root structure.

Things You'll Need

  • Iris rhizomes
  • Tiller
  • Compost
  • Rose type fertilizer
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Sharp knife


  • Bearded Iris
  • Bearded Iris Care
Keywords: transplanting bearded iris, how to divide iris, iris care

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.