How to Prune Iris Plants


Iris, a genus of perennial flowering bulbs in the lily order, bloom in the spring and summer in a wide array of hues and sizes. The timing and technique of pruning iris depends on your goal. Iris can be harvested at their peak of bud or bloom for use in cut flower arrangements, deadheaded when fading or allowed to die back in situ to produce seed heads.

Step 1

Harvest iris flowers just the buds begin to open until the peak of open bloom for use in the home as cut flowers. Cut the flower stalk down at the crown of the plant and plunge into fresh, clear water immediately.

Step 2

Allow spent flowers to remain on the plant undisturbed to develop into seed heads in the fall. Cut the seed heads down at their base in the early spring to make way for new growth. Prevent seed heads from forming by deadheading fading iris flowers cutting the stem down at the crown of the plant and pulling the stem from the clump.

Step 3

Shear down the dead iris plant top foliage in the winter or early spring to make way for new green growth.

Step 4

Prune away iris foliage to control the shape and size of the plant clump as needed in the early fall after flowering.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs


  • University of Minnesota
Keywords: iris flowers, summer flowering bulb, prune harvest cut back

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.