How to Care for the Iris Flower


The name Iris translates to "rainbow" and the Greek goddess that is the Messenger of Love. They are an ideal addition to any garden, and can come in blue, purple, yellow, white, orange, pink, red, black and brown (there are over 200 species). The habitat of the iris varies widely, so they can be grown pretty much anywhere. In North America, the Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris are two of the most common types of iris grown. There are some key tips to keep in mind when caring for an iris flower.

Step 1

Make sure the soil conditions where you are going to plant the iris flower are good quality and well-drained. Add a mixture of compost and peat moss thoroughly into the top four to six inches of soil. If the soil is heavy, add some drainage material such as gravel or broken pottery into the planting hole.

Step 2

Layer some compost that is about one-third inch thick around the base of plants each spring, leaving the rhizome exposed. Cut back the iris flower stalks as the blooms die away to the base of the plant with some pruning scissors.

Step 3

Trim away dead foliage each fall, and also cut back the remaining healthy leaves to about four inches tall. In winter when the soil is hard and frozen, add a layer of mulch that is about half an inch thick. This helps prevent the roots from moving out of the soil during freezing and thawing periods.

Step 4

Divide bearded iris (if this is the variety you have) every four years during late summer to early fall. Make sure each division has one or two leaf fans. Discard of any older, more mature rhizomes that have few white feeding roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Drainage materials
  • Pruning scissors
  • Mulch


  • Iris Information
  • Caring for an Iris Flower
Keywords: iris flower care, iris bulbs, growing iris

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.