How to Store Iris Rhizomes


The iris plant is a popular garden flower that has a late-spring and early-summer blooming period. Iris grow from creeping rhizomes that are able to survive in the ground in most winter climates. Winter storage may be required for some varieties to prevent damage to the rhizomes or in the case the homeowner is moving and wants to take the plant specimen along. Rhizomes that are prepared and stored properly will produce blooms when planted the following spring.

Step 1

Cut iris foliage in late summer or early fall to direct the plant energy stores into the rhizome.

Step 2

Dig iris rhizomes in the fall season prior to the first frost and remove excess soil. Discard rhizomes that appear damaged or diseased to prevent spreading.

Step 3

Place the rhizomes in a dry, frost-free location for several days to dry the rhizomes and remaining foliage. Remove excess foliage once it has dried.

Step 4

Place the rhizomes in a ventilated container filled with dried peat or sand. Do not cover the container or allow the rhizomes to touch.

Step 5

Place the container in an area that is cool, dark and dry for winter storage. A location that is consistently 50 degrees F will work well.

Step 6

Monitor the rhizomes during winter storage to make sure they do not dry out or begin to rot. Remove any rhizomes that have mold. Lightly mist rhizomes that appear dry without making the entire container contents wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant clipper
  • Shovel
  • Ventilated container
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Water mister


  • Iris for Northern Gardens
  • Digging and Storing Iris Bulbs
Keywords: storing iris rhizomes, wintering iris, iris rhizome 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.