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How to Cut Iris Plants

Iris plants are dependable perennials that will bloom year after year to add beauty and color to any sunny flower garden. With minimal care, irises will return each spring with long thin leaves and tall stems sporting colorful blossoms. After the irises finish blooming for the summer, cut the blooms from the plants. Leave the foliage to continue growing because this will nourish the rhizome to enable the plant to produce more blooms the next growing season.

Watch as your iris plants bloom beautifully in late spring to early summer. Some gardeners enjoy cutting the blooms and using them in floral arrangements. Cut some blooms off with long stems if you wish to use them in an arrangement.

Cut off the blooms after they fade by clipping the stems approximately 6 inches above the rhizomes. Place removed foliage (as long as it was healthy) into a compost bin, if you have one.

Monitor the iris plants as they continue to grow. If you find leaves that appear old and unhealthy, remove them and dispose of them. Do not add this type of foliage to a compost bin.

Allow the remaining foliage to grow throughout the remaining weeks of the summer to provide necessary nourishment to the plant.

Wait until after the first autumn frost and then finish cutting back the remaining foliage. Cut off the foliage so that it resembles a “fan” and is between 8 and 12 inches high. This means that the center stem and leaves will be the highest point of the fan. Cut the leaves on both the left and right of the center stem off at shorter lengths so that the foliage is highest in the center and tapers off at a diagonal on both sides.

Cover the iris rhizomes with 4 inches of sand or 6 inches of straw to insulate the rhizomes over the winter months. Remove the mulch when it begins to warm in the spring.

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