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How to Cut Iris Flowers

By Suzie Faloon ; Updated September 21, 2017

The iris is a delicate cut flower that can stand alone in a bud vase or fit into a full floral arrangement. Iris has been used in wedding bouquets, decorative altar baskets and arbors. The Iris is a comforting touch in funeral arrangements, including the casket piece. Take care when cutting an iris as the stem is like a hollow tube. Too much pressure when cutting the stem will crush or bend it, destroying the ability for it absorb water. Cut iris flowers with a sharp, non-serrated knife or shears. The best time to cut iris from a flower bed is early in the morning or late at night when it has had a chance to recover from the heat of the day and fill with moisture.

Pour warm water at 100 degrees F. into a 14 quart to 2-1/2 gallon bucket until it is half full and mix in 50 grams of floral preservative. Iris drink a lot of water and will need to absorb moisture immediately.

Inspect and choose the stems with iris buds or flowers that are just beginning to blossom. Make sure there are no tears or ruined petals on the blossoms.

Hold the stem close to the bottom near the area where it grows from the plant. Hold a knife or scissor blades in the other hand and cut the stem at an angle. Be careful to pull the flower stem up and away from the plant so as not to bruise the emerging blossoms.

Place the cut stem directly into the bucket of warm water. Cut the remaining stems and take the bucket of flowers to a cool room or refrigerator for them to rest and drink for at least two hours.

Hold the stems under running water and cut them at an angle to the length needed for your flower vase or arrangement. The angular cut gives a larger area for the stem to absorb the water. Immediately place them in a vase of warm water or well-soaked floral foam.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden shears or sharp knife
  • Floral preservative


  • Cut down the stem and away from your body to prevent injuring yourself when cutting the iris stem.


  • Do not cut fully opened flowers as Iris blossoms are short-lived.
  • Do not use water that has a softener added to it.

About the Author


Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written online content for various websites. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Children's Literature course in 1988.