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How to Store Iris Rhizomes

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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 Will Need

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


  • Store iris rhizomes by transplanting them into growing containers and winter them indoors.
  • Iris rhizomes will winter outdoors in most growing locations. Cut the iris foliage to 6 inches after the first killing frost in the fall. Apply 4 to 6 inches of mulch over the soil bed and leave in place until all snow and ice has melted in spring.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.