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How to Prune Water Iris

Water iris is a group of flowering iris that can grow well and thrive in either moist to boggy soil or in shallow water up to 3 inches over the crown of the plant. There are several iris cultivars that have this planting flexibility including iris laevigata and iris pseudacorus. They should be pruned in the summer or early fall after blooming only as needed to deadhead spent flowers or remove damaged or diseased foliage.

Remove wilted iris flower heads on their short stalks after the bloom has faded and begun to die back. Repeat this process throughout the growing season to keep the stand looking tidy. Place the cut just at the bottom of the flower stalk but leave the surrounding and lower foliage that encases the flower stem in place. Lift the cut spent flower heads out of the plant canopy and compost or discard.

Prune water iris foliage that is damaged, appears diseased or is discolored by cutting just the damaged leaf down to the crown of the plant. Leave all healthy foliage in place to capture sunlight and feed the underground rhizome. Pull the ailing leaves that have been cut from the plant and discard in the trash to prevent the spread of disease or pest activity.

Prune water iris foliage down to one half to one third of the plant height before digging and dividing the rhizomes in the early fall. This will reduce stress, shock and die back once the rhizomes are transplanted in their new location.

Water An Iris Seed

Soak the iris seed in water in a shallow tray for two weeks, changing the water daily to prevent stagnation. Iris seeds naturally come with a germination-inhibiting coating, and soaking helps remove this coating so the seed can sprout. Remove the soaked iris seed after 14 days of soaking and empty out the shallow tray. This helps sterilize the seed surface to prevent rotting, mold growth and other problems. Fill a standard 4-inch pot with sterile potting mix. Plant the iris seed in the pot after the 14 weeks are over, burying the seed 1/2 inch into the sterile potting mix. Water the iris seed until water drips from the pot's bottom drainage holes. This signals that the internal potting mix is consistently moist all the way through. This traps the moisture in the potting soil. Set the pot in a shallow tray and fill the tray with water. After approximately seven to 10 days, the iris will sprout.

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