Transplanting Iris

Transplanting Iris- A Complete Guide

Transplanting iris is a very easy task. Many people feel the iris bulbs are some of the easiest to transplant.

There are mainly two different types of irises and both can be transplanted with ease. These two types are the bulbous and rhizomatous iris. As per the name, the bulbous types of irises grow from the bulbs. This type contains most of the English and Dutch variety of irises. The rhizomatous types grow from rhizomes. Rhizomes are horizontal stem kind of structures that grow underground. The plant stores the food in these rhizomes. The most common iris is the bearded iris and it falls into this category. So does the beardless Japanese and Siberian iris.

The foliage must have flowered and wilted for the bulbous kind of iris to be transplanted. If you are planning on transplanting iris bulbs, you need to prepare the ground extensively. One has to carefully dig and even fork the ground. Put some manure and compost into the ground. Some general fertilizer will help a lot as well.

The other kind of irises would the rhizomatous irises. The best time to transplant these irises is sometime in the late summer in July and all the way to the end of September. The rhizomatous have one slight problem. After three to four years, the number of plants increases and they form a large clump of plants. These plants produce much lesser flowers than they used to. It is at this time that the clump has to be divided and replanted.

Transplanting iris bulbs will need some special attention. Cut the leaves back to about a third of their entire height. It is a good idea to lift the entire clump and not go plant by plant. This can be achieved using a shovel or a spade. Even a digging fork works fine. The rhizomes have to be separated. One can use a sharp knife and cut each of the rhizomes off. Every new plant or transplant as they are known must have a firm and sturdy rhizome with s large set of roots and leaves. Remove all the older rhizomes and make sure only the fresh rhizomes are present on the plants. It is a good idea to leave some part of the rhizome uncovered by soil. Do not plant the transplants too deep. It is a great idea to dig some organic material in before you plant the transplants.

The holes you dig for these transplants must be about four inches deep. Use a trowel to dig these holes easily. Place the holes around ten inches apart. Place the transplant into these holes and cover with soil. As mentioned earlier, take care to leave some of the rhizomes uncovered. The soil should be thoroughly prepared with good drainage. After transplanting iris, take good care of the plants. Water the plants thoroughly. The iris plants have to be watered at the least twice a week. Take the rain into account and water the plants regularly.


Irises are extremely tough plants. They are drought resistant although, like a plant they thrive when the conditions are right and they get plenty of water. However, they do survive when the water has been scarce, they survive and still bloom. The iris is also a very adaptable plant. You can plant it in full sunshine or even partial shade. They grow just fin irrespective of the amount of sunshine they receive.

One has to regularly trim the iris plant after it blooms. This gives room to other plants near the clump and enables them to get more sunlight. However, this trimming does not seem to affect the irises. They come back every year with the same energy and the same beautiful blossoms.