I divided my first irises! This is exciting because 2 years ago I didn't know an Iris from a dahlia; and after dividing them all I became the proud owner of about 30 tall purple bearded irises.
This all happened last weekend when the weather was luckily much cooler than the 100 heat index we're having now. My dear neighbor said to divide them after they bloom; and I followed the dividing directions from my book North America's Favorite Plants.
The large grouping of Irises are in the backyard underneath the kitchen window. The last 2 years they have bloomed beautifully, but only a few of them bloom and they fall over. we staked them this year and it helped, but I read in the Tribune that they need dividing if they're all jumbled and falling over. So I went ahead last weekend and started dividing. The picture to the left are when they were in bloom.
1) Here's what it looked like when I started:
2) First I pulled them all out of the ground and noticed that there were just massive rhizomes growing. It was very crowded and I have a ton of roly pollys in the dirt (I have no idea if they are good or bad for the plants)
3) I cut the rhizomes apart, discarded diseased looking things like the book said and then I was left with about 30 or so individual plants. You can see where I was sitting in the circle of cut plants!!
I did find some rotting in the rhizomes, like holes where insects ate the plants. Case in point, the picture here:
4) Fianlly, I chose the stalks I wanted to keep, cut them back and replanted them. I planted 9 in the old spot and then planted clusters of 3 throughout the front and backyard giving the rest to my mom. I hope she's planted hers!!
The only problem I am finding now is that they keep falling over because I read they the rhizomes should be close to the surface. I find myself every few days, replanting them.