How To Plant Iris Bulbs In A Garden Or Pot (Do This!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Irises are big and beautiful plants that come in over three hundred varieties. Irises range in size and color and are an excellent perennial addition to any garden or landscape. Adding irises is a great way to help control moisture in the garden and invite some beautiful coloration to your space.

Irises form in bulbs, which should be planted in the early spring. Plant bulbs with the roots pointed downward and separated to allow the root ball to spread out. Irises should be covered and packed tightly with soil, but never mulch. This plant loves a good drink of water, but the plant’s bulb root system can make it prone to mold and rot.

This plant will flourish in several conditions and will continue to spread given available space. This plant must be divided about every two to five years to keep the plants healthy and blossoming. Make it a regular habit to divide your growing iris bulbs and transplant the new bulbs to different sections of the garden. This flower is a long-standing, sustainable plant that will bring plenty of beauty and enjoyment to your garden year after year.

Do You Need Landscaping Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

How Do I Plant An Iris Bulb?

Planting an iris bulb is easy and can be completed in just a few minutes. Preparing the bulb and soil ahead of time will help to ensure your flower grows healthy and strong. To plant an iris bulb, you must:

Step 1: Position the Bulb

The iris bulb will have roots at one end and a green and leafy top at the other. To plant the iris bulb properly, you want to make sure the roots are pointed down toward the soil.

Step 2: Dig a Hole

Your iris should be planted in a hole about 4 inches deep. This depth will be deep enough to expose the bulb’s top and keep the root firmly planted. For light and sandy soil, plant the bulb in a slightly shallower hole, around 3 inches.

Step 3: Make a Ridge

Once your hole is dug, you must build a center ridge made of soil at the bottom of the hole. Slightly mound the soil up in a ridge extending the entire width of your hole.

Step 4: Separate the Roots

Next, you want to hold the bulb with the roots at the bottom. Split the roots in half, positioning half the roots to the bulb’s left, and a half to the right.

Step 5: Plant the Bulb

Place the iris bulb into the hole with the roots (now separated), straddling the ridge you created at the bottom of the hole. This planting method will give the roots plenty of room to spread out and grow in the garden.

Step 6: Pack the Soil

Lastly, fill in the hole and firmly pack the soil. Ensure the root is completely covered, but the top of the plant with the leafy greens is left exposed out of the hole. Give the plant plenty of water, but do not add mulch to the new plant.

How Far Apart Should I Plant Iris Bulbs?

Irises are fast-growing plants that will spread with the right conditions. This flower is a large plant that will need plenty of room to flourish. Depending on the size of your iris and the particular variety you are planting, you should plant your bulbs about one to two feet apart. Irises will continue to grow and spread, producing new bulbs that can be dug up and divided into other areas of your garden. It usually takes two to five years to have your irises fill a space within your garden.

How Many Iris Bulbs Should Go In A Hole?

Irises do well when they are planted in small clusters. Depending on the type of iris you have and its size, it is best to put clusters of three bulbs together in a single hole. Keeping the irises together in a cluster will help develop stronger and healthier plants. Alternatively, if you have a special variety of iris, it is acceptable to plant just a single bulb in one hole.

How Do I Plant Irises From Seed Pods?

You will often notice a seed pod develop in your iris after the flower has bloomed. It is possible to grow an iris plant from these tiny seeds housed in the seed pod. To produce an iris from the seed pod, you must:

Step 1: Soak the Seeds

Soak the seed pod in water for about two weeks to get the seeds to come out of the pod naturally. Change the water periodically to prevent stagnation.

Step 2: Disinfect

Soak the seeds in a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water. This mixture will help remove any mold that has developed on the seeds. Keep the seeds in the solution for about thirty minutes.

Step 3: Winterize

Wrap the seeds in wet cheesecloth and leave the seeds in the refrigerator for 14 weeks. This transition to the cold will simulate winter conditions and get the seeds ready to grow in the spring.

Step 4: Germinate Seedlings

Plant the seeds about 1/2 inch deep in a small pot with planting soil. Cover the top of the pot with plastic wrap for about ten days to keep moisture trapped in the pot.

Step 5: Plant Outside

When the seedlings sprout, transfer them to the garden to enjoy fresh new iris flowers this spring.

How To Plant Irises from Existing Bulbs

Irises are fast-growing plants that can spread if given suitable space and conditions. If you notice that your irises have stopped blooming, it may be because they are overcrowded. Iris bulbs need to be divided about every two to five years to give your plants plenty of room to grow with all the resources and nutrients they need. If you need to divide your iris bulbs, follow the below steps:

Step 1: Dig Up Existing Iris Bulbs

After blooming, usually in the late summer, dig up the loose soil around your iris bulb. You should notice one main bulb and several smaller off-shoots coming off of the central bulb. Sometimes the center bulb is called the “mother” bulb.

Step 2: Divide the Bulbs

Using a sharp knife, separate the smaller bulbs from the largest central bulb. You can now discard the main bulb because it will no longer produce blooms.

Step 3: Inspect and Clean

Now is an excellent time to inspect the bulb, looking for signs of damage, insect infestation, or rot. If you notice damage, discard the infected portion of the bulb.

Step 4: Replant the Bulb

Trim the foliage of the iris down to just a few inches high, so it will just slightly stick above the soil. Carefully move and transplant the new smaller bulbs to a new part of your garden and watch your irises continue to bloom and spread. This process should be repeated every two to five years to keep your irises thriving.

What Do Irises Need to Thrive?

Irises are hardy plants that do well in full-sun gardens. These plants return year after year and fill your garden with rich colors and big blooms. Irises like plenty of water, and it is essential to keep these plants well hydrated. Because they are bulb-based plants, they are prone to rot and mold. Be careful not to mulch the areas where irises are growing because this can retain too much water, promoting mold.

The iris has long leafy greens, which need to be cut back in the fall. Cut the plants back, so just a few inches of the foliage stands over the earth. This flower likes to have plenty of space to spread out and grow. Be sure to make a routine out of regularly dividing and planting your iris bulbs. With plenty of renewed space to spread out and grow, your irises will continue to flourish with minimal maintenance.

Do You Need Landscaping Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

What Colors of Iris Are Available?

While the deep purple or bearded iris is commonly found in gardens throughout the country, the truth is that irises come in a stunning variety of colors. Irises are available in every color of the rainbow ranging from yellow to orange to blue and deep red. There are even black irises available.Choose to mix and match your iris colors, or select your favorite color to fill your garden. The iris has about 200 different species, so it is possible to find just the right color and size for your garden application.

What Can I Plant With Irises?

Irises are beautiful perennial plants that can dominate a garden. This plant requires full sun and will bloom in the early summer. The iris can be a bossy plant and spreads quickly through the garden, but some companion flowers will grow nicely alongside the iris. Consider planting columbine, daffodil, and tulips next to irises. These plants are also all perennials and like similar sun conditions. Further, these plants also spread nicely and will not out-compete the iris for resources.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

More by Upgraded Home Team