Planting and Caring for Iris


  • -It is recommended to plant irises in late summer to early fall, when nighttime temperatures remain between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above. This gives them plenty of time to get established before winter.
  • -You can plant and divide iris in the spring, however they may not bloom the first year. It’s better to get them in the ground rather than wait until the ideal time.


  • -Irises will bloom best in full sun, although they can tolerate as little as half a day of sun. Without enough light, they will not bloom.
  • -Bearded irises must not be shaded out by other plants and do best in a bed on their own.
  • -They prefer fertile, neutral to slightly acidic soil, however they are hardy and can grow in most soil.
  • -Good drainage all year-long is very important; irises prefer “wet feet, but dry knees.”
  • -We always recommend loosening the soil with a tiller or garden fork to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. This provides a good bed to plant your iris.


    • -If the bulb is dry when you receive it, soak it in water for between 5-10 minutes to wake it up
    • -For bare-root irises, plant the rhizome horizontally with the top exposed. In climates with hot summers, plant the rhizome just below the soil surface. 
    • -Plant rhizomes singly or in groups of three, 1 to 2 feet apart, depending on the size.
    • -Dig a shallow hole 10 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep. Make a ridge of soil down the middle and place the rhizome on the ridge, spreading any roots down both sides. Fill the hole with soil and firm it gently, leaving part of the rhizome and the foliage uncovered.
    • -It is easy to make the mistake of planting irises too deeply. The rhizomes of these plants should be partially exposed to the elements, or thinly covered with soil in hot climates.
    • -Do not mulch around the rhizome as this practice may encourage rot.
    • -Water thoroughly.