Rainbow of bearded iris

How is your garden looking this summer? At some point, you will notice that some of your flowers slow down or stop blooming. At that point, dividing Irises and Daylilies (as well as other rhizomes), to promote better health and prolific blooming next spring is the ticket!

Perennials that spread through an underground root structure are called rhizomes. Mature plants produce these rhizomes, creating more stems, leaves, and those beautiful blooms you love so much. But then the original rhizome begins to wither and die. That’s why we divide the plants, remove the young rhizomes, and replant them to encourage further growth.

To divide your irises, simply follow these steps:

1. Cut back the leaves (fans) by about half.
2. Dig up the whole clump of rhizomes, and shake off loose soil.
3. Using a sharp knife, cut apart the plant, leaving 1-3 stems per section.
4. Cut back about two-thirds of the leaves. Then, use a sloping cut on the outside of the remaining leaves, to create a fan shape.
5. Replant rhizomes in a hole with a mound in the middle, close to the surface. Place the rhizome on the mound and allow the roots to spread down the sides.
6. Dig these holes in one to three-foot intervals.
7. Water your new plantings, and continue watering a few times per week.

You can divide daylilies in much the same way, using these additional tips:

1. You don’t need to lift the entire plant from the ground.
2. Cut down through the plant to create your sections. Each section should have several stems and leaves.
3. Dig out the sections you want to move, filling in the soil around the original daylily.
4. Replant the new sections at the same ground level, at least one to three feet apart, and water thoroughly.

The above tips can be used for any perennial flower that spreads via rhizomes. This includes cannas, dahlias, bergenia, toad lilies, and lily-of-the-valley. If you aren’t certain of what type perennials you have in your garden or need more help learning to divide them, feel free to stop by our nursery and ask one of our experts for additional tips.