Text Box: Water Iris Transplant BEST in August
 Transplant water iris in late August.  They grow so prolifically that dividing and re-planting them too early can cause them to become rootbound during the summer, and that could prevent them from blooming the following spring.  They bloom so beautifully, but for such a short period of time that you want to maximize the flowering potential.
 At Shady Lakes, we plant iris three plants per tub to create a full display.  (They look too skinny and awkward when planted solo.)  In the spring, each tub usually has at least a dozen iris in it (depending on tub size.)  Iris can easily become rootbound in a year (even in 4 gallon tubs!)  When dividing for transplant, it is not unusual to end up with an incredible abundance of extra iris.  Don't compost the roots in your garden, though, as they will sprout!
 Divide the iris by cutting individual plants with a minimum of 3" of root.  Some types make this easy for you by growing over the edge of the pot.  Others grow densely packed in as if it would require a chain saw or jack hammer to divide them.  If this is the case, avoid the dense root area and use a large knife to cut iris off the periphery of the plant.  Trim the foliage back to a 12" to 18" height, depending on whether it is a small iris variety or a very large, tall one.
 Transplant the iris three per tub.  We use one, two, or four gallon containers, depending on Text Box: the size of the iris and the room in your pond.  Prepare the soil in the tub the same as for lilies and other aquatics.  In the bottom half of the tub, we mix one part old, dry cow manure to three parts good heavy topsoil with a clay cut (from a garden or orchard.)  Then fill the tub almost to the top with just the good topsoil.  Plant the roots towards the center of the tub, pointing them in various directions so they will grow to fill in the container.  Feed with one Pondtabb per gallon of soil.  Top off the soil with a layer of sand or gravel.  Place it in the water with the tub two inches below the water's surface.  If you lack the good topsoil, it is available for sale at Shady Lakes by the gallon or you can buy the completely prepped tub (complete with Pondtabbs.)
 Iris tend to shock back pretty bad with transplanting.  They act like they're dying.  Usually the old foliage does die off and is replaced by new growth.  This may take 3 to 4 weeks for them to recover, which is why it's best to complete the transplantation before the end of August.  Mid-September is the absolute deadline to divide.  In most Indian Summers this is fine, but September can be rainy and quite cool in Albuquerque, and it's best to have the plant well established before winter dormancy begins to settle in.
 Water iris are one of the hardiest of aquatic plants.  They are usually the last to go dormant and the first to return in the spring.  In mild winters, they won't even go down completely and will still show some green through the snow.
 Enjoy!

 

Plant Care HOW TO…