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Dividing Irises

Keeping these beautiful bloomers healthy and happy couldn’t be simpler

Fine Gardening - Issue 146
I know many gardeners have a strong aversion to division. But as a gardening mentor of mine used to say, if it’s all right to remodel the house, it’s all right to remodel the garden. And as the royalty of the spring and early-summer garden, most irises need division every three to five years to maintain their glam and charm. Not all irises, though, are created equal. At the faster end of the spectrum, bearded irises can quickly increase over just a few seasons into overcrowded, floral nothingness, which isn’t exactly beautiful (unless you have a strong taste for spiky green foliage). They’re most often in need of division earlier than later. On the slower end, Siberian and many beardless irises can practically be ignored for years without any general loss of floral display, though, eventually, they’ll need a good roughing up. So what’s a gardener to do with a…

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