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Iris Plants

Q.Iris Not Blooming Or Small & Pale

Zone Ramah CO 80832 | Anonymous added on May 22, 2022 | Answered

Hi,My iris bulbs were given to me by a neighbor 15 + years ago and they were beautiful. Many bright big blooms of many colors, and about 18″ tall. They bloomed after I transplanted them,and then through the years have “petered out”. In fall 2019 I transplanted many of them as they were clumped together, not blooming. I discarded many that were soft and only moved the best ones. It was a new location which is full sun until evening. I broke them down into one rhizome and trimmed the green tops. I thought I may have planted them a little too deep so I removed part of the top soil trying not to disturb the plant. I was afraid to water them too much so I only watered them every 2 wks, unless it rained, which was not much as we are in a drought. After that, in fall of 2020 there were NO blooms of any kind, but they seemed to be growing. I put some ironite and bone meal on them to see if that would help them bloom but it didn’t. Now in the start of this season 2021, they seem to be growing and the tops are about 8″ tall. The only bloom coming on so far is a small 1″ light blue/pale purple color. What am I doing wrong and how can I get them back to there beautiful state? Thank you so much for any help or suggestions.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on May 30, 2022

When "breaking them down into one rhizome," it may not have been the new rhizomes that were saved, but the depleted "mother" rhizomes. When an iris blooms, its rhizome is depleted and will not bloom again. However, offsets grow out of that rhizome that should bloom the following year (may take two years). When planting rhizomes, the tops should be visible above the soil so they can bask in the sun.

It's also best to dig and divide in late summer when irises are dormant. You can fertilize irises before bloom season and a month after.


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