Iris rhizomes - how viable after digging up to separate?

Asked July 8, 2017, 2:28 PM EDT

I'm in the process of digging up iris rhizomes to check for borers and to separate and divide the rhizomes. How long will rhizomes survive after digging them up? I may not be able to re-plant viable rhizomes immediately upon separating and dividing them, so I'd also like to ask what are appropriate short-term storage conditions for the rhizomes. Thanks for any advice you can give me. Two accompanying photos show the iris beds in 2011. Since then, the irises have proliferated, and thus, need dividing. Pet cat in first photo is garden detective and sometime mouse catcher.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Recommended time to divide in our area is June through July after flowering. You can also divide iris in the early fall. Leave in the ground until ready to divide. Rhizomes are cut and set in the sun for several days to heal and then replanted. Newly divided clumps may not bloom the following season. See our website for photos and more information http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/dividing-iris
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