How to plant your rhizomes

How to plant your rhizomes

I’ve received my iris order… now what do I do ?

Don’t leave the rhizomes in the box for more than a day. If you can’t plant them straight away, lay them out in the shade. They will be happy out of the ground for up to a week, but ideally you should get them planted within 2-3 days.

Make sure the soil is well prepared and the site is right. Iris love as much sun as you can give them. Most types of soil will be fine, what they don’t like is sitting in cold wet soil. The roots will rot & your plant will die. They can survive very cold temperatures, but their toes will curl up in wet & soggy soil.

If you have heavy clay soil, raise the planting area by adding compost & gravel for drainage. Our nursery is on thick Wealdon clay, like all clay soils it’s rich in nutrients but plant roots find it hard to access them without extra compost and gravel to ‘open up’ the soil structure.

Don’t add course sand, or the clay soil will turn to concrete.

DO NOT be tempted to add high-nitrogen fertiliser or fresh manure. Too much nitrogen can lead to the roots rotting off. Use a little slow-release fertiliser, bone meal or superphosphate.

OK, so the soil is ready to plant. Ideally, make a little mound of soil and plant the rhizome on the top, draping the roots down the sides.

Cover the roots but NOT the rhizomes with soil and firm down. If the plant seems a little unstable peg it down with a piece of bent wire or a tent peg.

Water it in, but don’t overwater.

Space your plants about 30cm (12 inches) apart, facing south.

If you’re in an area where heavy snow is pretty much guaranteed to sit for weeks or months it’s best to mulch your rhizomes with straw before the first snows. Don’t use grass clippings. When the snows are over and the soil has warmed up remove the straw and your iris will start to grow again.

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