The proper time to split and move tall bearded irises depends on your part of the United States from July until October and even in some parts of California and the far southern states, November. I always try to ship the tall bearded irises to the northern states, if possible, in July. I don't think it is too much of a problem for those states to also receive plants in August, but we try to ship those earlier, if possible. I also try to ship to the southern most states late in September, but usually will try to do it during any week they request them.
|Seedling out of 'Select Circle'|
So, why don't iris growers just ship their plants when the customer wants them spring or summer? First, we do want to see those irises bloom. In our case, those irises are our show and they sell thousands of plants for us when people see them blooming. There is a second reason we don't sell irises in the spring. The plants are making increases that we can sell as plants later in the summer. Ask any reputable iris grower in the U.S. if they will sell you plants in the spring and you won't get them until July.
|Seedling out of 'Pinball Wizard' X 'Wild Jasmine'|
Are you ready, here is our secret, we sell irises in May each year when they are blooming. We always have irises that we have way too many of and others that we want to close out. We dig these and sell them bare root during our bloom season. We have been doing this for 15 years and it does not hurt the irises in any way. Our customers say they don't have any more losses than when we ship to them later. They also tell us that 60-percent or better bloom the following year.
I am sure I have the purist iris people shook up now. So, what do I recommend as the time to plant tall bearded irises? I say from July through October depending on what part of the country you are in. But, I will also say that in emergency situations, move them when you have to.
One final thought, if you have to move them in late fall and you are in a climate that has winter freezes, a straw mulch will save them through that first winter. Put it on as soon as possible and take it off the following spring when the temps reach the upper 50s to 60-degrees.
I hope this clarifies the issue and that it may answer questions about when to best move your tall bearded irises.
God Bless all of you and have a wonderful spring.