Iris is known as one of the oldest of the garden perennials. Historically, it was used for medicinal purposes. It is also a favorite amongst gardeners because of its bright-colored flower, although its entire physical appearance will vary as there are many species available.
When growing iris, there are many things that you have to learn, and one of the most important is how to store iris bulbs. The latter is necessary when overwintering, protecting the rhizomes from the extreme cold. To add, the storage of iris bulb is also needed if you plan to relocate and transfer the plant.
How to Store Iris Bulbs
From digging to storage, you need to proceed with caution. The plant is fragile, which is why you need to handle it with care. With this, here are the simple steps that you have to follow:
- Once the flowers fade, cut it from the stem using clean garden shears. If you are using old shears, disinfect it first with alcohol to avoid the spread of infection.
- Use a shovel to clean the soil bed from where the iris is. Be careful in doing this so that you won’t hit or disturb the rhizome that is still under the ground.
- Remove the bulbs from the soil.
- Now that it is off the ground, the next thing to do is to carefully dry it off before storage. Trim the leaves at a length of at least three inches. Let the rhizome dry under the heat of the sun for two to three days. Once the surface is already dry, scrub the dirt off the bulb.
- Now, look for a container where you will keep the rhizomes. The size of the container will depend on how many bulbs you intend to keep. Before storage, dust the iris bulbs lightly with sulfur powder, which will help in the prevention of rot.
- Wrap each bulb in a Place it in a box and keep the box in a cool and dry place. It is important that there is proper air ventilation. On average, the temperature should be 21 degrees Celsius.
- Keep on monitoring the rhizomes while they are stored. If there is one that is already rotten, which should feel mushy, throw it out immediately before the problem spreads to the other bulbs.
Tips in Storing Iris Bulbs
Aside from the steps that have been briefly mentioned above, here are other important things you have to know:
- If the purpose of storing rhizomes is because you are moving in a different place, you can plant the iris in a container and transport it with you rather than storing it in a box.
- Do not store the bulbs on top of each other. As much as possible, keep a single layer. The weight of the bulbs on the top can apply pressure to the ones on the bottom, and hence, make the latter mushy.
- Avoid covering the container or box. Also, do not keep it in tight spaces. An open area with plenty of air is the best, which will help in the prevention of moisture from building up.
In this post on how to store iris bulbs, I hope that you were able to learn the right way of keeping the bulbs to preserve its best condition. Whether you plan to use it later or you are just protecting it from the extreme winter temperature, the right storage is essential to be confident that the rhizomes will not end up suffering from rot.