Tips for Properly Storing Bearded Iris Rhizomes

Bearded irises are some of the most beautiful flowers that you could grow in your garden. One thing that makes them unique is their rhizomes, which are underground stems that store food and moisture for the plant. It’s important to know how to properly store these rhizomes so that your irises can thrive.

When to Store Bearded Iris Rhizomes

The best time to dig up bearded iris rhizomes is after they have finished flowering, typically in late summer or early fall. At this point, the leaves will start turning yellow and dying back.

Digging Up the Rhizomes

To dig up your bearded iris rhizomes, use a spade or fork to gently loosen the soil around each plant. Carefully lift each clump out of the ground and shake off any excess dirt. You should be able to see individual rhizomes attached to the base of each stem.

Cleaning and Preparing Rhizomes for Storage

Once you have dug up your bearded iris rhizomes, it’s important to clean them before storing them. Gently rinse them under running water until all soil has been removed. Then let them dry thoroughly in a warm place for a day or two.

After they are dry, remove any dead leaves or roots from each clump with pruning shears or scissors. Trim away any soft areas on the rhizome as well since those could indicate rotting.

Choosing a Storage Location

Your next step is choosing an appropriate storage location for your cleaned-up bearded iris rhizome clusters – one that keeps them cool (but not freezing) and somewhat moist throughout winter without allowing too much air circulation since they need some humidity too!

A basement area works great if temperatures remain around 40-50 degrees, otherwise a dorm fridge or even an unheated attached garage could work as well. A cardboard box with some ventilation would be perfect if you decide to use the latter option.

The Storage Process

Once you’ve found your storage location and have prepared your rhizomes, the next step is packing them in containers. Cardboard boxes will do just fine for this purpose since they allow air circulation but not too much moisture loss.

Spread out 1-2 inches of peat moss on the bottom of each container then arrange trimmed clumps tightly – so that there’s no room for shifting during transport – on top of it. Cover these with more peat moss before sealing up all four sides (with tape) and label them accordingly!


Storing bearded iris rhizomes isn’t too difficult once you know how to do it properly! With proper cleaning, packaging, labeling, and choosing an appropriate storage location like a basement area or refrigerator where temperatures remain around 40-50 degrees Farenheit), they’ll stay healthy throughout winter without any issues. By following these tips above mentioned above carefully, one can easily grow healthy Bearded Iris plants year after year.

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