For the Love of Iris

Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens

Caring For Iris Through the Winter


Happy Holidays from Schreiner's Iris Gardens

Happy Holidays from Schreiner’s Iris Gardens

While we here in the NW seem to have more than our fair share of rain throughout the winter, we realize that some parts of the US have not been receiving their usual amount of moisture this fall and winter. Although bearded Iris are resilient, and typically drought tolerant once established, newly planted Iris do require some regular moisture in order to get established. A recent posting on the American Iris Society blog page, World of Irises, covers the topic of drought and Iris very nicely. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we direct our readers to that post. If you don’t already, you might consider following that blog.

As the temperatures drop below freezing, you can mound a winter protection around your Irises. We recommend straw, evergreen branches or leaves. The key with winter protection is to remove it when the weather begins to warm again in the spring. Winter protection can help prevent heaving out the rhizomes caused by repeated freezing and thawing that happens throughout the winter.

We wish all of you a happy, healthy holiday season and prosperous and healthy new year!

May you find peace and fulfillment in gardening! The Schreiner Family

P.S. Gift Certificates! Although you can’t send Iris to your loved ones and favorite gardeners in December, you can send them a gift certificate for Schreiner’s Iris Gardens now and all throughout the year! To be sure your Gift Certificates arrive on time, order early.

Schreiner's Display Gardens February 2011

Schreiner’s Display Gardens February 2011


Author: Schreiner's Iris Gardens

Growing beauty since 1925. Retail and wholesale supplier of high-quality Bearded Iris & Daylilies.

15 thoughts on “Caring For Iris Through the Winter

  1. Wondering if you can help me…I live in southern New Jersey and we just had our first snowstorm/20-30F weather this past week after an unusually warm Autumn. I was out feeding the birds and noticed, to my surprise, that one of my irises had been sending up shoots to try to bloom – for Christmas! It’s a very healthy plant in a rather protected spot, and had bloomed well for me this past May. It’s several years established in my garden. The flower stalks looked droopy from the cold/freezing, but otherwise the iris looked healthy. I’m wondering though if I should leave it be, or cut down the flower stalks to prevent the iris from putting so much energy into trying to bloom at the beginning of winter? I basically worry about it being too “exhausted” to bloom properly come the Spring if I do nothing. Thanks for any help!


  2. I live in the North Carolina mountains. Should I put a light cover of mulch on the tubers or straw when freezing weather starts to occur


    • Hello. Thank you for the question. Winter protection is helpful in areas with extreme cold. Clear away the winter protection in the spring when you see new foliage emerge. Winter protection, however, should not trap too much moisture around the rhizomes, however, as this can lead to rot.


  3. We live in CAlifornia and it is now the fall. We are planning on moving to Idaho by Christmas and we want to save our Irises be cause they had been my grand mothers. How can we take them up and save them for next years planting?


    • We would recommend that you pot them up. When removing them from their current garden bed, trim the leaves back to about 5 or 6 inches. Pot the Iris in wide shallow pots rather than deep narrow pots. Use a nutritious potting soil, but not one that contains added Nitrogen. Once in your new home, keep them outdoors, in their pots, in a sunny location through the winter. Protect them from winter freeze with a thick layer of sawdust, and surround the pots with an insulation of burlap or more sawdust. In the spring, remove all winter protection, but keep them in the pots. Give a dressing of low-Nitrogen fertilizer about when the tulips are blooming in your new neighborhood. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. Transplant them next July into their new garden home, again with an application of low-Nitrogen fertilizer. Best of luck to you! Let us know if we can be of further assistance.


  4. when to fertilize bearded iris, and with what?


  5. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumble upon every day.

    It will always be helpful to read through articles from other authors and practice a little something
    from their websites.


  6. Excellent post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Very useful information specially the final section 🙂 I care for such information a
    lot. I was seeking this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.


  7. What about using wood chips as a mulch for winter protection? I have plenty of wood chips


    • Hello William, Apologies for the late reply. But as we think ahead to the coming winter, it can’t hurt to begin planning our winter protection. Yes, wood chips can be a good winter cover for Iris. Be sure to clear them away when spring arrives, though. However, by wood chips we are not referring to bark dust. We don’t recommend bark dust. Evergreen branches and straw also make good winter protection. Even mounding up extra soil over the tops of the rhizomes can offer protection. Any type of winter protection needs to be cleared away after the hard frosts have passed.


  8. Happy Holidays to all Iris gardeners. Want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone at Schreiner’s for their hard work and magnificent Iris. Last growing season was just spectacular. I was the envy of the whole neighborhood. My Iris were gigantic. The leaves were like swords. Not sure if it is my soil, the bone meal or the osmocote. The hardest part for growing Iris is keeping the beds free of weeds. Again, my Thanks for everyone at Schreiner’s.


  9. Happy Holidays To everyone At Schreiner`s, I can hardly wait til spring to see my Iris bloom. I love your Iris!!!


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