iris douglasiana

Dividing a Douglas Iris

The Douglas iris (iris douglasiana) is a California native wildflower. Widely used in California gardens, it is prized for its lovely flowers and glossy, sword-like leaves. Pictured below is ‘Canyon Snow’, with white flowers and a hint of yellow. Flowers can be in a wide range of colors; we have other iris with yellow or purple flowers. Our douglas irises are in partial shade under large oak trees, and we water them weekly in the summer.

iris douglasiana
iris douglasiana

This winter we divided an iris for the first time, and everything turned out well. Below is a photo of three clumps of douglas iris. Started from one-gallon plant six years ago, each is about two feet in diameter. Last November we divided the douglas iris at the bottom of the photo and removed nine small clumps from the front. Nothing fancy — dug under the clump with a shovel, then clipped off plants with pruning shears or a shovel.

Douglas iris clump after plants removed
Douglas iris clump after plants removed

Here are some new iris plants divided from the clump. See the white roots and small shoot emerging from the left-hand side. Irises like humus-rich soil, so we added compost, the black stuff at the bottom-left.

new iris plant in November
new iris plant in November

Two months later, all the new irises are still alive! Here’s a photo of the same plant two months later. There’s a 1-inch shoot on the left side, so it’s alive and growing.

iris plant in January
iris plant in January

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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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