We have sold our house and will be moving on either March 30 or April 27. We want to take some of the irises with us. When can we take them out of ground without killing them? We live in Toronto, Ontario CAN.
Thanks in advance for advice.
You should be able to take them with you. Probably won't get any bloom this year, but probably will have very good increase.
Usually irises are dug up in summer after they are done blooming, but you should have no problem if you can pry them out of the ground before they start actively growing.
Iris can withstand a lot of shock:
They keep tons of food in those rhizomes, sort of like their own storm cellar.
Even if they experience a setback, they'll recover.
I've even moved some that were in bloom here (that being the only time the lady could be sure exactly what name to assign that particular plant), & I've never lost one because of the time of year it was moved.
Now living in Ottawa but I did garden for some time in Toronto. If the ground is thawed by the end of March, by all means take a piece of your irises. Don't lift the clumps, just cut down at the joint with a sharp thin blade and take the piece you want. But don't expect blooms this year.
can i plant the iris i divided last fall now/
Roland-grow: not sure I understand: you divided the irises last fall and did what with them? Did you store the rhizomes somewhere out of the ground? If so, yes, by all means, plant as soon as the ground is thawed. You are in Zone 5 in Canada - but where? Plant in a sunny spot, where the ground drains quickly - maybe a raised bed. Feed with 6-10-10. Probably, you won't get any blooms this year. But your plants should be in good shape for bloom one year from now.
We moved exactly a year ago, and right before we did, we dug up and gave a bunch of irises to a friend. She planted them a few weeks later, and while they did not bloom last year, they adjusted just fine. She is expecting a wonderful iris bed this year. So, yes, dig them up and take them with you. And if they don't make it, well, at least you tried!
Funny - I moved a bunch of mystery irises two springs ago from a shady bed where someone had planted them before we moved in, to a new sunny plot - just dug up as much dirt as I could, and plopped them in. And wham! They bloomed with a vengance. Does pulling up a great big dirt ball around them help? Cindy in Columbus
Cindy, if you get enough dirt and immediately replant, it is possible to fool the iris into hardly knowing it's been moved. The keys are enough dirt and how well you plant it. (ie heal it in, water it well)
A trick I use is to water really well before tranplanting if you are going to try and bring a root ball with the plant. If the soil is dry most of the dirt will fall off when you bring the plant out of the ground. Lee Mincy