August is not only a month filled with gorgeous summer-bloomers, but also the perfect time to plant Bearded Iris and Fall-Flowering Crocus. It's also a great chance to care for your existing Irises by trimming old foliage back and, if mature enough, dividing and re-planting. Below are a few tips on August planting and care to get you busy in the garden!
These garden treasures are planted in August and bloom in just a couple of weeks - illuminating your fall garden when other flowers have finished for the season. Fall-Flowering favorites include Saffron Crocus, which can be easily grown and harvested to flavor your cooking (read how here). Others that put on a spectacular fall show are Colchicum Bulbs Water Lily, White Autumn Crocus, and more. You'll be very thankful for planting these beauties when your fall garden is bursting with blooms!
There are two different planting cycles for Bearded Iris – spring and fall. Typically, Bearded Iris are planted as rhizomes in the fall and potted plants in the spring. We have over 15 varieties of Bearded Iris rhizomes available to plant now. The benefit of planting Bearded Iris in late summer is to establish their roots before winter, giving them a jump start on growth in the spring. This results in the plants most likely blooming in their first year. The extra growth on top of summer-planted rhizomes is from last season; it can either be kept on or clipped off, it does not affect the actual growth of the plant.
Late Summer is the best time to care for and divide your existing Irises; their life cycle is at a point where they can be tended to, up-rooted, divided and re-planted. You will notice old foliage starting to wilt from the heat (especially this year!) – This foliage should be trimmed back regardless if you are planning to divide or not. Trimming also helps when dividing Irises because it helps keep the moisture of the plant in the root system, not the foliage.
Dividing your Irises is fairly simple. Carefully dig the mature Iris up, making sure not damage any of the root systems. Cut each rhizome vertically with a sterile knife and be sure that each faction has at least 2-3 fans. If possible, try dusting the freshly-divided rhizomes with organic fungicide to prevent root rot or bores. Dig a shallow hole and spread roots out; make sure to leave the rhizome partially exposed (do not bury it completely) and water well.
August planting not only provides quick, gorgeous results, but gives you an excuse to get out in the garden. Happy Gardening!