Rhizomes are perennial modified stems that readily produce new leaves and shoots and have their own roots, or readily produce them when separated from the parent plant. They are easy to propagate from.
As rhizomes spread outwards, the inner sections are the oldest and least vigorous, so it is best to propagate from the younger, outer sections.
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Step by step
- Carefully dig up the rhizome using a fork or hand fork and knock off or shake off the excess soil, this is easier to do when the soil is dry.
- Carefully cut away the younger, outer rhizomes with a sharp knife and discard any old rhizomes and those without a growing point, dormant bud or set of leaves. Remove old and dead roots from the younger sections and shorten any large roots to 5-7.5cm.
- Shorten the leaf blades or stems by roughly half. This will help reduce wind rock and water loss while the plant is establishing.
- Replant the rhizomes at the same depth as they were originally growing. For bearded iris, this is on the soil surface. To aid establishment and prevent the plant falling over, plant the rhizome on a ridge of soil and spread out its roots in shallow trenches on either side.
- Firm the soil over the roots, and with bearded irises leave the rhizome itself barely covered. Planting too deeply will prevent the plant from flowering for a couple of years until the rhizome raises itself to soil level.