How To Divide A Pacific Coast Iris

Oct 15, 2013

Seattle gardener Marty Wingate loves the Pacific Coast iris: it's a native plant, so it doesn't require summer watering, it has a nice grassy look and it thrives in partial shade.

Gardener Marty Wingate and her Pacific Coast iris in full bloom.
Gardener Marty Wingate and her Pacific Coast iris in full bloom.
Credit KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman and Marty Wingate courtesy photo.

The fall is a great time to divide this iris. It is dormant in the summer, but with the fall rain, it starts to shoot out new growth.

Credit KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

You'll need to use a garden fork to lift the plant up a little; it's not a very upright plant with its leaves tending to sprawl outward. You're looking for pink little nodes that indicate new growth.

Credit KUOW Photo/Marcie Silman

Cut this piece as far back as you can get with your garden trimmers.

Credit KUOW Photo/Marcie Silman
Credit KUOW Photo/Marcie Silman

Plant with stem horizontal, roots heading down in soil, but don’t bury too deeply. You may need to anchor it with a stone.

In a couple weeks, the iris will start to shoot forth new leaves, like this one to the right.

And then, in May, you can expect a lovely yellow flower, one iteration of the Pacific Coast iris.