Home Gardening Techniques How to Store Iris Rhizomes: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

How to Store Iris Rhizomes: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

by Donna
3 minutes read

How to Store Iris Rhizomes: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners


Irises are beautiful flowers that can add a splash of color to any garden. If you’re lucky enough to have irises in your garden, you may want to learn how to store their rhizomes over the winter so that you can enjoy their blooms year after year.

What are Iris Rhizomes?

Irises grow from rhizomes, which are underground stems that store nutrients and energy. Rhizomes are typically flat and sword-shaped, and they have multiple growing points.

Why Store Iris Rhizomes?

There are a few reasons why you might need to store iris rhizomes:

  • You may have purchased irises late in the season and need to store them until spring.
  • You may have received iris rhizomes from a friend or family member who divided their plants.
  • You may want to store iris rhizomes to protect them from pests or diseases.

How to Prepare Iris Rhizomes for Storage

Before you can store iris rhizomes, you need to prepare them properly. Here’s how:

  1. Dig up the iris rhizomes. Use a shovel to carefully dig up the rhizomes, being careful not to damage them.
  2. Trim the leaves. Cut the leaves back to about 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) long.
  3. Do not wash the dirt off. Allow the rhizomes to sit in the sun for a day or two until they are dry to the touch.
  4. Brush off the dirt. Use a scrub brush to gently brush off most of the dirt.
  5. Cure the rhizomes. Place the rhizomes in a dark, dry, and somewhat cool place to further dry or cure. They should have plenty of air ventilation and it should be about 70 F. (21 C.). Leave the rhizomes there for one to two weeks.

How to Store Iris Rhizomes

Once the rhizomes are cured, you can store them in a cool, dry place. Here’s how:

  1. Coat the rhizomes in sulfur powder. This will help prevent rot from setting in.
  2. Wrap each rhizome in newspaper. This will help protect the rhizomes from moisture and pests.
  3. Place the rhizomes in a box. Make sure the box has holes for ventilation.
  4. Store the box in a cool, dry place. Check on the rhizomes every few weeks to make sure they are not rotting.


If you notice that your iris rhizomes are starting to rot, discard them immediately. Rot can spread quickly and damage other rhizomes.

Here are some tips to help prevent rot:

  • Make sure the rhizomes are completely dry before storing them.
  • Store the rhizomes in a cool, dry place with good air ventilation.
  • Do not overwater the rhizomes.


Storing iris rhizomes is a relatively simple process, but it is important to follow the steps carefully to ensure that the rhizomes remain healthy and viable. By following the tips in this article, you can successfully store your iris rhizomes and enjoy their beautiful blooms for years to come.

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