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How To Divide A Pacific Coast Iris

KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman and Marty Wingate courtesy photo.

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.

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.

[asset-images[{"caption": "", "fid": "6598", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201310/005_0.JPG", "attribution": "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.

[asset-images[{"caption": "", "fid": "6551", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201310/007.JPG", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Marcie Silman"}]]Cut this piece as far back as you can get with your garden trimmers.

[asset-images[{"caption": "", "fid": "6552", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201310/008.JPG", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Marcie Silman"}]][asset-images[{"caption": "", "fid": "6553", "style": "card_280", "uri": "public://201310/009.JPG", "attribution": "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.