Irises are some of the toughest perennials in the garden, which makes learning how to care for irises easy. The first consideration for planting new iris is what colors, size or varieties you want. Irises grow from bulbs or rhizomes, which are pieces of root. It's best to plant, or transplant, these in late summer or early fall. Irises like full sun, and are tough enough to survive in drier patches of garden. But good soil and adequate moisture will produce the best flowers. If you have good garden soil, additional fertilizer won't be necessary.
Rhizome iris clumps grow by spreading outward in all directions, so new plantings should allow room for growth that doesn't interfere with other plants. Clumps that have grown too big don't flower as well, If your irises have grown into a circle with a dead zone in the middle, it's time to thin. Dig them out with a shovel. Discard roots that are damaged or dried up. Transplant unblemished rhizomes to other parts of the garden, about 3 inches deep, with the leaf ends up. Water the new transplants.
Irises flower throughout mid to late spring. Once the blooms have withered, cut off the flower stalks for a neater appearance. In autumn, the leaves start to yellow and dry up. You can cut them off to about 4-6 inches if you like a cleaner winter garden look. If you don't do a pre-winter trim, the dead leaves are easy to pull off in spring, as the new green leaves emerge.
Varieties include popular bearded irises, with large blooms in dozens of color combinations and sizes. Siberian Iris, which varies in color from deep blue to white, is great for bouquets. Bulb irises bloom earliest in spring, and are also great for cutting.