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Why Are My Iris Bulbs Coming Out Of The Ground – Top 2 Reasons Behind?

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The winters are over and now the spring season is approaching. Nothing makes a gardener happier than the spring season when their wait ends and now they can see their flowers bloom. But is this not the case with you? Rather than being excited, you’re worried about your iris plant?

If this is the case with you, where you’re watching your iris plant and wondering why are my iris bulbs coming out of the ground, don’t worry. We’ll help you figure out whether there is something to be worried about or not.

This article gives you information about what is an iris plant, what are the common iris growing problems, an answer to why are my iris bulbs coming out of the ground, and how to take care of your iris plant.

Why Are My Iris Bulbs Coming Out Of The Ground 1
via Flickr

What Is An Iris Plant?

Iris is a genus of flowering plants that means ‘rainbow.’ It is so named because of the wide variety of different colors among its species. They are perennial plants that grow from creeping rhizomes and are commonly planted in home and botanical gardens.

They produce flowers at the end of their long flowering stems. Depending upon the plant species, they have long simple branched, narrow, or hollow flowering stems. The rhizome structure present at the bottom has leaves that grow in the form of dense clusters. 

Mostly iris plants flower in late springs or early summers. Some plant types may flower again in late summers, too.

Planting An Iris

Iris grow the best when they are planted in direct sunlight. They need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day. If they don’t receive enough sunlight, there exists a chance that they might fail to bloom. So make sure that the bearded iris plants are not shaded by the other neighboring plants.

The iris plant requires well-fertilized soil for its growth. The pH of the soil should be towards the lower end to maintain the acidic conditions. Also, the focus should be on providing a good drainage system to prevent water retention.

Iris should be planted between late summer to early fall. Ideally, they should be planted when the temperature during the night remains between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Plant Irises?

  • The bare root rhizomes should be planted horizontally with only roots being underground.
  • Rather than being covered with soil, the top should be left exposed. In areas where the temperature in summers becomes very high, set the rhizomes just below ground.
  • Dig a hole about 4 inches deep and 10 inches wide in diameter. Place the rhizome ready to be planted and spread its roots.
  • Gently fill the sides of the rhizome with soil. Plant singularly or in groups.
  • Do not use mulch around the rhizome as it may cause rot in iris plants. Once you are done, start watering.
Why Are My Iris Bulbs Coming Out Of The Ground 2
via Flickr

Why Are My Iris Bulbs Coming Out Of The Ground?

Spring season has arrived but still, there is a danger of frost. You are waiting for the flowers to bloom but instead of that, you can see flower bulbs coming out of the ground. If this is the case with your plant, let us see what you should do.

The presence of iris bulbs out of the ground is commonly known as the ‘heaving of bulbs.’ It can occur in several plants due to many different reasons. In the case of an iris plant, it might be a result of weather conditions, planting methods, or soil conditions, or it can be due to the variety of iris being planted.

Improper Soil Conditions

A very usual reason for the heaving of the iris bulbs is improper soil conditions. To plant an iris plant, the soil needs to be rich and organic. It should also be well worked and free draining. Bulbs fail to mature in boggy soil and can rot easily.

To prevent this from happening, mix the soil with organic matter. This will increase the porosity of the soil and stop waterlogging, freezing, and forcing the bulb to come out of the ground.

Soil with the absence of a proper water draining system can force the iris bulb to float on the water and when the water recedes, the bulbs get trapped.

Heaving Of Bulbs In Winter

In many regions, the winter season has sudden temperature drops, heavy rainfalls, snow, and icy time. After the winter season ends, the thawing period starts, but the temperature remains low with a threat of freeze for plants.

This action sometimes makes the soil move, pushing the iris bulbs to come out of the ground. It only occurs if the iris bulbs are not planted deep enough. This is known as ‘frost heaving.’ The depth of each bulb depends upon the variety of plants being planted.

Moving Irises

When your rhizomes start heaving above the ground, you should consider transplanting the plant and moving to a new location. If the rhizomes of your iris plants are overcrowded, they are likely to push each other above the ground.

The ideal time to transplant an iris is when they have finished blooming in the summer season.


Normally, it is not much difficult to plant an iris plant in your garden, but sometimes things can go unexpectedly wrong. It is alright if you notice some unusual behavior in your plant. You don’t have to worry if you don’t know what to do, we are here to help you!

This article tells you all you need to know about planting iris plants in your garden and also answers the question why are my iris bulbs coming out of the ground.