Your Guide to Planning, Planting, and Growing Dutch Iris

Jan 17, 2023 | 0 comments

The tall, stunning iris comes in a variety of magnificent hues and is named after the Greek goddess who rode rainbows. Despite its miraculous roots, this lovely flower is hardy, dependable, and simple to grow. Learn everything there is to know about growing and caring for Dutch Iris blooms.

What is Dutch Iris?

Dutch Iris

Dutch iris, also known as Iris × hollandica, is a specific hybrid of iris that was developed in the Netherlands. It is a cross between Iris xiphium (Spanish iris) and Iris tingitana (Moroccan iris). Dutch iris is highly valued for its tall, elegant stems and large, vibrant blooms. The flowers typically have six petals and come in a wide range of striking colors, including shades of blue, purple, white, yellow, and bi-color combinations. Dutch iris is known for its exquisite beauty and is often cultivated for cut flower arrangements and garden displays. It is a popular choice among gardeners and florists due to its striking appearance and versatility.

What Are Some Popular Varieties of Dutch Iris?

There are several popular varieties of Dutch iris, each with its own unique characteristics and color variations. Here are some examples:

Varieties of Dutch Iris
  • Blue Magic: This variety features deep blue flowers with a yellow blotch on the falls.
  • Lion King: It has rich golden-yellow blooms with maroon striping on the falls.
  • Gypsy Beauty: This variety showcases vibrant purple-blue flowers with a yellow throat.
  • Professor Blaauw: It is known for its intense royal blue flowers and golden yellow blotch.
  • Golden Beauty: This variety stands out with bright yellow flowers and a touch of white on the falls.
  • White Van Vliet: It features pure white flowers with yellow blotch and is highly prized for its elegant simplicity.
  • Sapphire Beauty: It displays striking deep purple-blue flowers with a golden-yellow blotch.
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What Are the Optimal Sunlight Requirements for Iris Blooming?

Dutch iris plants thrive in full sunlight. They require at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day to bloom and grow properly. Full sunlight exposure ensures that the plants receive sufficient energy for photosynthesis, which is essential for healthy foliage and vibrant flower development. While Dutch iris can tolerate some shade, inadequate sunlight may result in weak growth and fewer blooms. Therefore, it is recommended to plant Dutch iris in a location where they will receive ample sunlight throughout the day.

When is the Best Time to Plant Iris Varieties?

Dutch Iris

Most iris varieties should be planted in late summer or early fall when overnight lows are consistently between 40° and 50°F (4° and 10°C) or higher. They have enough time to settle in before the upcoming winter because of this.

Because they tend to go dormant in early to mid-summer, tall bearded iris cultivars perform best when planted closer to fall.

If you happen to have bare rhizomes or irises in a container from earlier in the year, plant them as soon as it’s practical. It is preferable to plant them now rather than wait for the “perfect” moment.

Iris Planting Guidelines

When planting Dutch iris, follow these guidelines for successful growth:

Timing: Plant Dutch iris bulbs in the fall, preferably around September or October. This allows them to establish their root system before the onset of winter.

Location: Choose a planting site that receives full sun or partial shade. Ensure the soil is well-drained to prevent waterlogging, as excessive moisture can cause bulb rot.

Soil Preparation: Prepare the soil by removing any weeds, rocks, or debris. Loosen the soil to a depth of about 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) and incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil fertility and drainage.

Bulb Placement: Plant the Dutch iris bulbs with the pointed end facing upwards. Space the bulbs about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) apart, and plant them at a depth of approximately 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm). If planting in heavy clay soil or in regions with wet winters, plant the bulbs slightly shallower.

Watering: After planting, provide the bulbs with a thorough watering to settle the soil. Thereafter, water sparingly until new growth emerges in the spring. Dutch iris bulbs prefer moderately moist soil but can rot if overwatered.

Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around the planted bulbs. Mulching helps conserve soil moisture, suppresses weed growth, and provides some insulation during winter.

Maintenance: Remove any spent flowers and dead foliage to maintain the plant’s appearance and prevent disease or pest issues. In late autumn or early winter, consider applying a layer of mulch over the planting area to protect the bulbs from extreme cold.

What are the Recommended Practices for Caring and Maintaining Irises During Different Seasons?

Caring for irises requires different practices depending on the season. Here are some recommended practices for maintaining irises throughout the year:

Dutch Iris


  • Cleaning: In early spring, remove any dead leaves or debris around the iris plants to prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Watering: Provide regular watering to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  • Fertilizing: Apply a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for irises to promote healthy growth and blooming.


  • Watering: Irises need regular watering during hot summer months, especially if there is insufficient rainfall.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the irises to help retain moisture in the soil and control weed growth.
  • Pest Control: Monitor for pests such as iris borers or aphids, and take necessary measures to control them.


  • Pruning: Trim back the leaves of irises to about 6 inches above the soil level after they have finished blooming. This helps prevent diseases and provides a tidy appearance.
  • Dividing: Fall is an ideal time to divide overcrowded iris rhizomes. Dig up the clumps and separate them, ensuring each division has healthy roots and fans for replanting.
  • Soil Preparation: Enhance the soil by adding organic matter or compost to improve drainage and fertility for next year’s growth.


  • Clean-up: Remove any remaining foliage or debris around the irises to minimize overwintering pests and diseases.
  • Protection: In cold regions, consider applying a layer of mulch or straw over the iris beds to provide insulation and protect the plants from extreme temperatures.
  • Avoid Over-watering: Reduce watering during winter to prevent waterlogging, as excessive moisture can lead to rot.
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In conclusion, growing Dutch iris can be a rewarding experience, even for beginners. These beautiful flowers thrive in full sunlight and well-draining soil. Planting them in late summer or early fall gives them time to establish before winter. Remember to follow proper planting guidelines, such as positioning the rhizomes horizontally and leaving the top exposed. Caring for irises involves different practices throughout the seasons, such as cleaning in spring, watering and mulching in summer, pruning and dividing in fall, and protecting them in winter. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy the vibrant blooms of Dutch iris and create a stunning garden display. Happy gardening!


Can I grow Dutch iris in containers?

Yes, Dutch iris can be successfully grown in containers. Choose a container that is at least 12 inches deep and has good drainage. Use a well-draining potting mix and place the container in a location that receives full sun. Regular watering is necessary to keep the soil evenly moist.

How often should I fertilize Dutch iris?

It is recommended to fertilize Dutch iris plants in early spring before they start blooming. Use a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering bulbs and follow the instructions on the fertilizer package. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can lead to excessive foliage growth and fewer blooms.

How do I prevent iris borers from damaging my Dutch iris plants?

To prevent iris borers, which are common pests of irises, from damaging your Dutch iris plants, practice good garden hygiene. Remove any dead or decaying plant material from the garden bed, as it can attract borers. Inspect your plants regularly and promptly remove any affected leaves or flowers. Applying an insecticide labeled for iris borers can also be an option if the infestation is severe.

How long do Dutch iris flowers typically last?

The blooms of Dutch iris flowers usually last for about one to two weeks, depending on the weather conditions and the specific variety. Regular deadheading, which involves removing faded flowers, can help extend the blooming period. Be sure to remove any spent flowers to encourage the plant to put energy into producing new blooms.

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