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 iris blooms.
Information about iris
The genus Iris contains more than two hundred and fifty species. The tall bearded irises (Iris germanica), which grow to a height of 2 to 3 feet, are the most famous iris species.
Bearded or crested iris (sometimes known as “beardless”) iris varieties exist. The name “bearded iris” cite to the silky hairs that run along the middle of the falls of these flowers. On crested species, such as the Siberian iris, the hairs instead create a comb or ridge.
Late spring to early summer is when the majority of the iris bloom. Some plants—mostly bearded hybrids—can rebloom later in the summer because they are remontant. Siberian iris blooming season typically follows that of bearded iris. Irises produce beautiful cut flowers and draw hummingbirds and butterflies. Look to roses, peonies, and lilies for iris garden partners.
Full daylight, or at least six to eight hours of sunlight every day, is ideal for iris blooming. Although it’s not ideal, they can endure up to half a day of sun exposure. They won’t blossom nicely if there is not enough light. Bearded irises should not be shadowed out by other plants; many thrive on their own in a designated bed.
Offer fertile, neutral to slightly acidic soil that drains effectively. 12 to 15 inches of loose soil should be added before adding compost or aged manure. Effective drainage is essential: Wet feet but dry knees are what the iris prefer. They cannot stand wintertime moist soil. Find out more about organic soil additions and soil preparation for planting.
Iris Planting Season
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
Rhizomes (the thick stems) should be planted bare-root, horizontally, with the top exposed and the roots only buried. In regions where the summers are very hot, plant the rhizome just below the soil’s surface.
Create a 4-inch deep by 10-inch wide hole. The rhizome should be positioned on a ridge of soil with its roots spread out on both sides. Leave some of the rhizome and the leaf exposed and carefully fill and compact the hole.
Depending on the size of the fully developed plant, plant either alone or in groups of three spaced 1 to 2 feet apart.
Before planting, soak the rhizomes of the Siberian iris in the water for an entire night. Then, place them 2 feet apart, 1 inch deep (or 2 inches if the soil is sandy). They will group together over a number of years and divide as the vigor and size of the flowers deteriorate. Mulch should not be used around the rhizome as this could promote rot.
Remove winter mulch and any outdated foliage in the early spring to create room for new, healthy growth. Early in the spring, fertilize by rubbing an all-purpose fertilizer all around the plants. Avoid fertilizers with a lot of nitrogen. After the initial wave of flowering is over, fertilizing again is best for reblooming irises.
Irises shouldn’t be overwatered because soggy soil might lead to rotted rhizomes. Especially during the summer drought, hydrate frequently and deeply.
Rhizomes must remain exposed. Bearded iris rhizomes require a little sun and air to dry them out, unlike bulbs, which may survive deep underground. They will rot if they are surrounded by other plants or covered in soil.
Taller iris plants may need support to prevent them from toppling over.
Consistently deadhead (remove wasted flowers). On buds distributed along the stems, bearded irises bloom one after the other.
Trimming the iris’ leaves after blooming is complete will encourage rhizome rot, so cut flower stems to their bases instead. The plant’s leaves continue photosynthesis and produce energy for the growth and blooms of the following year. If desired, only remove the brown leaf tips.
Fall foliage should be severely pruned back after a heavy frost. Spotted or yellowed foliage should be removed, and all leftover material should be thrown in the garbage.
To get rid of borer eggs, remove and destroy any iris foliage that has received a lot of frosts. See the frost dates in your area.
Apply an inch or two of sand and a thin coating of evergreen boughs to the rhizomes after the ground freezes, and then remove them after the forsythias bloom the following spring to protect them during the winter.
The common iris pest known as the iris borer overwinters as eggs in dead leaves. Leaf vertical streaks are one indicator. If pests are present, find them and kill them! Dig up the rhizome and remove any areas that have rotted if you notice them. See the advice on pests below. If you found this article informative, you should also read our blog on planting Chionodoxa. Let us know what you think of it.