The iris (Iris germanica) is an easy-care perennial that will keep coming back year after year without much fuss or effort from you. The tall, elegant bearded iris draws attention wherever it’s planted and will provide you with years of floral beauty.
Anyone can grow irises, even if you have no gardening experience – here’s how.
The iris hates shade and must be planted in a sunny location. This is an early spring-blooming flower and will start blooming before the trees have leafed out, so pay close attention to the planting location.
Late summer is the best time to plant iris but early spring is also a good planting time.
New bulbs planted in the spring may not bloom this year, and transplanted iris can take two years to produce blooms.
Be patient, a lot is going on underground in the iris bulb and the colorful blooms will come eventually.
How to Plant Iris
Prepare soil by turning to the depth of 12-inches (30 cm). Add 2-inches (5 cm) of compost and lightly work it into soil.
Plant bulbs (rhizomes) 16-inches (40 cm) apart to promote good air circulation. Plant bulbs 2-inches (5 cm) deep.
Do Not Mulch
The iris is one of the few plants that should not be mulched. Mulching irises will keep the soil too moist and cause the bulbs to rot in the ground.
Only water irises during times of prolonged drought.
Prune and Divide
Prune any remaining foliage in the fall/autumn back to ground level. This will prevent pests from over-wintering in the foliage.
Prevent overcrowding by dividing iris plants every 2-3 years. Use a sharp shovel and slice down into the soil and through the iris rhizome on all four sides. Lift soil clump up, shake off loose soil and prune foliage to create a 4-inch (10 cm) tall fan-shaped set of leaves.
Divide large rhizome clump into smaller clumps. Leaving one fan of leaves per clump. Cut away any diseased or damaged rhizomes.
Prevent Iris Borers
Borers are the only pest that bothers the iris. Prevent iris borers by cleaning the growing bed thoroughly each fall/autumn so borer eggs will not over-winter. Rake, remove and destroy all leaf debris in late fall/autumn. Iris borers may be hiding in the debris and will infest other plants if debris is not discarded properly.
This beautiful flower is something to look forward to and enjoy once a year. Forget and welcome it when its season arrives!
|Soil type||clay, loam|
|Soil drainage||moist but well drained|
|Height x Width||1~2 x 2~3 feet (30~60 x 60~90 cm) depending on type|
|Flowering seasons||Spring, Summer|
|Plant hardiness zones||3 – 10|