Growing and Caring for Bearded Iris: A Comprehensive Guide
Welcome to the world of bearded iris, a magnificent addition to your garden that's sure to bring vibrant colors and elegance to your garden. As a flower farmer who's passionate about blooms, I'm thrilled to share my knowledge with you, especially if you've just received some iris rhizomes from us. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps of planting and caring for these beautiful flowers, ensuring they thrive and grace your garden with their elegant blooms.
Getting to Know Bearded Iris
Bearded iris, scientifically known as Iris germanica, are renowned for their striking flowers and distinct fuzzy beards on their petals. These perennial beauties come in a wide array of colors, from soft pastels to bold, rich hues. I love them for their large statement-making blooms in unique colors and color combinations. Before we dive into planting you should consider the best time to plant and where to site your irises.
1. Planting Time: The best time to plant bearded iris is in late summer to early fall. This gives them a chance to establish their roots before winter sets in. The irises will develop new roots and foliage from the energy stored in their rhizome.
2. Sunlight: Iris plants love the sun! Choose a spot in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily for the best flowering.
Planting Your Iris Rhizomes
Now, lets talk about getting those iris rhizomes in the ground.
1. Prepare the Soil: Bearded iris prefer well-draining soil. Amend heavy clay soil with organic matter to improve drainage. We prepare our beds by adding a couple of inches of compost, an organic low nitrogen fertilizer and tilling the beds to prepare for planting.
2. Spacing: Plan to lant your rhizomes about 12 to 24 inches apart, with this spacing you shouldn't have to divide our iris for 3 years or so because they have plenty of room to spread out.
3. Planting: After deciding where you will plant the irises, lay them out and take a Hori-Hori knife or a small hand trowel and dig a hole and pop your rhizome in the hole with the roots going downward. The top of the rhizome should be positioned just slightly above the surface of the soil. If you have very light soil or live in an area with extreme heat, you may want to just cover the top of the rhizome to protect it from the high temperatures. Keep in mind however, that most irises fail because they were planted too deep, which can lead to green leaves, but no flowers. After your rhizomes are in the ground firm the soil around them.
3. Watering: Water thoroughly after planting to help settle the soil and encourage root growth.
Caring for Your Iris
Once your bearded iris is in the ground, they need very little care to flourish.
1. Regular Watering: While iris is drought-tolerant once established, they appreciate consistent moisture during their first season. Water deeply but avoid overwatering to prevent rhizome rot, so after a deep water, allow the soil to dry out before watering again. Reblooming iris also like to be watered throughout the summer after their initial spring bloom for an abundant late summer bloom season.
2. Fertilization: Apply a low nitrogen fertilizer in the spring and again after flowering to support healthy growth.
3. Deadheading: Remove spent blooms to encourage more flowering and maintain the plant's appearance.
4. Dividing: Over time, iris rhizomes can become overcrowded. Divide them every 3 to 4 years in late summer or early fall to ensure continued vigor.
5. Pest and Disease Management: Keep an eye out for pests like aphids and iris borers. A good garden hygiene and pest control routine will help keep your irises healthy.
Growing these stunning flowers is not only therapeutic but also immensely rewarding. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just beginning your green journey, bearded iris will be a beautiful addition to your garden. Besides their blooms irises reward you with another bonus. A few years after growing you can lift and divide your irises and swap with other gardeners to grow your collection. This is a time-honored tradition among gardeners, I remember my mom digging up chunks of her irises and sharing them as well as receiving new varieties of irises from other gardeners.
I hope this guide helps you, I'd love to see your beautiful irises in full bloom, please share some photos and tag them with #bloominiris on Instagram and Facebook. It's a great way for all of us flower lovers to admire and celebrate these stunning blooms together.
P.S. If you wish missed out or feel like you want to add more to your iris collection, click here to grab some beautiful, bearded irises from our curated collection, with our Buy One Get One Free end of season sale! This is a tremendous savings on our beautiful iris collections!