Iris Plants

Iris Dwarf Rock Garden

All about Iris Plants, from Planting Iris to Iris Care

The Iris is a very beautiful plant, and there are a lot of varieties available, in all sizes and colours, though they are actually only two real kinds, the Bearded Iris and the plain ones.

This does not mean that there is not variety in this plant - there is a considerable difference in sizes with miniature Irises that stand just about a foot tall, to the much larger traditional varieties that can be three times taller.

Growing Iris Plants

Iris Plants are relatively easy to cultivate, a perennial that grows from a rhizome. Place them in the ground at least a foot apart, and ensure that the upper most portion of the rhizome is above ground level.

Remember that Iris plants are not purely a shade plant; they will prosper in partial shade, and can even grow well in full sunlight.

Be careful about watering them too much though, as they have a tendency for the roots to rot if these plants are over watered.

Iris Plants only need water during a prolonged drought, as sometimes occurs in the middle of summer.

For the best possible blossoms a light fertilizer should be added about a month and a half before the flowering season.

Iris plants are best planted from late summer to autumn, or even later than that in southern climes.

Remember that if you live in a colder climate, you will need to put these plants into the ground well before the really cold weather begins, to give them a vitally needed chance to establish themselves. Without this, they rarely survive a harsh winter.

It is actually preferable not to mulch as sunshine is essential to the health of the rhizome. If you mulch at all, put in just a little.

Propagation Iris Plants

Iris Plants are propagated by division, and that must be done roughly every three years.

Division is best done in mid to late summer. Take up the rhizome, dividing it neatly and then transplant it where you wish.

Remember that this has to be done well before the cold weather sets in, firstly because the plant puts out new roots in cooler weather, and secondly because it needs to establish itself before winter.

Soil

Iris is a plant which enjoys sunlight. It also requires a very light and loose soil covering.

This is crucially important, as the rhizome will not remain healthy unless it has access to sunlight and fresh air.

It must also not be allowed to rot in marshy soil. Keep the soil it grows in well drained.

Pests

Iris Plants are very hardy plants that can be stand the attacks of most pests, though they are susceptible to root borers.

This creature is a sort of caterpillar that feeds upon the rhizome. This causes areas of the rhizome to die.

As those areas die, they rot, and the rot spreads through the rhizome until the plant can no longer survive.

Other pests that attack the buds are easily dealt with, with a spray of soapy insecticide.

Iris Care

Iris Plants require very little care, though at the end of the flowering season, you could trim the flower stems while leaving the leaves in place to create food for the next seasons' blooms.

Summary

Iris is one of the most beautiful perennials you can plant in your garden. With so many colours and sizes to choose from I know you will find a space for a couple.

They'll get a good start before the trees leaf out for those of you who shade gardening, and some are light shade tolerant.

You can start them from seed or rhizome divisions. Simply loosen the soil a couple of inches 4 or 5 will do.

Add some bone meal, then place the rhizome roots facing down about 3/4 covering the rhizome with soil as they like the top 1/4 exposed.

A prerequisite is a well-drained soil. Root rot is the worst problem you can have with irises.

The taller varieties make great cut flowers.