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How to Grow Iris Flowers

Annuals and Perennials

Botanical Names:

  • Crested Iris: Iris Cristata
  • Dutch Iris: Iris Reticulata
  • Bearded Iris: Iris Germanica
  • Japanese Iris: Iris Ensata
  • Siberian Iris: Iris Sibirica

There are hundreds of varieties of colorful Irises, with many colors and color combinations. While we think of them as bulbs, they are really propagated from a their Rhizome, or roots. Irises are perennial flowering plants, many of which "re-bloom". They are easy to grow perennial. As gardeners and homeowners, we love them in our flowerbeds. where they look best, when planted in groups. Plants can spread quickly and can overcome other flowers.

Varieties of Irises:

There are hundreds of varieties of this easy to grow perennial flower. Bearded Iris are the most popular. There are also many beardless Iris. Irises make great cut flowers, with their tall, sturdy stalks. Dwarf varieties grow much smaller, less than eight inches tall. They are good in flower beds and around rock gardens.

Plant Propagation:

Irises are grown from both seed and root separation. The roots, or Rhizomes, are easily separated and replanted. The Rhizome looks like a long, thin potato with roots underneath. When transplanting, separate the Rhizome. Make sure to have some root and a leaf or two in each section. Plant the Rhizomes near the surface with the roots below. Space them a foot or so apart . They will fill in the spaces quickly.

How to Grow Iris Plants:

If you want a low maintenance, easy to grow flower, you have come to the right plant. Irises like full sun, but tolerate partial shade well. Their only demand is well draining soil ,to avoid root rot. The soil does not need to be the richest in your yard. Nor, does this plant demand heavy fertilizer feeding.

Mulching around the plants, will help to keep out the weeds. Once established, you will only need to water them during the driest part of the year. Fertilize occasionally. Do not apply heavy doses of Nitrogen.

When planting, make sure to put it in a spot where it can grow and thrive for years. It will spread quickly and will need to be thinned or divided regularly. To divide them, simply pull up some of the Rhizomes. The remaining plants will reward you with healthier plants and bigger blooms. As for what to do with the Rhizomes you have culled from your garden....give them to friends!

Insect and Disease:

Being a hardy plant, Irises are not often bothered by insects. They can suffer from occasional root borers.

Irises seldom are affected by plant disease. The most common problem is root rot, which is caused by poorly draining soils. In preparing beds, make sure soil is light and well draining. Raise the soil level, if need be. Also add sand and compost, if you have clay soil.

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