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How to Grow Iris Plants

With a couple hundred varieties in several different colors and combinations, Irises are popular and easy to grow perennial. The varieties are grouped according to rhizome versus bulb types. The most common larger varieties are great at the back of the flower bed. They make great cuttings. For flower growers, there is a place in your garden for one, or several groups. But, be careful, as they spread quickly and can overcome other flowers.


Varieties of Irises:

There are hundreds of varieties of this easy to grow perennial flower. Regular Irises come in several colors. Bearded Iris are very popular. There are many beardless Iris flowers as well. Regular 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.

For bulb varieties, plant bulbs three inches deep.


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 it demand heavy fertilizer feeding.

Mulching around the plants will help to keep out the weeds. Once established, you will need to water them only in 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 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.


More Gardening Resources:

American Iris Society

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