How to Grow Irises Like a Pro
Irises are a timeless perennial flower that most of us probably picked as kids from our Grandmother’s garden. While most people are familiar with purple irises, they do come in a large variety of colors. Once you start growing them they can quickly fill in large garden bed areas. Irises also make beautiful cut flower arrangements.
You can start your own iris garden very easily. With a little care and work, you will soon be enjoying the beautiful, colorful, aromatic blooms of irises. Have fun and trade your friends and neighbors to get new colors and bloom sizes. Pretty soon you will be addicted to irises!
- Garden space
- Iris bulbs
- Gardening tools
- Gardening gloves if you'd like
1. You will need to choose your iris bed location carefully. Irises like full sun and well-drained soil to really thrive and produce plenty of blooms. If you live in a very warm climate, you can get away with planting them in partial shade.
2. Prepare your soil by digging down 18 inches. Next, add peat and sand to ensure good drainage of the soil. This is important to avoid root rot which will kill your irises. If your soil is clay, you may want to consider planting your irises in raised beds.
3. Divide the rhizomes into sections that contain 2 or 3 leaves and several roots. Dig shallow holes to plant the rhizomes in. Space your holes about 18 inches apart. Mound the soil in the hole and place the rhizome on the mound with the roots hanging down. The rhizome should rest no lower than 2 inches below ground level. Cover the rhizome and firmly press down the soil. You are now ready to step back and watch your irises thrive!
4. Irises require minimal upkeep. At the end of blooming season, cut the dead stalks off a the base and remove any dead leaves. You will want to leave the green foliage intact. I find that it adds color and texture to your bed when there are no blooms. More importantly, the leaves are busy producing food for your irises to grow bigger rhizomes.
5. Every 3 years you will want to divide and replant your irises to prevent overcrowding and root rot. Overcrowding will cause you plants to not produce as many blooms and sometimes no blooms at all. The best time to do this is in late summer after the blooming season is over. Dig the rhizomes up and wash off the soil. Divide them into smaller sections and discard any old or soft rhizomes. Let them dry for a day before replanting. You can take that time to amend the soil with some additional compost.