Irises burst forth come spring, in spectacular blooms and vivid colors. Bearded irises are lush beauties demanding attention with their large flowers and vivid colors. Less showy, but just as stunning, are the Siberian irises with delicate blooms in shades of blue, purple, red, yellow and white. These beautiful flowers are easy to grow and once established will return year after year to beautify your garden. The Siberian and bearded iris both deserve a place in any spring garden.
Bearded irises (Iris germanica) are perennial flowers that bloom from mid to late spring. Bearded irises are hardy in zones 3 to 9 and do not require a period of cold to bloom. The most dramatic and latest blooming, are the tall (28 to 38 inches) bearded irises which come in colors ranging from purplish black to peach and white. Tall irises, often seen planted in naturalistic drifts of similar colors, announce to the world that spring has sprung. While the tall irises finish the show, dwarf and standard irises bloom throughout spring. Miniature dwarf bearded irises reach a height of 8 inches or less while border irises reach a height of 27 inches. No matter what height you need there is a bearded iris to grace your garden.
Bearded irises grow from rhizomes which grow best when planted at or just below the soil surface. The feeder roots, then grow from the rhizomes, and penetrate beneath the soil. The rhizomes store the food for the iris which is produced by fan/ sword shaped leaves that appear before the iris blooms and continue to grow until the first freeze. The fan shaped foliage of the bearded iris is attractive throughout the summer months and does not die back after blooming. When planting bearded irises, plan for the foliage to stay put during the summer months. It makes a nice backdrop for grasses or other companion plantings.
Bearded irises like the sun. Find a sunny spot, with well drained soil and you have the perfect environment to grow irises. Potted irises can be planted in the spring; though the best time to plant bare rhizomes is in late summer or early fall. Dig a hole, and create a mound of dirt in the center. Allow the feeder roots to be covered by soil while the rhizome sets on top of the mound of dirt. If you think the rhizome does not look planted when you are finished filling in the soil, you probably have planted them correctly. Water your irises after planting until they are established. Bearded irises like moisture but they are susceptible