Planting, Growing, And Caring For Iris Flowers

iris flower

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

Iris, a tall and gorgeous flower in a broad array of captivating colors, gets its name from the Greek goddess who rode rainbows. Iris may be found in a wide variety of different hues. The name derives from the mythological figure Iris. This divinely inspired flower is incredibly hardy, trustworthy, and straightforward to care for, despite its heavenly origins and divine inspiration. You can find its beginnings in paradise. By reading this article, you need to know everything you need to know about growing iris flowers, including how to cultivate them and take care of them.

Regarding Irises

iris flower

  • Iris spp is its scientific name.
  • Type of Plant: a Flower
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun
  • pH ranges from slightly acidic to neutral in the soil.
  • Seasons of Flowering: Spring and Summer
  • Blue, Multicolor, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, and Yellow are the colors of the flowers.
  • Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Iris is the common name for a genus that encompasses more than 250 different species in their own right. Iris germanica is the most common type of iris, and its popular name is the tall bearded iris. The scientific name for this iris is Iris germanica. Beards can grow on the top of these irises, which can grow to a height of up to three feet tall. Their peculiar six-petaled blossoms consist of three petals known as "falls" that hang down from the outside of the flower, and three petals are known as "standards" that stand upright inside the flower.

Irises with beards are significantly more common than crested irises, sometimes called "beardless" irises, due to the absence of beards on their flowers. The bearded iris gets its name from the fine hairs that can be seen running along the middle of the falls of the flower. These hairs provide the appearance of a beard and give the bloom a fuzzy appearance. When the strands of crested kinds, like the Siberian iris, develop in the same direction, instead of forming a comb or ridge, they include a comb, giving these types their distinctive appearance.

iris flower

Between the conclusion of spring and the beginning of summer, most irises will produce their stunning flowers at some point throughout this period. Some of them, particularly bearded hybrids, are remontant, which means they can flower once more later in the summer. This ability is what gives them their name. Just these particular hybrids may exhibit this specific characteristic. It is not unusual for the blossoming season of bearded Siberian irises to coincide with that of their Siberian congeners at the exact location.

Irises are not only favored by hummingbirds and butterflies, but they also make beautiful complements to bouquets when they are trimmed and arranged appropriately. When planted in the yard with other flowering plants, such as roses, peonies, and lilies, irises can flourish to their full potential.

Planting

Irises will produce the most beautiful flowers possible if they are given a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight per day while cultivated. That is not the ideal environment for them. Even when exposed to light, they may endure it for as little as a full day at a time. If not enough sunlight can reach them, their beautiful bloom may not develop as it usually would. Bearded irises should not be grown near other plants that will cast too much of a shadow on them; several types do best when grown in a separate bed all to themselves. You can find bearded irises in a variety of colors.

iris flower

It is necessary that the ground be well-drained and that its pH be either neutral or slightly acidic. It is advised to push mature compost or manure into the soil after working it with a soil tiller to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. It is of the utmost importance to ensure adequate drainage: Irises thrive in surroundings that are described as having "wet feet but dry knees," an idiom that aptly describes these conditions. They cannot survive the winter in the moist soil since it is not an environment that supports their wellbeing. Find out more information about how to correctly prepare the ground for planting and how to amend the soil with organic matter in the correct manner.

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant The Seeds Of An Iris?

  • The majority of irises should be planted between the end of summer and the beginning of fall when it is anticipated that nighttime temperatures will be between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 10 degrees Celsius) for an extended period or higher. You should plant irises now since the conditions are just right. Consequently, they will have plenty of time before the following winter to establish themselves in their new residence and build their new home.
  • Because tall bearded iris cultivars predispose to go dormant between the beginning and middle of summer, it is best to wait until closer to fall to plant them. That is because tall bearded iris cultivars tend to be dormant between the beginning and middle of summer.

  • If you buy irises earlier in the year, either in a container or as bare rhizomes, you need to be sure to plant them as soon as it is possible to do so after you get them home. Irises take up to three years to bloom after they are grown, and Irises are the first flowers to blossom in the summer. Having them planted as soon as possible is advantageous rather than waiting for the "perfect" occasion. Doing so will maximize the likelihood of them surviving if planted sooner rather than later.

How To Plant Irises In The Ground

  • The thick stems are the rhizomes, and when planting them, you should lay them on their sides with the tops exposed and only the roots submerged. Rhizomes that do not have any roots attached to them are the ones that are referred to as "bare." It is recommended that the rhizome be planted no more profoundly than a few millimeters below the surface of the ground in regions where summer temperatures can reach very high levels.
  • You must create a hole with a diameter of 10 inches and a depth of 4 inches. It is strongly suggested that the rhizome be placed on top of a mound of earth in the region's geographic center. To ensure the stability of the construction, you should then disperse the roots evenly along both sides of the ridge. After the hole has been filled with soil, proceed to carefully pack it down while exposing some of the plant's foliage and a portion of the rhizome.

iris flower

  • You can plant each one on its own or in groups of three, but you should ensure at least one to two feet of distance between them. The amount of space left between the seeds will be determined by the size of the plant as it matures.
  • Before you plant your Siberian iris, it is preferable to let the rhizomes of the plant sit in water for at least one whole night before you do so. On the next day, drill holes one inch deep (or two inches deep if the soil is sandy) and space them at a distance of two feet apart. They will eventually form clumps; you should separate them when the plant's vitality wanes, and the blooms' size decreases.
  • It is essential to refrain from placing mulch around the rhizome to prevent it from rotting.
  • Water thoroughly.

Growing

How To Grow Iris Plants

  • You need to remove the winter mulch and any old leaves at the beginning of the spring, and that will provide room for the growth of new foliage that is healthy and vigorous.
  • When early spring arrives, fertilize the plants by scratching an all-purpose fertilizer around the base of each plant. Do this as soon as possible after early spring begins. Carry out these steps as quickly as you can after the onset of early spring. Fertilizers that contain a high proportion of nitrogen should be used as little as possible, if at all. If reblooming irises are fertilized once more after the first round of flowering has ended, it is possible to achieve the most excellent possible results with these plants. That will stimulate the plant to produce more blossoms than it would have otherwise.

iris flower

  • Irises are susceptible to death if they receive an excessive quantity of water because excessive moisture in the soil will cause the rhizomes to rot. If an iris receives excessive water, it is likely to die. It is of the utmost importance to provide appropriate and consistent watering for your plants throughout the dry summer months.
  • It is essential to maintain an exposed position for the rhizomes. In contrast to bulbs, which grow more successfully while they are buried in the ground, bearded iris rhizomes, to become dry, need to be exposed to some sunlight and air. That allows them to mature into a more robust plant. They will decay and become useless if buried in the soil or if other plants cast a shadow over them. They can also be rendered ineffective if they are exposed to direct sunlight.
  • You will probably need to use stakes to keep your taller irises standing upright.
  • It is essential to conduct regular "deadheading," which is another name for the process of removing spent blooms. Irises that have beards develop flowers one after the other on buds that are evenly spaced throughout the plant's stems, and each flower is produced on a different bud.
  • The flower stems should be cut down to the ground once the blooms have completed blossoming. On the other hand, you should NOT clip the leaves of the iris. The leaves of the plant are responsible for maintaining the process of photosynthesis, which provides energy that will be required by the plant the following year for its growth and flowering. If you want to, you can remove just the brown tips of the leaves off the plant by following the instructions in the previous sentence.

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  • After a severe frost has passed in the autumn, you should drastically trim the leaves, remove any spotty or yellowed foliage, and get rid of any debris you uncover.
  • If considerable frost were to touch the leaves of the iris, you should take the leaf and destroy it in order to get rid of the borer eggs. If significant frost were to touch the leaves of the iris, you should take the leaf and destroy it. Determine the specific date of the first frost that happens in your region.
  • After the ground has frozen, shield the rhizomes from the harsh winter conditions by covering them with a thin layer of evergreen boughs, then covering that with an inch or two of sand. Due to this, you will have a greater degree of protection from the elements. It would be best if you put this protection in place after the earth has frozen, and it should be removed the following spring when the forsythias bloom. This process should take place after the ground has frozen.
  • Irises are a favorite food source for the ubiquitous insect pest known as the iris borer. The female lays her eggs in the fallen leaves, where they will spend the winter. One of the unmistakable indicators of the disease is the presence of streaks that migrate perpendicular to the leaf's surface. You need to get rid of them as soon as possible if they are located; otherwise, you could use them against you. You must dig out the rhizome, and you must sever the diseased pieces before you can use it. If there is deterioration in the rhizome, this step needs to be taken. For information on how to stay away from insects and other pests, kindly refer to the following.

Dividing Irises

iris flower

It is not unheard of for iris plants to become congested throughout their lifetimes, which causes the rhizomes to lose their vigor and results in the flowers becoming sterile. Many other reasons could account for why anything like this would take place. When this point is reached, which can take anywhere from two to five years on average, it is imperative to divide the still viable rhizomes and replant them in new soil.

When do you think it would be appropriate for us to part ways? After the blossoms have faded away, you should proceed with this task, and when you are finished, you should trim the foliage to a height of about six inches.

  • After the clump of irises has finished blossoming, carefully dig them out of the ground not too long after the blooming season has ended (often around the middle of summer). You will see that the first rhizome you planted (now known as the "mother") has resulted in the growth of several other rhizomes. These new rhizomes are called offspring. You will want to ensure you don't miss out on this.
  • You will need an exceptionally sharp knife to cut these rhizomes away from their mother. After that, you will need to get rid of the mother because it will no longer be able to generate blooms for the plant.
  • Examine the rhizomes for any signs of illness, such as soft patches or rotting tissue, and then cut out and get rid of any infected sections or entire rhizomes that are unhealthy. Examine the rhizomes for any signs of disease, such as soft patches or decaying tissue.
  • You can plant these fresh rhizomes in a new bed, replant them where they were before (after adding new soil), or share them with others to help spread the joy that comes from growing irises!

iris flower

Iris germanica, generally known as tall bearded irises, can be acquired in various colors to suit your specific needs. Planting them in the fall is the most common and recommended time of the year to do it. Rebloomers (remontant) varieties include:

  • Immortality is a hardy plant that can survive up to Zone 4, and it produces fragrant white flowers twice over the year: once in the early summer and once in the late summer. Immortality can also endure temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The "Feed Back" plant produces fragrant dark purple flowers, and it can be cultivated in Zones 4 to 9 of the United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness scale.
  • Earl of Essex has white flowers with a purple edge, which can grow in zones ranging from three to 10.
  • The Jennifer Rebecca plant has mauve-pink flowers, which may be grown in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 through 9.

The variety of iris known as I. sibirica, which is indigenous to Siberia and can be found there, likewise comes in a wide variety of colors and can be found there. Compared to the glorious bearded irises, the beauty of these irises is more subdued; nonetheless, their tenacity is in no way decreased. In addition, research has shown that they have a higher level of resistance to illnesses and insects.

  • The cultivar known as "Blueberry Fair" produces blooms with blue ruffles around the petal borders and is hardy in Zones 3 through 8.
  • The type commonly referred to as "Fond Kiss" produces white flowers with a hint of pink, and it can withstand growth zones as low as three and as high as 8.

iris flower

Iris ensata, sometimes known as Japanese irises, have vast and flat flowers. These heavy feeders depend on moisture throughout the growing season and do particularly well in areas close to ponds. However, to survive the fall and winter months, you must move them to an environment drier than where they are now.

  • It grows hardy in Zones 4 through 9, and the variety known as 'Coho' produces pink flowers with a golden undertone.
  • The 'Variegata' cultivar has dark purple-reddish colored flowers, and the plant may survive in Zones 4 through 9 of the United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone system.

Harvesting

Irises As Cut Flowers

  • It would be best if you cut the flowers for use in arrangements colors begin to emerge, as this is when the blossoms are at their fullest potential.
  • In general, you can use vases for anywhere between three and seven days before they need to be replaced.

Wit And Wisdom

iris flower

  • The fleur-de-lis, which serves as the royal flag of France, and the iris, which is the symbol of Florence, Italy, prominently display the flower. The fleur-de-lis serves as the royal flag of France, and the iris serves as the symbol of Florence.
  • At one point in time, oral root, prepared by dehydrating the seeds of the Iris Florentina plant, was thought to be able to treat several lung and blood problems. Additionally, due to the naturally occurring fluoride content, it was suggested to parents whose infants were teething that they give their children a "finger" of dried root to nibble on while their children were in the process of teething. That was done so that the naturally occurring fluoride could help prevent tooth decay.

Pests/Diseases

  • Irises have earned a reputation for being hardy plants due to their ability to withstand harsh conditions such as drought and damage from deer grazing.

Iris Pests And Diseases

iris flower

Pest/Disease TypeSymptoms Control/Prevention
Aphids Insect leaves that are misshapen and yellow, blooms that are twisted, blossoms that fall off, sticky "honeydew" (excretion) on the leaves, and black mould.Spray them with water, apply insecticidal soap, carefully inspect young plants, make use of fertilisers with a delayed release, and try to avoid using too much nitrogen. Encourage species such as lacewings, ladybugs, and spiders.
Bacterial soft rot of iris BacteriaDieback begins at the tips of the leaves; leaves become yellow, wilt, and separate from the base; rhizomes rot and emit an offensive stench; plants may perish.Remove sick rhizome tissue and allow surfaces to air dry for one to two days before replanting; in the case of severe infections, kill plants and the surrounding environment.
Soil (do not compost), frequent removal of plant debris, disinfection of tools, excellent air circulation, prevention of plant injury, management of iris borer infestations, and planting of rhizomes at the appropriate depth.
Blight (southern), “white mold” Fungus The leaves, stalks, and sometimes the entire plant wilt, turn brown or black, and eventually die; sores that become waterlogged on the lower stems; crown and rhizome rot; Fungal mats that are fluffy white and have mustard seed–like balls on the stem bases and adjacent soilDestroy affected parts of plants (if the infection is severe), white fungal mats, and the surrounding soil to a depth of at least 8 inches and a distance of at least 6 inches beyond the plant; do not compost. Regularly clear the area of any plant debris; sterilise the equipment; solarize the ground; resistant varieties; excellent drainage
Blight (Botrytis), “gray mold” Fungus Spots that are yellow, brown, or grey with water-soaked edges on the leaves or flowers; grey mould; buds that do not open; stem lesions; wilting or rotting; charred or "fired" appearance on the surface of some plantsDestroy sick parts of plants or plants that are highly infected (do not compost); remove plant debris on a regular basis; disinfect instruments; ensure excellent air circulation and sunlight; avoid watering plants from above; prevent plant stress and injury; weed; rotate crops.
Ink spotFungus Spots on the leaves that are yellow-margined and reddish brown in colour, a brownish black powdery material in the spots, the collapse of the plants, inky black stains on parts of the rhizomes, and rotting of the rhizomes.Destroy sick leaves and rhizomes (do not compost them), remove plant detritus on a regular basis, ensure enough air circulation, and rotate crops every three years.
Iris borers InsectThe leaf tips turn brown, there are pinholes bitten in the leaves (which indicate an access point for caterpillars or larvae), holes are drilled in the rhizomes, and there is a slimy, stinking mess at the plant base and in the rhizome.Before pupation (and new moths, mating, and eggs), squash the afflicted foliage manually or remove it and throw it away; Examine any potentially damaged rhizomes and dispose of them by burning or burying them. After a severe frost, plant debris should be cleaned out of beds.
Iris weevils (“flag weevils”) Insect These beetle-like insects feed on the flowers, seeds, and pods of wild blue flag iris (Iris versicolor) and purple Siberian iris; they deposit eggs in the ovary, which then pupate in the seed-pod; and they are only visible when the flower is in bloom.Remove/destroy seedpods
Leaf spot (“bacterial leaf spot of iris”) Bacteria Variable; water-soaked rust or black spots on the leaf between the veins will eventually dry and fall out, creating holes; leaves will yellow, wilt, and eventually die; stem cankers will form.Destroy sick sections or plants that are seriously infected (do not compost); remove plant detritus on a regular basis; disinfect instruments; minimise plant stress or infection; ensure plants have adequate air circulation. avoid overhead watering
Leaf spot (fungal) Fungus Variable; leaf spots on lower leaves get larger and turn brown or black; lesions get fuzzy growth or pustules; disease moves higher; leaves fall off.Destroy sick leaves and plants that are significantly affected (do not compost); remove plant debris on a regular basis; sanitise instruments; cultivate resistant types; ensure adequate air circulation. Steer clear of watering from above.
Leaf spot (iris) Fungus Yellow and brown patches on the leaves with water-soaked, reddish brown, and yellow edges that dry out; black specks in the lesions; leaves that curl, yellow, and fall back from the tip; poor flowering; plants that are debilitated.Destroy sick parts (do not compost); remove debris on a regular basis; cultivate resistant kinds; ensure adequate air circulation and sun exposure; prevent watering from above; and weed.
Nematodes (foliar) NematodeLesions that first appear as yellow, brown, or purple angular spots or streaks typically transform into dark green, brown, or blackish lesions between the leaf veins as the disease progresses, beginning on the lower leaves. Symptoms travel upward on the plant; stems, buds, and flowers may also be affected; poor blossoming; stunted or bushy growth; dead patches may drop out; twisted or curled leaves may wilt or drop; symptoms move higher on the plant;Destroy any sick leaves or plants (do not compost them), and remove any plant debris on a regular basis. select resistant varieties, if available; air circulation and spacing that are optimal; Avoid watering the leaves from above and try to keep them as dry as possible. weed
Nematodes (root-knot) Nematode"Knotty" roots or galled roots; plants that are stunted, yellowed, wilted, or otherwise weakened; leaves and other portions that may deform or die; insufficient bloomingDestroy any contaminated plant detritus after the flowering season is over, including the roots (do not compost), disinfect any garden tools, and choose for resistant types. solarize soil; as a trap crop, plant French marigolds, also known as Tagetes patula. swap out your plants every so often.
Nematodes (stem and bulb)NematodeTypical symptoms include yellowing of the leaves, followed by browning, distortion, blistering, wilting, and death; swollen stems, crowns, and leaf bases; poor or distorted flowering; plants that are stunted or die; the presence of fluffy white masses known as "nematode wool"; Rhizomes that have been discoloured or warped become brittle, brown, or die; a cross-section of the rhizome may exhibit brown concentric circles.Destroying infected plants and any others within three feet, including the soil (composting is not allowed); sterilise the implements; pick seeds and plants that are in good health and free of nematodes. if at all possible, rotate the plantings once every five years; cultivate green manures like mustard and radish, for example; weed
Slugs/snails MolluskThere are irregular holes in the leaves and flowers, and there is a sticky excretion on the plants and the soil.Handpick, stay away from mulch, use copper plant collars, and stay away from watering plants from above. In the evening, place boards on the dirt; with the morning, remove the boards and wash the bugs in hot, soapy water; suffocate in a deep container containing half an inch of beer or a mixture of sugar water and yeast that has been buried to ground level; put a strip of diatomaceous earth measuring one inch wide around plants.
Thrips InsectPlants suffering from stunted growth, stippling, and leaf dropKnock off with a water spray; make use of sticky traps; beat/shake foliage/flowers; snip off unopened/infested buds and shoot tips. trash after being submerged in a solution consisting of 7 parts water and 1 part isopropyl alcohol; water properly, and stay away from nitrogen in excess; cut flowers from their stems
Verbena bud mothsInsectMoths do not do any damage to plants despite boring into plant shoots/stalks, seeds, and buds.Picking and cutting off infestations by hand, then torching infested shoots and buds
VirusesVirusVariable; leaves may have yellow or light green mottling or rings; leaves, stems, and flowers may be deformed; flowers may be streaked; growth may be stuntedDestroy diseased plants (do not compost them), remove plant detritus on a regular basis, disinfect instruments, and only grow resistant types or plants that have been confirmed virus-free. insect pests that feed on plant sap, such as aphids and whiteflies; weed
Whiteflies InsectAll stages feed on the sap that collects on the undersides of leaves; they leave behind a sticky "honeydew" (excrement) and a sooty, black mould; regions of yellow or silver on the leaves; wilted or stunted plants; adults fly away when they are disturbed; certain species transmit viruses.Remove any leaves or plants that have been infested, use a handheld vacuum to get rid of the pests, spray the undersides of the leaves with water in the morning and evening, and put yellow sticky traps. soaps that kill insects should be used. Native plants are a great way to attract hummingbirds and insects that are helpful to your garden. weed; reflecting mulch

iris flower

Iris, which receives its name from the Greek goddess who rode rainbows, is a tall and magnificent flower that comes in various enchanting colors. Its name comes from the goddess Iris. Despite its heavenly origins, this divinely inspired flower is remarkably robust, trustworthy, and easy to nurture. Its origins may be traced back to heaven. Find out everything you need about growing iris flowers, cultivating them, and caring for them here.