Iris sp., or Bearded Irises, comprise the most planted Irises today. Many years of hybridizing by growers and Iris fanciers have contributed to a great array of colorful Irises. Whether they are miniature, dwarf, standard, intermediate, or tall, Irises are characterized by having a beard (tuft of hairs) on the falls. All grow from rhizomes and have sword-like leaves. The one in the photo is just one of the many that we have growing in our yard. We also have white, yellow, purple and mixtures of colors. Bearded Irises are hardy in USDA zones 3-9.
Blooming Time: Most irises bloom in the spring. Due to hybridization they come in an array of showy colors. All are very showy.
Culture: Iris sp. or Bearded Iris needs good drainage and full sun in cooler climates, or partial shade in hot climates. They adapt to most soil types. Irises are divided and planted in late spring to early summer and in cooler climates they can be planted as late as October. Set rhizomes 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) apart with the top of the rhizome just below the soil surface. Water well to settle the soil, and water again in about two weeks. We fertilize in early spring before the blooming period. Iris are divided every 3-4 years and thinned out, so as to keep them growing vigorously. Once irises are established, they are very drought tolerant and shouldn’t need supplemental watering. If you do water them, be careful not to over water them. In late fall, all dead foliage should be removed and in cooler climates they should be mulched well.
Propagation: Iris sp. or Bearded Iris is propagated by division.
Iris sp. was featured as Plant of the Week May 14-20, 2010.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.