Monday, April 11, 2011


TALL BEARDED IRIS  are, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite bloomers.  These irresistible perennials, with a color range in every imaginable hue and color, except true red, grace gardens usually in May and into June, and, in my opinion, need to be in every flower garden.  Although the iris themselves are very hardy, they are growing quickly right now, and the new growth that is very tender, could be affected by freezing temperatures, which could  abort  the growth of the bloom buds.  Two years ago, I had 54 different iris that were affected, and did not bloom from a cold snap.  So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed with these recent dipping temperatures!  They appreciate a spring fertilization--something with low nitrogen, since that can cause root rot, and something high in phosphorous. I use triple super phosphate 0-45-0, applied a  month before bloom time--so now is a great time to fertilize.  They can be fertilized again in late September, with a bone meal or super phosphate.  In early spring if you notice any damage by slugs or snails, use bait to control.  If you see that you have any outbreaks of bacterial rot (root, or rhizome rot), it is very important that you remove the rotting tissue as soon as possible.  Scrape the soft tissue out with a spoon, leaving the roots intact that are still good.  Drench the area with a bleach and water solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.  Allow to dry out, then cover with soil again.  I found several of mine with root rot this year, due to the wet, wet winter and spring we've had so far.  Always keep your iris beds cleaned out, with no debris covering the rhizomes, and don't plant too deep, one of the most common errors made in taking care of iris; the tops of their rhizomes like to bask in the sun.  Plant in full sun, or at least full sun for half a day, in areas with good drainage.  Divide every 3-4 years, or whenever necessary as to avoid over-crowding, which will affect their bloom size and vigor.  These hardy, carefree blooms can be extended by planting species that bloom early-, mid- or late-season, giving you the longest blooming season possible.  I love these graceful bloomers!
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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