Friday, August 12, 2011


As a general rule, the best time to plant tall bearded iris (or dig and divide) is July through August (and into September in warmer climates).  Early planting ensures that the plants are established before cold weather sets in. Choose a place that has good drainage, with full sun or at least 6 hours of sun a day.  Iris thrive in any average to good garden soil.  I use a handful of phosphate, mixed in well with the soil, when planting. Don't use anything high in nitrogen--it will promote root rot. Plant by spreading out the roots on a mound in the center of a shallow hole. Press the soil down, all around the roots, until the top of the rhizome is just below the surface. A common problem is planting too deeply. The top of the rhizome should be above the soil level. Mark your iris with a plant marker. If I've run out of purchased markers, I have used plastic knives, with the name of the iris on the handle--this works well. I have also seen 1" Levelor slats used.  Water in well, keeping the soil moist, but not wet, until established. Make sure you don't over water--which will prove fatal to your plant.  I have recently received a generous shipment from Iris4U, a wonderful business out of Colorado, which I highly recommend! As you can see, the rhizomes are nice and big, with great root systems. It's too late to order iris now, but you can go online to check them out, as well as other iris farms.  Most have an online catalog for viewing.  Divide iris every 3-4 years; it will depend on how close apart you planted them. Divide so that they don't over-crowd one another, which affects the bloom and vigor of the plant.   If you live in a cold winter climate, first year plants benefit from a winter mulch, but uncover it very early the next spring.  Established plants also like a late fall and early spring fertilizer with phosphate, or a light application of a balanced fertilizer as a top dressing around the plant.   Tall bearded Iris are one of the easiest, hardiest, and beautiful perennials you can plant in your garden, coming in a wide range of colors.  They will grace your flower beds and give you years of beautiful blooms with minimal care. 

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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