Iris Plants: Perennial Stalwarts
There are many types of iris and I’ve grown a number of these beautiful flowers. Their eye-catching beauty is entrancing. They are colorful, graceful, and sometimes fragrant. Depending on the species they can bloom throughout the season, so let’s look which can be grown in the climate zone 5 of the USA.
Find the type of iris you wish to know about, from small bulbs to the large corms of German Iris.
Iris Plant: Reticulata
One of my favorites, this is the earliest iris bloomer in spring (March – April) for me, and very hardy. Shades of deep blue to purple with interesting golden accent markings on the falls.Good plant for rock garden, and the flowers are sweetly fragrant. Named for the fact that their bulbs have a netted look to them (reticulata means a fish net, netted, or a network in Latin)
requires a sunny situation that drains well; Soil needs to stay relatively dry in summer during a dormant period.
Dutch and Spanish iris, Iris Xiphium
Bloom late spring (April-May), bulbs sold in the fall, graceful and slender blooms and foliage. Clear, beautiful colors blooming with the lily-flowered tulips. My favorites were Wedgewood blue with Elegant Lady tulips. The whites, such as White Pearl, are ethereal. They are often used as cut flowers for arrangements.
Semi-hardy, they prefer sun or afternoon shade and rich, well-drained soil. Plant bulbs in fall, 4 to 6 inches deep. The top of the bulb should be just beneath the surface of the soil. Feed with low-nitrogen fertilizer.
“Bearded” Iris germanica
[the look] Bloom in May, these Iris range in height from 2 to 4 feet. They are all colors of the rainbow ( hence the name “Iris”, and have many variations of form in both bloom and height. Intermediate (height 16 to 27 inches), miniature tall (height 16 to 25 inches, small flowers), border (height 16 to 27 inches), and tall (height 28 to 38 inches) bearded types alternate bloom sequence through the blooming season ( shortest blooming first through to tallest blooming latest). There are also dwarf irises,Miniature dwarf (height 8 inch or less,), standard dwarf (height 8 to 15 inches). Certain varieties can re-bloom.
top half of the iris rhizome should be left exposed so that it will not rot, but roots attached to the rhizome need to be covered with soil and require a sunny location for best growth. Light, loamy soil with a pH of 6 to 7 (prefer slightly alkaline soil) that has been amended with organic matter is best, but just remember that it is mainly too much moisture that is the enemy, so make sure it is well-drained. Divide every 3 to 5 years. They can be prone to disease and borers, but good practice reduces problems. Planting and dividing information
A Must-have Book for Iris-lovers
Plants and bulbs!
bloom in June, these perennials are long lived -for generations. They take a year or two to get settled before they bloom well for you, but then they make up for it! Mainly purples, blues, and whites, the colors range from nearly black and wine reds to purples, lavenders and blues, to pinks, whites and yellows. These are my very favorite iris, and one of my favorite garden plants, they are graceful and elegant in flower and foliage. A joy in the garden. Hardy,elegant Siberian Iris.
They can be planted in spring or fall,the top of the rhizome 1 to 2 inches below the surface. They like a slightly acid, moist soil, but do not like standing water. Growing best in moist, well-drained, fertile soils, yet they tolerate less welcoming situations. Part sun to sunny. When making divisions for replanting, be sure that each division has about a half dozen or more fans of foliage.
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The Gamecock iris is a named variety of the Louisiana iris. Growing in boggy areas and in full sun, this velvet black flower is very showy. Native to U.S. wetlands.
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