The tall, beautiful iris, named after the Greek goddess who rode rainbows, comes in many magical colors. Despite its divine origins, this June bloomer is rugged, reliable, and easy to grow. Ideally, plant irises in late summer to early fall, when nighttime temperatures remain between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above. This gives them plenty of time to get established before the coming winter.
CHOOSING AND PREPARING A PLANTING SITE
- ● Irises will bloom best in full sun. They can tolerate as little as half a day of sun, but it’s not ideal. Without enough light, they won’t bloom.
- ● They prefer fertile, neutral to slightly acidic soil.
- ● Good drainage all year-long is very important; irises prefer “wet feet, but dry knees.” They will not tolerate wet soil inwintertime.
- ● Loosen the soil with a tiller or garden fork to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.HOW TO PLANT IRISES
- ● For bare-root irises, plant the rhizome horizontally with the top exposed. In climates with hot summers, plant the rhizome just below the soil surface.
- ● Plant rhizomes singly or in groups of three, 1 to 2 feet apart, depending on the size.
- ● Dig a shallow hole 10 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep. Make a ridge of soil down the middle and place the rhizomeon the ridge, spreading roots down both sides. Fill the hole with soil and firm it gently, leaving part of the rhizome and the foliage uncovered.
● Tip: It’s easy to make the mistake of planting irises too deeply. The rhizomes of these plants should be partially exposed to the elements, or thinly covered with soil in hot climates. If they’re buried too deeply, they won’t do well.
● Do not mulch around the rhizome as this practice may encourage rot. Water thoroughly.