Growing bearded iris in your garden
- 33 bearded iris bulb varieties
- Blooms in both spring and fall
- Easy to grow and drought resistant
How to grow and care for bearded irises
Bearded irises are an incredibly popular perennial that appears in various forms. The name comes from the Greek name for the goddess of the rainbow, indicating just how varied the colors are in the species. Not only are the endless colors stunning, but they also have striking, sword-like leaves. Bearded Irises are easy to cultivate, and thus have become a favorite for many a gardener. Believe it or not, there are over 30,000 cultivars, tho the majority of which are not commonly found for sale. That said, there are still hundreds to choose from, each with different colors and heights of leaves and stalks. These flowers grow well in almost any garden soil, provided it is well-draining. It's important to pay attention to the species you select for planting as the needs sometimes vary.
When to plant bearded irises for the best results
Typically, bearded irises are planted in the late summer. Select a spot in the yard that has well-draining soil and plenty of soil. A pH level of a little less than seven is ideal. If necessary, do a soil test and amend the soil accordingly. Be sure to allow for plenty of space between each rhizome so that they don't become overcrowded. Prepare your garden bed by loosening the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. Once loose, mix in a two to four inch layer of compost. For each rhizome, dig a shallow hole that is large enough to accommodate the rhizome, or clup of rhizomes. Each hole should be about four inches deep. Form a mound of soil in the center of the hole for the planting base. Place the rhizome on the mound-high enough so that the rhizome is slightly above the soil level. Gently spread the roots down the side of the mound. Fill the hole with soil, press gently, and then water well. Each grouping of irises should be placed about two feet apart.
Dividing bearded iris rhizomes
Once the blooming has ended for the season, cut back the green foliage to about four to six inches. This ensures that the plant will not exert energy trying to maintain leaves throughout the winter. Every three to four years, divide the rhizomes.
For more information about planting, growing, and caring for bearded irises, see our Bearded Iris Bulbs Planting Guide.