Iris: The Apple of my Gardening Eye

An old-time favorite but still a very frequently used perennial, the Iris is truly timeless. Whether it be a the romantic, frilly Beardeds or the more modern, chic Dutch Iris, both add elements to the garden which are unmatched among other perennials. August is often referred to as “Bearded Iris Month” simply because bearded iris like to be planted in late August or early in September for best results. Today I thought I’d just give a general overview of both for those readers who may be slightly unfamiliar with the difference or maybe just wanted their memory refreshed.

Bearded Iris

Typically sold as “rhizomes”, Bearded Iris (or sometimes called German Iris) are the elegant queens of the late spring

This Red at Night Bearded Iris is one of the most popular!

This Red at Night Bearded Iris is one of the most popular!

garden. The rhizomes are planted just below the soils surface, with little to almost no soil cover. The roots grow out of the bottom of this rhizome, creating a solid foundation for which the plant to grow. These Bearded Iris typically produce blooms made up of standards (the petals which stand upright) and falls (the petals which point downwards). The falls are covered with a soft “fuzz”, creating the beard which gives the iris its name! These rhizomes are best planted during the fall season but be sure to give them plenty of time to become established prior to any frost. They are great naturalizers (meaning they multiply quickly) and are reliably perennial. If you’re interested in more than a one time bloom, check out some of the Reblooming Bearded Iris!

Dutch Iris

Dutch Iris, although similar to Bearded Iris in bloom shape, have many of

This Orental Beauty Dutch Iris boast of bi-colored blooms of yellow and lavendar.

This Orental Beauty Dutch Iris boast of bi-colored blooms of yellow and lavendar.

their own characteristics which make them highly sought after. Their extremely narrow, long leaves make elegant additions to cut flower arrangements and the blooms tend to last an extremely long time making them a florists’ favorite! Dutch Iris come in a variety of blues, yellows, purples, and white. If you’re looking for a more unique, later spring-blooming boarded plant, try some of the dwarf varieties like the Cantab orĀ  the Danford Dwarf Dutch Iris!

So do yourself a favor this year and plan for fresh cutflowers out of your own garden next spring! Plant Iris SOON! And if you need some help choosing, try checking out some great Bearded Iris Collections!

Until next time,

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Have a question about iris or any other bulb gardening topic? Ask Bridget! Email her at bridget@bulbblog.com! If she features your question in a future post, you’ll receive a Holland Bulb Farms coupon for your next order with Holland Bulb Farms!