Bearded Iris Culture

Tall Bearded Iris Culture

Iris Acoma

Bearded iris are least hardy of all the plants I offer for sale.  More needy in location and more susceptible to bacterial soft rot.  That said, they are the queens of the early spring garden.  The bloom season order of bearded iris begins with the miniatures and standard dwarfs prior to daffodils, then Intermediates followed by the Tall Bearded iris.  Some bearded iris will rebloom.

Bearded iris prefer a sunny location with at least 6 hours of sun a day.  Good air circulation is a must!  If suffocated by other perennials or weeds leaf spot and bacterial soft rot will reign.  Raised beds are ideal for bearded iris who prefer their rhizomes to bake in the sun.  Standing water or over-moist soil is a sure way to kill your bearded iris.

Space your iris at least 18" apart, 24" is a better choice that will allow about 4 years of growth.  Plant in well-drained soil that has been amended with compost or leaf mold.  Bearded iris will grow in the direction of the leaves.  Dig a hole at least 10" deep and 18" wide.  Make a mound in the center of the hole and spread out the iris roots downward over the mound.  Cover with dirt leaving the top of the rhizome at or above the surface of the soil.  New plant should be at the center of a depression to allow water to pool at the plant.  Water thoroughly after planting.  Your new iris should not need much more additional watering after this point unless you are in a time of draught.  New, green leaves will emerge from the center of the fan and those on the outside of the fan may turn brown and die.  Carefully pull off any brown iris leaves as many pests overwinter in old-dead leaves.

Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizer with your iris, it can increase the chance of bacterial soft rot.  Pests of bearded iris include bacterial soft rot, leaf spot, iris borer and aphid.  There is lots of information on the internet to deal with these pests.

Dwarf Bearded Iris Culture

Bumble Bee Delight Dwarf Iris

Dwarf Bearded iris culture is very similar to the tall bearded iris.  They tend to be more hardy and more colorful; however, the drawback is a much shorter bloom season with many varieties only having 3-4 blooms per bloom stalk.  Due to their smaller size, use caution when mulching and weeding around dwarf iris rhizomes so they do not become covered with mulch and succumb to bacterial soft rot.


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