Iris is one my favorite flowers when it comes to growing perennials. I remember that my mother used to have them in all her garden beds, and when I see them now, I get very nostalgic.
What I love most about irises is the color they, and other early spring bloomers, bring to my garden.
Keep reading to find out how to grow these pretty plants.
Iris – Easy to Grow Perennial Rhizome is one of my Favorites.
Many people consider irises bulbs but they are in fact rhizomes. A rhizome is a horizontal stem, usually under the ground that sends out roots and shoots from the nodes that form on it. They are also called root stalks.
Irises are easy to grow if you keep a few basics in mind. They are quite drought-tolerant and normally very low maintenance. I have some in my garden beds here in North Carolina and they never seem to fail to appear in the spring.
Flowers of irises
The plant has beautiful large flowers in the spring. It can also surprise the gardener by occasionally blooming again in the fall if conditions are right which is a delightful treat.
Colors of the flowers vary but common ones are purple. You can get them in pink, orange, yellow, blue and even multi color varieties.
There are even varieties with blooms that are so dark that they look like black plants.
Here is one of my bearded irises in full bloom. These were planted by an old well casing a few years ago and I transplanted them from my mother’s garden.
They are gorgeous now and bloom everywhere in my yard.
Cold hardiness of irises
The rhizome is hardy from zones 4 through 8 and
Soil and sunlight needs of iris bulbs
Irises are not particular about soil and will tolerate anything from sandy to loamy soil. Don’t use high nitrogen fertilizers and be careful about careless mulching which can encourage rhizome rot.
They can take either full or part sun. The rhizomes should be kept exposed.
They need a bit of sun and air to dry them out and will rot easily if they are covered with soil or crowded.
Don’t trim the leaves when flowering is done. These are needed to carry the photosynthesis for next year’s growth.
Cut off brown tips though—and cut the flowering stalk down to the rhizome to discourage rot.
Division of irises
Divide after 2 to 5 years when the clumps get crowded. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with a patch that had a center with no blooms.
Divide them soon after bloom and then transplant to places where the roots will be moist but the top quite dry.
Varieties of irises
There are so many irises to grow. They come in all colors and sizes. Some will even rebloom.
Here are a few to try:
- Ozark Rebounder. Zones 3-11, Blooms in both spring and fall in zones 5-10. It will attract hummingbirds and butterflies too.
- Sapphire Beauty. The deep yellow throat looks amazing on the purple petals. It blooms in summer and is deer resistant.
- Princess of Corinth is a pretty pale peach re-bloomer that is deliciously fragrant. It is hardy in zones 3-11 and will re-bloom in the summer/fall in zones 5-10.
- Orange Harvest does the name justice! The colors practically scream fall! It blooms spring, early summer and fall. This one can take sun or part sun and is drought tolerant.
Aren’t my mother’s irises lovely? They formed big clumps this year. See more photos of these irises here.