Get Your Garden Going: A Guide to Starting with Bearded Iris

Suppose you have been promising yourself a bed of bearded iris. Get started as soon as possible. 

Iris planting time is now, and orders for the rhizomes (bulb-like roots) should be placed with growers as soon as possible.

Bearded IrisPin

The bearded iris is one of the easiest flowers to grow and will tolerate various soils and cultural methods. 

Planting Bearded Iris

Use the planting instructions below to guide your display for next spring. Remember, a few rhizomes this fall will increase, giving you more and more blooms each season.

Soon you will have as fine a display as you saw this year in your neighbor’s garden. The color range in the iris is almost limitless and may be used effectively alone or in borders with other flowers.

The Iris checklist on page 51 helps select varieties according to color. Try some of them and see how quickly they will add interest to your landscape picture. Plant iris where they get at least 6 hours of full sun daily.

Healthy rhizomes from the grower to you are ready for immediate planting in the garden. Rhizome is firm, carrying many good roots. 

If roots get broken in transit, you may carefully trim them before planting. Soaking the rhizomes for a few hours in ‘water helps promote good growth.

Planting Rhizomes

Bearded iris produces better blooms when the soil is 1’ to ½’ feet deep. Mix a liberal quantity of dried or rotted manure and a handful of bonemeal to the square foot. 

Iris is happiest in neutral or slightly acidic soil, so Iime carefully. Iris is like a well-drained location.

July and August are generally considered the best for planting the bearded iris. Rhizomes are set, so their lops are about level with the soil surface. 

Placing the rhizome on a mound of earth, the roots extend down either side. Press the soil over them firmly and water the plants well.

Opinion varies us to the spacing of the newly set plants. A 1’ foot planting distance. However, it ensures against too rapid crowding, and the clumps will not need to divide for about three years. 

Groups of three or five rhizomes make better clumps set in one direction.

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