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Monday, February 24, 2014

Planting Bearded Iris

I planted another variety of Bearded iris - fall fiesta.
Planting bearded irises is easy and they are very hardy once they get established and will spread and fill in the area.   Pick a sunny area - that is a shallow depression and they don't do well where water will sit.   Amend the soil heavily with compost in the same manner you would for a perennial bed.   They will thrive for 4-5 years before you have to divide and amend the soil again if you do it well now.  
The biggest mistake with planting bearded iris.   The top of the rhizome should be a inch or two below the soil.   If you plant too deep - they will rot before they can sprout.   Plant about 6-12 inches apart to allow room to spread over the years.  I don't plant mine that  far apart because I dig up and separate every year and sell some.   Another mistake is over-watering.   They are very drought tolerant and will actually die off it always wet.   They need to dry out between watering.  If you receive regular rainfall - they don't need any additional watering.  If you live in a area that gets a lot of rain, you will need to build a raised bed with soil that drains easily for Bearded Irises.  They need full sun and will tolerate some shade - but will bloom and grow better in full sun.   They will grow in zones 3-9 which covers a large part of this country.   In area with a cold winter, they will go dormant in the winter time, but return in the spring.    below is a pic of a rhizome, ready to plant and also the one I planted today - Fall Fiesta.   The falls are quite a unique orange color.