My Cart 0 Items $0.00

How to Plant and Care For Irises

  • Pin It

Irises are relatively easy-to-grow perennials with a beautiful burst of elegant flowers available in a variety of colors and shades, which makes them a perfect choice for many gardeners. Let's explore the best way to plant, grow, and care for popular iris varieties.

How to Grow Popular Iris Varieties

The best time to plant bearded iris is July through September or early fall. The rhizomes will need a cooler but warm temperatures to settle in to their new home before winter. In a well-cultivated bed, dig a shallow hole large enough for the rhizome clump. Create a mound of soil in the center of the hole. Make sure the mound is high enough to allow the top of the rhizome to poke out slightly above the soil level. Spread the roots around the mound, fill it with soil and water. For a colorful group planting, plant at least three rhizomes (about 8-10" apart) or plant undivided clumps. Be sure to point each fan of leaves away from the center of the group. Before flowering, water plants often enough to keep the soil moist but not soaked.

In early fall, plant your Dutch Iris (Iris Xiphium) bulbs 3-4" deep and 3-4" apart in light, fertile, well-drained soil. Dutch Iris prefer bright, sunny locations but can live in partial shade. If you have clay-heavy soil, add some coarse sand and humus.

Japanese Iris prefer bright, sunny locations but can live in partial shade. They require high soil moisture and a fair amount of feeding throughout their growth period. Space plants 2 feet or more apart in heavy soil, amended with compost and peat. No lime! Wait until you see new growth before fertilizing, then feed again just before bloom. Japanese Iris are also a favorite water plant grown in containers in pond shallows.

Siberian iris are usually planted in the spring or summer. Siberian iris can be planted in part shade or full sun. They tolerate the cooler weather and can be planted in moist soil areas or even around ponds.

Caring For and Fertilizing Irises

Although iris do not need a lot, a small serving of specially-designed iris fertilizer can make your display grow even stronger and healthier. Breck's® Iris Lovers All-Natural Iris Food uses a 4-4-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, respectively. Our iris food is well-balanced, so your irises won't be over- or underfed. Nitrogen is vital for healthy growing, but too much can cause soft, disease-prone growth. A small dose of phosphorus is useful when producing flowers and developing roots, and some potassium helps bring out those rich, vibrant colours that make iris so lovely. Our iris fertilizer has less phosphorus and potassium than our other fertilizers, and just enough of all three key nutrients to give your bearded beauties the boost they deserve! If your asking yourself "why are my irises not blooming" apply Breck's Iris Lovers fertilizer or check the depth of your rhizome. Iris planted too deep or iris planted in full shade will cause it not to bloom.

Iris Food

Winterizing Iris

After the iris blooming season is when you can cut back iris once they die back in the early fall. After apply low nitrogen fertilizer like Breck's® Iris Lovers All-Natural Iris Food and water in. Next apply mulch to fall-planted irises to reduce winter heaving.

How to Divide Iris Plants

Over time iris clumps become crowded and the blooms may suffer. But it is easy to spread out your irises and encourage new growth. In late summer, carefully lift the entire clump with a garden fork. Cut apart the new, younger sections from the original center rhizome, then replant. You may want to let the rhizomes dry in the sun for a day before replanting. Unless you see new buds coming off the center rhizome, discard it — it is past its prime and unlikely to bloom a second time. The "babies" are what you want to save.

Click here to Download or Print PDFs of Iris Guide

You May Like...

Lifetime Guarantee