Skip to main content

The Best Flower for Spring the Iridescent Iris

iris tradesecret_web1Irises are exotic looking perennial flowers that offer a huge range of colors and patterns, heights, and bloom times, with variations on a common theme of flower shape and plant form. They have a lovely sweet spring scent. By far the most popular group is the large collection of hybrids termed the “bearded” irises, named for the hairy caterpillar-like tuft creeping out of the center of each fall. They bloom in late spring and early summer, from 2 inches to nearly 5 feet above stiff, sword like leaves. A number of cultivars rebloom from late summer into fall, to double the show; these reblooming cultivars are worth seeking out. The USDA Zones chart says they grow in zones 3–8, but I live in Las Vegas zone 9b and they grow proficiently in our dry hot climate.



How to grow Most bearded irises are easy to grow, but they do have specialized needs. Plant and divide every 3 to 4 years in summer or early fall, splitting them into individual “fans” with the rhizome attached, or into divisions with a few fans. Trim leaves back before planting to make up for root loss. They grow best in full sun or very light shade and average to rich, well-drained soil. Barely cover the rhizome and point the leafy end in the direction you want it to grow, ideally out from the center of a group of three to five of a kind. DSC02555 Bearded irises tolerate drought very well when dormant (usually beginning about six weeks after bloom), but water them well up to the time dormancy sets in and after division. Fertilize routinely in spring and early fall, keep weeds and other plants away from the rhizomes, mulch loosely the first winter after division, and be ready to stake the tall cultivars when they bloom. Soft rot attacks during wet seasons in poorly drained soil, entering though wounds in the rhizome made from premature leaf removal or too-close cultivation; it can also be carried on the body of the iris borer. The eggs of this pest hatch in spring, producing 1- to 1½-inch-long, fat, pinkish larvae. The larvae enter a fan at the top and tunnel down toward the rhizome, where they may eventually eat the whole interior without being noticed. In fall, remove dead, dry leaves, which often carry borer eggs, and destroy badly infested fans in spring. You can also crush borers in the leaves by pinching toward the base of the telltale ragged-edged leaves or by running your thumb between the leaves and squashing any borers you find. They are also vulnerable when you divide the clumps; check every rhizome for this pest. If you find a few borers, try cutting them out, but destroy badly infested rhizomes. Landscape uses: Smaller bearded irises are perfect in rock gardens and along paths and beds. For mid- to late-spring bloom, plant taller ones in a perennial border, or in a separate bed to provide optimum conditions. They also look splendid among garden ornaments and along patios. armageddon_web1chuckwagon_web1devilsriot_web1











Popular posts from this blog

The Best Perennial Plants for Cottage Gardens

Choosing the best plants for your style of gtardening takes some time and thought process. If you have an informal garden then perhaps the cottage mix would work well for you,  I like perennials not only because you only have to plant once, but because they put on a magnificient showy display year after year with very little pruning or maintenance.  You get more bang for the buck.The best perennials plants for your particular garden should include a mix of short, medium and tall plants that bloom early, mid season and late season.  I encourage gardeners to plant lots of white perennials to contrast the bold riotous colors from the rest of the perennials.
I have listed a few of my favorites, which does not include the entire range and selection of perennials.   drop me a cmment and let me know your favorites.


 Hollyhocks are by far my favorite cottage garden plant.  The height brings your eyes up to view the blossoms and gently guides you to view the trees, the sky, the birds flying in m…

7 Steps to Creating a Quaint English Garden

Plan a Cottage garden today and enjoy a spring floral show. Planning a Cottage Garden does not take a lot of work, but will take any inspiration and creativity. A Garden Cottage is whimsical and naturalistic, and it speaks to you, “Come, stroll, stay awhile.”

A good cottage garden plan will incorporate many elements, including a butterfly garden, a small water feature, curved paths, quiet sitting areas, seasonal plants and a herb garden. Cottage Garden’s tend to clutter plants, and they have a burst of color from traditional cottage garden plants, hollyhocks, foxglove, four o’clock, delphiniums, daisies, coneflowers, Echinaceas and last but certainly not least is the lovely roses.



The first steps in planning your cottage gardens are listed below:


1. Make a list of the elements and ideas you want in your cottage garden and draw your cottage garden on paper (it is easier to erase than transplant)  2. Make a list of trees, plants and seasonal plants to buy  3. Garden by thirds, evergreens, de…

Garden Design Basics