Iris need sun. Plant your
iris where they'll have at least a half day's
sunshine, and a full day is even better. Iris
rhizomes need water, but they also need to be
What are the rhizomes? Iris
rhizomes are the fleshy, root-like part of the
plant. They are not bulbs, and they need
to be planted so that the top of the rhizome is
peeking through the soil or, in very cold parts
of the country where there may be frost heave,
just under the soil.
Plant in soil with good draining.
Since iris don't like to keep their feet wet,
they need to be in soil with good drainage.
Don't plant them where water will sit on top of
Do not mulch. Mulching
retains moisture, and too much moisture will
cause soft rot of the rhizomes.
Prepare the beds.
Iris do not need, and do not like soil rich in
nitrogen: use a low-nitrogen fertilizer early in
the spring, and a gain just after floom when the
rhizomes are coming on for the next year's
When to water? Water your
iris after transplanting, and when the ground is
How far apart to plant.
Iris need good air circulation. They
increase fairly quickly and will soon be crowded
if planted closer than 16-18" apart, minimum.
Miniature varieites, of course, can be planted
closer together, but you'll be surprised how
quickly iris grow to fill in the avialable
Don't let seedpods fall on the
ground. Sooner or later, every iris
gardener will have pods set naturally-- those
pods are called bee pods. They're fun to see,
but be sure to keep them from maturing. Those
seeds that fall to the ground may germinate and
they will not bloom true to the parent plant. In
fact, every one of those seeds is a new hybrid
iris! Even the looky-loos that may come up
looking similar, or even alike, the pod parent!
So, if you want to know what's planted in your
garden, be sure to dead-head the pods and toss
them away. If you want to try your hand at
growing iris from seed, then bag the pods (I use
organza party bags), let them mature on the
plant and harvest them when they dry.
Do a fall clean-up.
Keeping the garden clean reduces changes of
diseases and unwanted, harmful insects.
Make dividing a habit. Every three or
four years, your iris will want to be divided in