How to plant and care a Iris

Iris are easy to grow

This vast family of beautiful
perennials is one of the most important of all garden
plants. There are hundreds of varieties ranging through
almost every color, differing in size, blooming seasons,
and even habits of growth and method of propagation.
The two most important groups for the average gardener
are (1) the Bearded Iris group and (2) the Beardless
Iris group. The Bearded Iris group is commonly known
as the German Iris and the Beard-less group includes
the Japanese Iris.

Growing information for a Bearded Iris

Within this vast family,
there are many different colors, early, midseason, and
late flowering, as well as dwarf, intermediate, and
tall strains. Every state in the Union, with the possible
exception of Florida, can successfully grow irises.
Irises demand good drainage and full sun. A good garden
soil that will produce corn or potatoes will grow irises,
but for the finest flowers and foliage a high- fertility
level must be maintained.

PLANTING: Plant root divisions
in the early spring or just after blooming. Early fall
planting is successful in all but the most northern
sections of the country. Divide clumps (as shown in
diagram) and plant single rhizomes, spacing them 8 to
18 inches apart according to effect desired. Spade planting
hole about 10 inches deep and work 1 tablespoonful of
fertilizer into the soil in the bottom of the hole.
If the soil is heavy, some drainage material such as
gravel or broken pottery should be placed in the hole.
Fill the hole with the loose soil and place the root
section so that it will not be covered more than 1 inch
deep. Most Beardless Irises can also be propagated from
seeds.

FEEDING: Iris growers have learned
that early theories about plant foods being dangerous
to the growth of iris are unfounded. However, they will
not tolerate fresh manure or even partly rotted manure
in direct contact with the roots. Fertilizer provides
all the plant food irises need from the soil for the
best growth and beauty. Fertilizer should be scratched
into the soil around the plant early each spring at
the rate of I tablespoonful per plant (1 pint per 25
square feet of area).

DIVIDING: Most irises should be
divided every three to five years. Divide when the root
clump becomes crowded and the stems become numerous
thin and weak.


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