The iris flower can provide the garden with exquisite and intricate blooms in a sunny area of your landscape. Iris flowers tend to bloom in late winter up to early spring. A variety of iris blooms in your garden helps to provide extended color to your flower bed.
As you read this, you can learn the following;
* Iris Meaning
* Types of Irises
* How to Plant Iris Flowers
* Iris Pests and Diseases
Irises are plants with showy flowers. They are hardy herbaceous perennials that are commonly found in the north temperate regions of the earth. Iris flowers are a variety of the rhizomatous and bulbous perennials that can thrive perfectly on both land and water. You can grow the plant from its bulb or a creeping rhizome. Iris flowers clump and multiply in a unique way to create an easily noticeable presence in the garden. Iris flowers can be found in a wide range of places such as swamps, deserts, and even in the cold northern America. It has a captivating sword-like foliage when the plant is not blooming.
Types of Irises
The two most common groups of irises are bulbous irises and rhizome irises. In each of those groups, there are numerous varieties, hybrids, cultivars, and species. They have flowering stems that are long and erect; these stems may be hollow or solid, branched or simple.
Rhizome irises have thick stems that grow underground or partially underground in a horizontal position. After you’ve planted a rhizome iris, it begins to produce leaves that are shaped like a sword.
Three popular types of irises in this category are crested iris, bearded iris, and beardless iris.
* Bearded Iris: This species of iris has three distinct parts, which are; the hanging petals, the stigma flaps,
upright petals, and a short unique extension that grows in the middle of the plant (Beard)
* Crested Iris: The only difference between a crested iris and a bearded iris is that the crested iris has crests that look like ridges and do not have a beard.
* Beardless Iris: A bearded iris has hanging petals, upright petals, stigma flaps, and may have crests.
It is common for people to confuse a beardless iris with a crested iris; this is not surprising as they both look similar. The bearded iris spreads through its underground stems and it produces flowers that are flat and have shades of blue, white, and violet. Bulbous irises have cylindrical, basal leaves, and they produce smaller blooms in comparison with rhizome irises. The most common type of bearded iris is one with furry stripes.
The distinctive feature of bulbous irises is that they grow from bulbs. Bulbous irises are smaller than rhizomes and they often have a dormancy period after blooming. Bulbous irises are classified into the reticulated iris, the Dutch iris, and the junos iris. The most common type is the dutch iris.
Some common species of irises are;
* Flag iris (Iris pallida)
* Yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus)
* German iris (Iris germanica)
* American blue flag iris (Iris Versicolor)
* Florentine iris (Iris Florentina)
How to Plant Iris Flowers
Purchase your iris from a florist around August and September. This gives you the chance to prepare the ground in time for your iris rhizome to settle in the ground and develop roots.
The best location in a garden to plant your iris is a spot that gets up to six hours of sun daily. Irises cannot withstand soggy feet but can withstand drought. You can prevent them from having soggy feet by planting them with a flower that absorbs water; this way, other plants get all the water while they drain off.
Prepare the Soil: Add a fertilizer that provides the deficient nutrient to the soil. You should mix the fertilizer with the soil; this way, the rainfall helps to deliver fertilizer to the right place.
You should also divide the rhizomes, and follow the instructions below to plant them correctly.
1. Don’t Bury the Rhizomes Too Deep: This is a very common mistake that people make. Irises thrive better when planted close to the soil surface. You can expose a part of the top, and if you leave it in an area that is very hot, then you should cover it lightly with soil.
2. Replanting after Dividing: To replant a divided iris, ensure that you plant them in a way that the rhizomes face each other in a circle. It is not important that you space them, but if you want them to grow optimally, then you should space them 3 inches apart. Water the plants and continue watering them till they’re fully mature.
If you only have one rhizome, then you should plant them the way it’s described above, just not in a grouping. When they’re fully mature in a few years, you should have enough rhizomes to plant in a grouping.
Iris Pests and Diseases
Irises are hardy and vigorous plants that are hardly susceptible to pests and diseases. However, irises can still get attacked by some pests and diseases.
Aphids: Aphids suck the sap out of the stems of irises, which can kill them. They can also spread diseases to an iris plant when they suck a diseased plant and carry micro-organisms to the iris plant. The best way to get rid of aphids on your iris plant is to leave them alone and wait for birds to eat them.
Borers: The effect of borers on an iris plant is noticed when it is time to bloom, as it may stop them from blooming at all, or make them bloom less.
The best way to get rid of borers is to monitor your iris plant for any sign of tunneling. In case you find tunneling, you should prune off the foliage below the spot where you noticed the damage.
If you think there is a borer in rhizome but you’re not certain, dip the rhizome in a 9:1 water to bleach solution; then wait for some minutes for the solution to disinfect the rhizome and at the same time drown the borer.