Plant bearded irises for a striking garden addition.
image by missyredboots: morguefile.com
Bearded iris is a striking perennial that provides beauty and elegance to any flower garden. These flowers prefer a sunny location and tolerate almost any type of soil. Bearded irises are available in a variety of different colors and heights. Plant bearded irises between July and September to give them enough time to establish before the colder months. As long as you plant the iris rhizomes at the proper depth, you will enjoy the traditional blooms of the bearded iris each spring in your garden.
Choose a sunny growing location to plant the bearded irises. If the soil is heavy, add compost to the top of the soil and work the compost into the soil to lighten it and improve the drainage. Add 1/2 lb. of fertilizer for every 50 square feet of planting area to the soil and work it in completely with the spade.
Dig holes for each rhizome that are 3 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Make a small hill of soil in the very center of the hole. Make the center hill of soil high enough that it holds the rhizome with the top of the rhizome just above the soil. Space the holes approximately 10 inches apart if planting individual rhizomes and 18 inches apart if planting larger clumps of rhizomes.
Place the rhizome into the hole, balancing it on the center mound of soil. Carefully spread the roots out from the rhizome down into the lower portions of the hole. Refill the hole with dirt around the roots only. Do not place dirt on the top of the rhizome.
Water the newly planted bearded iris. Continue to keep the soil moist until the iris blooms. After the iris blooms, cut the stem back to approximately 2 inches above the rhizome.
Mulch lightly around the outer edges of the bearded iris to protect the rhizome during the winter months. Do not cover the top of the rhizome with mulch. Remove the mulch in early spring.