Orange bearded iris with white beard in full bloom.
image by gailf548:Flickr.com
Bearded Iris (Iris germanica ) is a hardy flowering rhizome that requires little maintenance. Like standard iris, the flowers have six petals, three standards (upright) and three falls (hanging); bearded iris have a beard or line of fuzz that is centered on each hanging petal. It comes in an array of colors and plant sizes, and all are fragrant. They can be planted outside in the fall for spring blooms or potted in containers for patios or indoors.
Choose a garden spot that gets at least 6 hours of full sun per day and has good drainage. Prepare the garden bed by adding low nitrogen fertilizer and organic material and mixing thoroughly into the soil. Make sure that the soil is lose and will not compact easily.
Dig shallow holes just big enough for the rhizome. Each hole should be 18 inches apart. Smaller varieties should be 10 inches apart. They should be planted no more than 3 inches down in the soil with the crowns pointing up. Cover them loosely with soil.
Moderate watering is necessary to keep the soil moist. After blooms are finished, cut the foliage to just above the soil. In the fall place mulch over the plants to protect them from frost.