How to Plant Irises


There are many types of irises that are grown in the garden. They include Japanese, Siberian, and Dutch. One of the most well known irises used is the bearded iris. Bearded irises come in a variety of colors ranging from white, purple, yellow, pink, blue and multi-color. They bloom in late spring to early summer and come in several sizes; dwarf (less than 1 foot), intermediate (1 to 1½ feet) and tall (1½ to 3 feet).

Step 1

In fall choose a spot in full sun to partial shade to plant your irises. They need 6 to 8 hours of full sun to grow well and flower.

Step 2

The area that you choose should also have well-drained soil. If your soil is heavy and full of clay, add compost, sand or humus.

Step 3

Irises prefer slightly acidic soil but will survive in less perfect soil. You should have your soil tested to see if it's too alkaline or acidic. You can amend it, if needed.

Step 4

Dig a hole that's about 10 inches wide and 2 inches deep. Make a mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Place the iris rhizome on the top of the hole, and gently spread out the roots on the sides of the mound. Firmly pack soil around the roots, leaving the top of the rhizome uncovered. Space the irises 12 inches apart.

Step 5

Water the irises thoroughly after planting. Continuing watering twice a week until you see new growth appear, and the plant is established. Water the irises again if there hasn't been enough rainfall.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you live in areas of extreme heat, cover the rhizomes with up to 1 inch of soil to protect from the sun. Don't over water; this can cause root rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost, sand or humus (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Water


  • Readers Digest Complete Book of the Garden; 1968
  • How To Plant and Grow Bearded Iris
  • How to Grow Bearded Irises (German Irises)

Who Can Help

Keywords: types of irises, bearded irises, pland your irises

About this Author

Liz Ward is a Visual Communications Designer and writer. Ward's articles are published on and Ward has written for Demand Studios and Text Broker. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Design and a Minor in photography from Purdue University. She is also a master gardener.