How to Plant Irises

How to Plant Irises

The genus Iris contains over 200 distinct species in a wide range of colors, in three main groups: bearded, Japanese, and Siberian. Once you learn how to plant iris you will have blooms each spring with very little maintenance.

Choose a Location

Irises grow best in garden locations with full sun and deep, moist, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. They can be used in borders or under deciduous trees in a woodland setting.

Preparing the Soil

If the soil in your planned flowerbed is not ideal, you can improve it by working in organic matter such as compost, manure or leaf mold. The organic matter will improve the drainage and aeration of clay soil, and will help sandy soil to hold moisture better. The best method for working in organic matter is very labor-intensive but will yield the best results. Dig a trench the width of your flower bed and about a foot deep, placing the removed soil into a wheelbarrow. Using a garden fork, loosen the soil in the bottom of the trench, then fill with organic material. Dig a new trench beside the first, using the soil removed from the second trench to fill the first. Fill the second trench with organic matter, then cover with soil from a third trench. Continue digging successive trenches until your entire flowerbed has been worked. Fill in the last trench with the soil in the wheelbarrow from the first trench.

Planting the Iris

Iris plants grow from rhizomes, which are modified stems that sit horizontally at ground level. Roots grow downward and leaves grow upward from the rhizome. If you have purchased new rhizomes, simply lay them on top of the prepared soil. If you live in a very warm climate, partly cover them with soil. If your rhizomes have been divided from an existing plant, dust them with fungicide before planting.

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