Planting Bearded Irises

Bearded irises are easy to grow. They need good drainage and at least a half day of sun. They will survive with less sun, but they won’t bloom.

If you receive your irises in hot weather, plant each in a 6-inch or larger pot to hold until it gets cooler. Set the pots in light shade. I usually plant mine in a bed in mid-September.

To plant bare root irises, loosen the soil first, then dig a hole wide enough to spread the roots out. Do not plant them too deeply. Mound the soil in the center of the hole. Place the rhizome on the mound with the roots spread around it. Then fill in the soil around it and water well. The rhizome top should be even with the surface of the soil. It is best to water with a soaker hose, but if you have a sprinkler system, use it before dawn.

Irises come in many colors and you are sure to find some you will enjoy. I use a low-nitrogen fertilizer around all my irises in mid-February and again in the fall.

There are also some varieties that not only bloom in spring, but flower again in the fall. These rebloomers require fertilizing after spring bloom to keep them actively growing through the summer.

About the author: Pat Norvell is with the Iris Society of Dallas, which is hosting an iris sale Aug. 13, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., or until irises are sold out, at North Haven Gardens in Dallas. Visit for more information.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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