The Truth About German Bearded Irises
The truth about German bearded irises is that they are super easy to grow! I have loved irises since I was a little girl when we had one plain purple patch of them in in our back yard at the steps to the ally. I would run to them every day to see if they had bloomed then revel in their beauty when they did. Grandma had them in her flower beds. The do so well in cut arrangements although I do have a hard time cutting any of my flowers and prefer to enjoy them out in the flower beds.
New Iris Patch
So Many Varieties
Caring for Irises
- Plant them in a sunny spot in late summer. The plants need well-drained soil and at least six hours of sunlight per day. A full day of sun is even better to keep the rhizomes dry. (The rhizomes are the fleshy root-like structures at the base of the plant.)
- Prepare their beds. A low-nitrogen fertilizer and a soil pH slightly less than 7, which is neutral. Apply a granular fertilizer twice a year—in early spring and just after bloom when the rhizomes are forming the next year’s flowers. Water only if it is extremely dry or after transplanting.
- Give them room to breathe. Bearded iris bulbs require good air circulation. Plant them a minimum of 16 to 18 inches apart (less space for dwarf irises and more for tall bearded iris varieties).
- Do not mulch. Mulching retains moisture, and too much moisture will cause a soft rot of the rhizomes.
- Break off seedpods that form after the blooms have faded. This prevents seedlings from choking the surrounding soil. Seed formation also saps energy needed by the rhizomes, roots, and leaves.
- Prune back the foliage in the fall. This will reduce the chances of overwintering pests and diseases.
- Make dividing a habit. Divide clumps of bearded iris plants every three to four years in the late summer.
Bearded Irises are most affected by Iris borer insects. Its eggs are under the leaves in the spring. It affects the leaves through tunnels the rhizomes.
The leaves of the infected plant have yellow stripes and spots, which are easily separated from the rhizome.
If affected, the rhizomes become mushy or in the small hole due to burrowing larvae.
Borer leaves should be removed and destroyed for protection.
When dividing, the infected rhizomes should be removed.
Separate and destroy the infected foliage group during the growing season.
Division of German Iris
July and August most plants become inactive. This is the best time to divide the Iris plant.
Growing German iris is an easy way to add color to the spring and summer garden. Watering, fertilization with a high phosphorus fertilizer and division every few years is necessary for the care of German irises. Division results in more prolific blooms and decreases the chance of soft rot and borer problems. Divide rhizomes of German iris every two to three years. If flowering has slowed on your German bearded iris, division may also be needed. When flowering has finished, lift German iris rhizomes from the soil with a garden fork. Replant the area, if desired, or leave some of the rhizomes in the ground. Plant extra rhizomes into other areas that will benefit from blooms of growing German iris.
German Bearded Irises
In conclusion, the truth about German Bearded Irises is they are gorgeous and easy to grow. They spread and can be divided to make even more beautiful flowers. Use them in arrangements or leave them in the yard to enjoy. Do you have irises? Please share your tips and photos below. I’d love to see them!