The first iris to open are always the dwarf varieties. Low to the ground they are excellent for rock gardens, scree beds and borders. Such undemanding plants, cold hardy, drought tolerant and deer resistant. Perfect for my conditions.
If you like to collect plants you can certainly have a fun time with iris. There are so many different cultivars to choose from in every color combo you could possibly think of. The word iris originates from the Greek word for rainbow, very fitting for a very colorful flower.
IRIS PUMILA HYBRID
I find that the best source for obtaining iris is through on line, mail order growers. These are the people that know everything about iris and supply us with a never ending choice of cultivars. Iris also ship so well that a few days or so in the mail is a non-issue.
DWARF IRIS JUNGLE GEM
Most of the iris I grow are the Germanicas (bearded iris) because of their ability to thrive in low water conditions. Other iris, such as Japanese, Siberian or Spuria are equally beautiful but require a good dose of water to grow well. Once your irises have finished blooming their flat, fan like leaves continue to look great the entire season.
HOW TO PLANT
You can plant iris rhizomes in either spring or fall. In light sandy soil plant so the top of the rhizome is barely covered. If you have heavy clay soil, leave the rhizome just slightly exposed. Never plant too deep as this will effect blooming or cause the rhizome to rot. Never plant iris in low areas where water may puddle. Irises can handle full sun to partial shade and some varieties can be very tall any may need staking. The dwarf varieties however only reach about 8 to 12 inches tall.
HOW TO CARE AND DIVIDE
After a few years you will have to dig up, divide and replant your iris to keep them blooming. The best time to do this is right after blooming. Read my post Reviving German Iris for full instructions on how to divide your dwarf iris to keep them blooming for years. For cut flowers cut when the buds are showing color but are not opened. Your cut blooms should last about one week.
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