University of Maryland Extension

Featured Plants - Bearded Iris

Bearded Iris - Photo by Minnesota Extension

Iris germanica

Rainbows with beards?  Iris means rainbow in Greek, yet iris come in more colors than a rainbow.  Their beard, a fuzzy appendage on the lower petal, apparently attracts or directs pollinators to pollen. Richly fragrant with big flower heads, iris make a big statement in spring.  Now there are fall blooming iris, too.

Iris need full sunlight and well-amended, well-drained soil.  Plant in late summer/early autumn. (Transplant after spring flowering.)  Plant shallowly so rhizome tops are at, or just above, soil surface. Established iris are drought resistant, but new iris need 1” water weekly.

In autumn remove dead foliage and cut healthy foliage to 4-5 inches. After ground freezes, 1” of mulch helps prevent soil heave.  In spring remove mulch. Feed with a thin layer of compost to ensure rhizomes are still visible.

April 2013

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