Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Irises Steal the Spring Show


        DSCF4189                                                                               The Irises have taken my breath away this last four weeks! What joy they bring, what a reason to get up and go outside in the morning! I don’t see how anyone can doubt the existence of God while gazing at the intricacies of a flower! Today I am showing you bearded iris, although there are several other kinds and I have some that perhaps we’ll be able to share another time. Again, I am no expert, but I have learned a few things in my  64 years and I’ll gladly share some of the things I know are good for Iris and that I hope will help you have beautiful ones !   I’m dying to show you some of the beauties in my garden, and would love to hear about yours!

Iris , Apr. 25, 2013DSCF4172      From bud to blossom they simple amaze me!   I love the colors of the rainbow!

DSCF4311                                                                                                      DSCF4169DSCF4313  









Iris are very easy to care for, and do not take a great deal of maintenance.That said, there are a few things bearded Iris require to bloom well:

1. They need full sun, at least six hours a day or they will not bloom well.

2. They need to be planted very shallowly. The rhizome, or tuber, needs to be seen above the dirt, with the roots reaching out underneath! The rhizome needs to be  able to soak up the sun to produce food. If you cover your rhizomes for a severely cold winter or severely hot summer, be sure the rhizome is uncovered as early as possible in the spring.

3. Along with number 2, Irises cannot stand to sit in water, they rot and die. Therefore they must be planted in soil which drains well, even if you have to put them in a container or raised bed. If you have clay soil which holds moisture so badly, be sure you condition your soil with gypsum or something to make it more porous. Before planting your Iris it helps to till the bed  10″- 12″ to facilitate drainage.

4. Iris like mildly acidic soil, about a 6.8 ph. It’s wise to get your soil tested and amend as necessary, adding lime to too acidic soil, and sulfur to alkaline soil

5. Iris respond well to low nitrogen fertilizers. Super phosphate works very well and is what I use. My sister, an excellent gardener  taught me to use lime when necessary in late Fall like November as it takes a while to work its way into the soil. She then said work the super phosphate into the soil around the Irises in the month of November and February for April bloom. I have also read it helps to feed the rhizomes one month after the blooms finish as well.

6. One other thing I want to point out. Iris need to be divided about every 3 to 5 years. If you do not, the rhizomes will multiply and get so crowded that they may not bloom, or the blooms will certainly diminish. Iris should be divided in July or August, but if the heat is too severe, the task can wait for September. Dig the whole clump up, gently pry the rhizomes apart, I have had to cut them, and replant as suggested in the first guideline above.

Here’s wishing you bounteous and beautiful Iris! I’d love to hear hints from you! Helen

Author: Helen Holshouser

Old enough to enjoy life, I am a Red Hatter, grandmother, gardener, and amateur genealogist. I am a retired clinical psychologist, master's level, who is disabled with heart disease, but having fun with family and friends. Married over 40 years, I have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. I have learned that grandchildren provide a joy one never knew existed---writing feeds my soul, gardening is therapy, and genealogy research makes me feel like a detective!

5 thoughts on “Irises Steal the Spring Show

  1. Thanks for posting the links to Georgia Backyard Nature. I love your site and am thrilled to see the beautiful iris in your yard. You have interesting varieties some of which I’ve never seen before. Irises really do bring a lot of joy–I’ve seen several walkers stop at my yard and admire them. They are special to me because my grandmother loved them so. Thanks again and I look forward to visiting your site often.


  2. Thisis great! Maybe we’ll gat to compare some gardening ideas! thanks for commenting! Helen


  3. I have a “thing” for Irises as well…They really are so beautiful!! And I agree with your assessment; how can one doubt the presence of a higher being when we are looking at something so intricate!!


  4. Thanks for the link to my post! You do have some very pretty irises. I especially like the peach colored one with the rose-colored falls. Do you know its name?


  5. Pingback: My Recollections of the Iris | Yeah, there's gonna be lots of lemonade

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