Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.


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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!

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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