Bearded Iris Plant Profile
Bearded Iris (Iris × germanica) is a group of European hybrid iris also known as the German Bearded Irises. They are considered to be a natural hybrid between Iris pallida and Iris variegata. There are thousands of Bearded Iris cultivars available.
The cultivars come in every color and combination from pure whites to pinks, browns, yellows, and almost jet black -- though the classic Bearded Iris is a deep purple.
They are perennial plants that typically bloom in mid- to late-spring. Note that some cultivars can re-bloom in the fall.
Bearded Irises are hardy to USDA zones 3 to 9. They are deer-resistant and drought-tolerant.
They prefer to grow in full sun with well-draining soils. If they do not get enough sunlight, the flower stalks will stretch and flop over. If they are in too much moisture, the roots will rot.
Do not apply a high nitrogen fertilizer as this encourages leaf growth and can make the plant susceptible to bacterial rot.
They can be propagated by seed or by division. You will need to divide them every 3-5 years, so they don’t become too crowded. The best time to divide the plants is during the late summer or early fall. When you plant the new divisions, be sure the soil level is just to the top of the rhizomes and not burying them.
The foliage stays evergreen most of the year. In the fall, you can trim back any brown or floppy leaves or fans. Clearing out this dead foliage can prevent the dreaded iris borer from wintering over in the plants.
In addition to the typical tall varieties of Bearded Iris, there are also miniature and dwarf versions. The smaller kinds typically bloom earlier in the season then the larger ones.
Bearded Iris: You Can Grow That!
The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine as part of our Plant Profile series for Mid-Atlantic USA gardeners.
Video and editing by Jessica Harden
Audio and text by Kathy Jentz
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~ Podcast: GardenDC
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