Iris care



When to Plant:

For the best results, iris in northern zones should be planted during the months of July, August or September.  Planting during these months allows time for the roots to take hold. Roots and iris growth benefits if rhizomes are planted approximately 6 weeks before the first frost (and cold temperatures set in).  

Where to Plant:

Iris should be planted in an area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.  Iris do not like to sit in an area of water, as this encourages the rhizome to rot. Good drainage is essential to proper iris growth!  If you need to promote drainage you may:  add a bit of sand to your soil; elevate slightly your rhizomes on a bed of dirt.  

What type of soil is required?

Iris prefer soil that drains.  If your soil is heavy or laden with clay, it is wise to amend your soil to include coarse sand or humus or compost.  Keep in mind that too much compost or nitrogen type additives may encourage rhizome rotting.  Iris are generally happy in soil as long as they have sun and are not sitting in a wet area.  Too little water is generally better than too much!

What Will My Plants Look Like When They Arrive?

Your iris plants are dug the day they are packaged for shipping to you!  Your selected iris will be cleaned & dried and the leaves trimmed to approx. 6 inches (or approx. size of a fist) from the rhizome (bulb).  Leaves are trimmed in the form of a fan.  We provide you with a substantial size & healthy rhizome.  If we feel that the rhizome will NOT meet high standards, we will contact you to ask if you would like a substitution plant.  If you have any special requirements for shipping packaging, please let us know.  Each order comes with a plant that is identified by label and a "How to Plant your Iris" Guide.

How Do I plant my Iris?

When your iris plants arrive, immediately take them out of the boxes and you may wish to leave the labels on (for later identificiation).  The green part of the plant is the top and the rhizome with roots attached are the part that will be going into the soil.  The tops of the rhizomes should be exposed on the top of the soil. (except in the most northern/cold climates).   Roots are to be fanned out around the rhizome and should be secured under the soil.  In more northern climates, the rhizome may be put into the soil about l/2 inch at most.  

Iris Care:  Watering and Fertilizing

When your plants arrive, you may wish to add bone meal dug into your soil, a 6-10-10 fertilizer, (or something with a low first number) or superphosphates to your soil.  It is suggested that only a light fertilizer application should be applied.  Fertilizer is generally used in the early spring (to encourage bloom) and a second light application about one month after the flower bloom. Avoid fertilizing just as your plant is ready for sleep (winter) as this only encourages the plant to work at a time it does not need to.  The first number in the fertilizer code above is nitrogen.  The first number should always be smaller as heavy nitrogen is NOT encouraged as it can rot the rhizome.  

Watering to settle in your plants when they are first planted is encouraged!  Once your plants are root set,  you generally don't need to worry about watering, unless you are in a zone that will completely deprive your rhizome of any moisture.  (very dry)  It is always better to underwater rather than overwater your iris!

Happy Planting!