Basic Iris Planting

Every iris grower develops their own method for planting and maintaining irises in the garden. When getting started, here are the basics that every iris grower needs to know. Depending on your growing season and climate, however, you will find slight variations. It’s best to consult with your local American Iris Society chapter to find out what variations or additional measures should be taken to keep your irises growing healthy in your particular region.

1. Sunshine- Your irises will need about 6-8 hrs of sunlight per day. You will find that some iris varieties can tolerate more or less light.

2. Air Circulation- Don’t crowd your irises. Plant rhizomes at least 6-8 inches apart with rhizome top slightly showing. Dig up clumps and separate rhizomes every 2-4 years. Some varieties need separating more often than others. Declining blooms and growth are indications that you need to dig up your clump, separate, and replant.

3. Drainage- Make sure your irises have good drainage. Irises don’t like wet feet! Amend soil as needed by adding sand, gypsum, or compost to improve drainage or raise your iris beds a few inches.

4. Water- Yes, irises do like a drink of water! This is especially true after you initially plant and during drought conditions. Just make sure your drainage is good and use common sense. If humidity is high, you may want to hold off on watering until the humidity drops somewhat. Watering your irises for the first 7-10 days will help them establish a strong root system which is essential to their survival.