Think you don’t like beards? Well, think again. The bearded iris is truly a thing of beauty. This is an eye-catching addition to any garden. Their leaves are like swords and the flowers are oh-so-showy.
To make it even better, they are easy to plant and require minimum care. Guess what? They multiply readily, too. Take your pick of colors. Scour the marketplace and you will find bearded iris in red, yellow, pink, blue and purple. They bloom right about now, with some varieties blooming in early summer. Plant them where you can appreciate their eventual height. There is a “right” variety for most everyone.
Oh yes, did I mention that they are also fragrant? So let’s see: easy to grow, multiplies easily, beautiful, easy care, fragrant, perennial. You have every reason to find some and plant them.
Choose a site with full sun and well-drained, good quality soil. The best time to plant them is mid-summer to early fall. Leave about 1-2 feet between those you put into the ground. They would appreciate a little compost around their base each spring. Just leave the rhizome (fleshy root) uncovered. To encourage a second bloom on some varieties, remove faded flowers as soon as possible and continue watering regularly.
These hardy, long living perennials are classified into several types: miniature dwarf (8 inches maximum height), standard (8-15 inch), intermediate (16-26 inch), border (16-27 inch) and tall (28-38 inch). The shorter iris flowers first, followed by the intermediate and then the taller ones.
Consider making your bearded iris patch a “shareable space.” A local gardener Karleen Golias got her bearded iris from her mom, who got it from her friend Jackie, who got hers from Lake Cherokee area near Tyler. Karleen said, “Mom brought a few with her. They have up to 7 blooms to each plant! They look like orchids.” Karleen was also shared a beautiful peach colored bearded iris from Ann Golias. Ann had some growing at the plantation in Lousiana. Beautiful! Maybe once you get your bearded iris area established, you can start a sharing tradition too.
Joette is an avid gardener and prides herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. To share your gardening news with Joette, call (409) 832-1400 or fax her at (409) 832-6222. Her e-mail is joreger [at] msn [dot] com.