Beardless Iris Culture
Beardless irises will adorn your garden for years to come if you meet their cultural requirements. Upon arrival, unwrap the irises from the damp paper and plastic bag in which they were shipped and immediately SOAK THE ROOTS OVERNIGHT IN WATER BEFORE PLANTING. Soaking in a bucket of water with roots just coverd in water allows the plant to replenish the water lost in transit and will get the plant off ot a good start in your garden. DO NOT LET THE ROOTS DRY OUT DURING TRANSPLANTING.
WHEN TO PLANT
Beardless irises may be planted between August and October depending on your climate. The fall usually brings rain to supplement watering and roots will grow nicely as the weather cools. The new root growth will anchor the plants before winter.
WHERE TO PLANT
Most beardless irises need a sunny location for best performance and bloom. If plants are getting less than one-half day of sun they may not bloom well. Siberian irises like even moisture and Japanese irises like as much water as you can give them. These types do not, however, like to have wet feet in the wintertime. Louisiana irises and several of the beardless species will grow in standing water year round. Plant spuria iris where they will get full sun all day long.
A good garden loam with added organic matter will make your beardless irises thrive. An acid soil is preferred, but Japanese irises are the only beardless irises that REQUIRE an acid soil. A pH of 5.0 to 6.5 will keep Japanese irises happy. Spuria like a more alkaline soil, but do not need supplementing unless there is a lot of moss growth indicating a very acid soil, then you can add some lime on top of the soil.
HOW TO PLANT
Plant Louisiana and Siberian irises about one inch deep. Japanese should be planted a little deeper, two to three inches, as they make new root on top of old roots. Keep newly planted rhizomes WELL WATERED until they are showing very active new growth. Drying out at this stage is certain death. Once established, beardless irises grow well, but extra care is needed to start them out. After plants are showing new growth, add a mulch of three inches and leave it on year round. This keeps out weeds and allows the roots to remain cooler. Also, it prevents sun scalding to Louisiana rhizomes.
For planting and care of the Spuria Iris - click here.
Apply a good balanced fertilizer in the spring when plants are a few inches high. Japanese are heavy feeders and appreciate a second feeding before bloom time. Spuria iris love composted manure; so give them a side dressing in the Spring and in the Fall.
After bloom is finished, cut off the stalks before any seed pods made by bees develop, as seeds form these would contaminate your named cultivars. Beardless irises can grow for many years in the same location if fed on a regular basis. Japanese iris are the exception -- they must be divided every three years to thrive. After fall frost, clip off brown foliage to discourage rodents from nesting in it. Louisiana foliage in southern climates will remain green and should not be cut off. Spuria iris may die back in the summer and should not be watered.