While the bearded iris have come and gone, I enjoyed them while they were here. A beautiful perennial flower, bearded iris is a great plant to grow in your flower beds or cutting garden. Hardy in winter weather, deer resistant, and easy to maintain, I am trying to expand my stock of bearded iris each year.
Last year was my first year working with bearded iris and incorporating it into bouquets. In fact, most of the bearded iris I used was locally sourced from my mother's beautiful garden. She introduced me to this beautiful flower and allowed me to use what I needed. Soon after that, I was able to purchase rhizomes to begin my own bearded iris cutting beds. I have interplanted the rhizomes into my perennial bed and have already enjoyed the beautiful flowers this year, though not in large enough quantities to include in bouquets.
Care & Maintenance
Bearded iris are hardy in zones 3-9 and do well planted in sunny locations into well-draining soil. They do not tolerate heavy clay soils that hold moisture as that can cause rot.
Soak your rhizomes in a diluted bleach solution (1:10 ratio) prior to planting to remove disease and potential infection. Plant the rhizomes into the soil and do not cover the base/crown of the rhizome. The rhizome should be planted shallowly to avoid rot. Do not mulch over the crown.
Pinch off withered blooms in order to get more blooms. Divide bearded iris clumps in the fall every 3-5 years to keep the plants healthy.
Overwinter your plants by cutting back the foliage. Do not compost the removed foliage. Instead, burn it or throw it out to prevent the spread of disease.
Harvest stems early in the morning when the first bloom is just beginning to open. Snip at the base of the stem, leaving the leaves of the plant attached to the rhizome. Harvest into a bucket of clean water.
As with all cut flowers, keep the flowers in a cool location, away from direct sunlight and ripe fruit. Change the water daily and pinch off blooms as soon as they die back to promote the next bloom.
Other things to consider
There are so many beautiful colors of bearded iris. They come in a variety of heights and sizes, some blooming multiple times over the season. This beautiful flower would be a great addition to your garden, and now is a great time to plant it.
This post is part of a year-long series on flowers and plants that we love and grow on the farm. Check out other flowers that we love.