South Texas Gardening with Bob Webster

Dutch Iris



Florists' Favorite
Dutch irises are popular with florists, and home gardeners, because they are dependably pretty and easy to use. Long, strong, straight stems couple with blooms that are an ideal size for medium bouquets. The clear, beautiful colors of iris fit into any arrangement.
Few pleasures compare to having an abundant supply of fresh flower for cutting and using around your home. Garden grown blooms are also easy gifts for neighbors, office buddies and that nice lady who feeds your dog on Fridays.
Do yourself a favor and make sure to have plenty of future cut flowers. Plant Dutch iris now.
  
Outdoor Beds
1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2 - 3 inches to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available.
 
2.  Site your Dutch iris where they will get full day sun. 
 
3.  Dig holes and plant the iris bulbs 4" deep and 3" apart. The bulbs look like small pointed onions; plant with the point facing up.
 
4. After planting, water well, thoroughly soaking the area. In warmer climates foliage will form in the autumn, winter will bring taller growth and flowers will develop in the spring. In colder regions foliage and flowers will wait until winter's cold has passed and will develop in the spring.
 
5. When in bloom, feel free to cut iris flowers for bouquets. This will not hurt your plants, so snip away.
 
6. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show. Water as needed during active growth periods. Dutch iris actually prefer not to be watered while dormant.
 
7. At the end of the summer the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage many be removed at this point. Your iris will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
 
 
Pots, Tubs & Urns
1.  Dutch iris plants are tall and slim. Plant them in large containers and plan to add other bulbs, perennials or annuals to fill out the area around their ankles.
2.  Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; iris must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot.
 
3. Site containers where they will receive full day sun. 
 
4. Plant your iris 2" deep and 3"-4" apart for the most brilliant display. The bulbs look like small pointed onions; plant with the point facing up.
 
5. After planting, water well, thoroughly soaking the area. In warmer climates foliage will form in the autumn, winter will bring taller growth and flowers will develop in the spring. In colder regions foliage and flowers will wait until winter's cold has passed and will develop in the spring.
 
6. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show. Water as needed during active growth periods. Dutch iris prefer not to be watered while dormant.
 
7. At the end of the summer the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage many be removed at this point. Your iris will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
 
 
Quantity tips:
                For 12-15" pots - plant 9
                For 10" pots - plant 7
                For 8" pots - plant 5        
 
 
Source: http://www.easytogrowbulbs.com/index.asp?PageAction=Custom&ID=35

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