Plant Profile: Iris

irisIn late spring and early summer, many Minnesota gardens are abloom with iris, which is one of the easiest plants to grow in our climate.

Iris come in three types: bearded, Siberian and Japanese. Bearded are the most commonly available iris in Minnesota and they come in hundreds of varieties in colors ranging from deep purple to cream. There are fewer varieties of Siberian irises, but more breeders are working with this hardy type.

Requirements for growing irises are few: They like at least 6 hours a day of sun and, even more sun is better. They need well-drained soil, but once they are established, they do not like to be overwatered. (Too much water is one of the primary causes of disease among irises.) You’ll want to give them a dose of fertilizer each spring before blooming.

After blooming, the plants go dormant for the rest of the summer. Gardeners should cut back the flower stems, but leave the foliage standing. It’s a nice vertical accent in the garden. When it yellows, it should be cut back.

The best time to plant irises is in late summer. Are your irises still blooming?

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