Growing irises produces flamboyant flowers that will add more than a touch of intrigue to your garden... after all, it's no accident that the iris plants’ beauty has caught the imagination of master painters such as Van Gogh, Monet and Georgia O’Keefe.
Dividing plants every three or four years ensures your irises won’t lose the glamour of their first few years.
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Iris seeds can be sown at any time over the colder months in fall, winter or very early spring. Soak seeds for between two days and two weeks, then put them into iris containers filled with sieved garden compost or a nutrient-rich seed starting mix.
See the snapshot box below for information about dividing irises.
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Standard flower watering guidelines apply. Plants should not need staking, although newly planted divisions should always be trimmed to prevent wind rock before the roots are established.
Cut back irises in late fall after flowering has finished. If the plant has already succumbed to frost damage, it’s still worth removing excess foliage to prevent it from providing shelter for pests and diseases.
Avoid using farmyard manure to improve soil as this should not come into contact with rhizomes. Instead, use a slow release fertilizer like organic poultry manure pellets in spring and late summer.
Dutch hybrid irises are often grown as cut flowers. Create an out of sight section of your garden for growing cut flowers so that you don’t undermine your flower borders by stealing plants for indoors.
Keep the base of your iris plants free from debris to improve garden hygiene. If you notice rot or mold damage on your iris plants, remove that part of the clump by digging it up and destroying it.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Irises (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...
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