Submitted by Julie Conner, Somervell County Master Gardener
Did you ever drive by an old homestead where only the chimney remained standing. Yet in the corner of the foundation there is a growth of Iris. Why does that Iris come up each year? The Iris is from the family of flowers that grow from a bulb and when planted
in the right spot they require a minimum of care, as the Iris on the old homestead prove.
Rhizomes, corms, tubers and bulbs are a group of plants that grow their stems underground. Many of these bulbs require a low temperatures for a period of time before they send up new growth. Most of these plants prefer sunny spots because their leaves need the exposure to sunlight in order to product food which is stored in the bulb for the next season growth.
Iris can adapt to almost any soil but for best results prepare a bed for them and in a location that gets at least 6 hours of sun. Allow at least 3 inches of organic matter in the bed then place the bulb approx one inch below the surface then layer 2 inches of mulch on top and water thoroughly.
Iris bloom spring through summer depending on variety. Once the blooms have done their thing the bloom stalks can be removed. Do not trim back the leaves or blades much as the bulb still needs to produce food for the bulb. You can fertilize in the spring as new growth appears. A good rule of thumb for the bulb plants “if it blooms in the spring or summer then you will dig, divide and plant in the fall”.
There is a large variety of Iris from bearded to dwarfs and range in heights of 3 inches to 27 inches. There is a Ft Worth Iris Society which is having a sale Sept 28th at the Ft Worth Botanical Gardens. This would be a great time to investigate the possibilities of Iris in your garden.