Irises are my favorite flowers. It is the first flower I remember from my grandma’s garden. Growing Irises in your Phoenix home garden is surprisingly easy. Once planted they have relatively little maintenance.
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Irises have six petals divided in two parts. They have three inner petals, also called standards. They also have three outer petals called falls. The outer petals will droop some and the inner petals are more upright.
This orchid like flower is available in various colors including purple, blue, yellow, pink red, and multi color.
The majority of irises originate from either Asia or Europe. Irises are part of the Iridaceae family.
How to Grow Irises
- Types of Irises
- When & How to Plant Irises
- Where to Plant Irises
- How to Care for Irises
- When does foliage and blooms appear
- Reasons your Iris isn’t blooming?
Types of Iris
- Bearded Irises, also called German Irises, are known for their “beards” on the lower petals or falls. They can grow in USDA zones 3-9.
- Dutch Irises are the type of irises you’ll most likely find at a florist. Dutch irises are grown from bulbs and are perennials in warm climates or gardening zones 7-9.
- Japanese Irises are rhizomes. This type is commonly found around water such as ponds or streams. It can grow in gardening zone 4-9. This type is often used around water gardens.
- Siberian Irises are rhizomes. These irises can grow in USDA gardening zone 3-8. They are not the best choice in Phoenix. In warmer climates they do better in partial shade.
When and How to Plant Iris
In most parts of the U.S. irises should be planted July through September. In warm climates with mild winters plant them later in the year.
When to Plant Irises in Phoenix
Plant irises when the temperatures drop below 100 degrees. Mid- September or October until the first frost. First frost can happen in mid-November in Phoenix.
Irises appreciate composted soil. Use at least 50% of compost and mix with desert soil.
How deep should Irises be Planted?
Plant rhizomes or bulbs about 1″ under the soil with the pointy part pointing up. The top of the rhizome should be slightly visible. Irises need consistent moisture. Water regularly during the growing season.
For a gorgeous display of color plant up to 12 irises per square foot.
Where to Plant Irises
Irises thrive in full sun, in warm climates such as Phoenix they appreciate afternoon shade. We planted irises on the east side of our home and they have been blooming for more than a decade.
Japanese and Siberian irises can handle partial shade better than the other two types of irises.
How to Care for Irises
Irises are pretty easy to care for. Once established just be sure to continue providing water throughout the growing season, even if you can’t see them.
Every couple years they need to be divided. I have so many of them I had to thin them out and relocate to a more contained area of my yard.
Growth and Flower Bloom Time
Iris foliage starts appearing late fall in Phoenix. In colder climates this may not appear until spring. In Phoenix, the foliage usually starts peaking out from under the ground late October, early November. We usually see flowers blooming late February early March in Phoenix.
Reasons Your Iris isn’t Blooming
Irises prefer full sun, in warm climates they like afternoon shade. They can also thrive in partial shade or filtered sun.
If your flowers are not blooming it is usually for one of two reasons; either they are not getting enough sun, or they are overcrowded. Either way the solution would be to dig up the rhizomes and either move them to a sunnier location or if they are overcrowded divide them up.
Every 2-4 years Irises should be dug up and divided to prevent over crowding. Wait until 6-8 weeks after irises bloom to divide them or relocate them.v\