Outdoor Living

Iris Envy

Bearded irises rank up there among my favourite plants. They are beautiful, easy to propogate and easy to care for. They love a harsh sun and are resilient to changing conditions. Every year, they get bigger and better, and their vibrant flowers come in an enviable range of colours, colour combinations and sizes.

Personally, I am a fan of the tall beared iris that stand about a metre high. Before flowering, the blue-grey leaves put on a lovely show, but when those buds start to burst open in spring – a glorious display will ensue.

Irises do well in the ground or in pots. They have above ground rhizomes which spread creating new growth at the edges. These rhizomes are the reason they are so easy to propogate. The rhizomes prefer a little baking in the sun, so if you cover them too much, flowers might not occur. Every three or fours years, digging and dividing your clump will invigorate the plant and multiply your numbers. Try to avoid dividing during flowering season if you can, wait until after it’s done to really get stuck into your irises.

Irises can be sourced as bagged rhizomes or potted plants. Friends and neighbours are often willing to share rhizomes when they dig and divide them and the Sunshine Iris Nursery (NSW) allows you to order online and have them shipped to you. They are a fairly classic ‘set and forget’ plant. Spend a little time giving them love when you first plant them, and then let nature do the rest.

Although the flowering season is done now, the digging and dividing has begun – so if you are on the lookout for a dazzling plant – keep an eye on who is digging their irises near you.

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