The Iris garden is in full bloom now but it won’t last much longer – maybe until June 1st. Even though the flowers don’t last too long they are some of the most beautiful and fragrant flowers in the garden.
These Iris are commonly called “Flags” or German Iris. Even though they are evergreen they are usually cut back in the summer and the rhizomes are divided if necessary. Other plants need to be planted with them or the garden looks dull in the summer. My favorite plant for this purpose is the Day Lily which likes full sun like the Iris but blooms in the summer.
Here are some examples of the variety of colors available in German Iris:
You should cut back the Iris in late summer or in September. This is the time that you can divide and transplant them to other places in the garden or give them away to friends.
This is an example of an Iris rhizome rotting because it was buried under the soil and mulch.
This is an example of Iris rhizomes that are too crowded.
The rhizomes are thinned out and divided. The mulch and soil should be raked off of the top of the rhizomes so the sun can reach them. This is also the way they should be planted.
Don’t get the German Iris mixed up with the Dutch Iris:
The 4 photos above are examples of the Dutch Iris which are bulbs and are planted in the fall and bloom in April. The German Iris blooms in May and are usually planted in the late summer or fall.
Another type of Iris is the Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica). They bloom in April and are available in blue, rose, pink, white and yellow. They are clumping perennials and each group gets gradually larger.