Do you have a hard-to-fill spot in your landscape? Want something
special to fill it with? Consider an iris! With so many different types
of iris available, one is bound to be suitable for the space you have
available. For details on the various types of iris, use the culture
For full sun, or mostly full sun, and well-drained areas, any bearded
iris would be happy. Proper watering in during dry spells and a good
slow-release fertilizer will keep them looking good throughout the
growing season. Since bearded irises are available starting with
Miniature Dwarf up to Tall Bearded and come in an astounding array of
colors, your possibilities might very well be limitless! Miniature Dwarf
and Standard Dwarf Bearded iris are great for rockeries and edge
plantings. The Intermediate and Border Bearded are excellent in central
areas of a perennial flowerbed. Tall Bearded iris are best used as
background plants where they can bloom gloriously on their 36" to 60"
stalks and then blend into the rest of the landscape for the summer. And
if you are a bit cramped on space, Miniature Tall Bearded iris might be
just what you are looking for. They look just like Tall Bearded iris in
form, but are about half the size! They are also excellent in cut flower
arrangements. The wide bladed foliage of the fans can be is quite
effective in helping to delineate and shape growing spaces.
Also for full/almost full sun is the beardless Siberian Iris. Siberians
are relatively common in landscape usage as they form nice, tight clumps
and bloom strongly. The foliage is slender, almost grass-like and can be
used for greenery in floral arrangements. The flowers colors of Siberian
iris tend more towards the white, blue and pink shades, although recent
hybridizing efforts are promising for yellows and oranges. Also to be
considered would be the taller Spuria iris. Great as background plants,
they can provide a temporary focal point in early summer in some
hard-to-reach back corner or low maintenance area. Again, proper
watering in during dry times and a good slow-release fertilizer will
keep them looking good throughout the growing season.
Now, for that sunny yet damp area, Japanese iris are just the answer
you've been looking for. Japanese iris enjoy moisture... but not "wet
feet". The long, slender foliage is also grass-like, but heavier and
often with a silver-gray cast to it. The blooms can be quite
spectacular; the color range and patterning is extensive and the sizes
can span 3" to 12". Best in large clumps, Japanese iris can create quite
an impact in your perennial bed!
Louisiana Iris love "wet feet", so for those really wet areas around
ponds are streams, this is your best choice. Heavier strap shaped leaves
rise up from vigorous, wide-reaching rhizomes. The flowers are velvety
in texture and show some intense colors. I highly recommend them!! Our
Washington native Iris pseudacorus and associated hybrids also do well
in wet areas. Just be sure to not let them go to seed, as they can be
For semi-shady areas, Pacific Coast Native iris would be your best bet.
They tend to be relatively short (12-18" high) and compact growers.
Thinner leaves are grass-like, but heavier in texture. If they are happy
in their home they can grow into a sizable clump. They are wonderful for
use in naturalizing and undergrowth plantings.
Let's not forget to mention bulb iris and specie iris. Bulb iris are
like any other bulb in that they grow, bloom, the foliage lingers while it support next year's bulb production and then dies
down for the season. Excellent for spots of color in your annual or
perennial beds. Specie iris come in many assorted sizes, shapes and
styles. They tend to be quite vigorous in growth. The flowers aren't
always as spectacular as the various hybridized iris, but they still
deserve careful consideration!
With all of these choices, how could you not have one or two iris in
your landscape? If you have yet to experience the wonders of growing
iris, get out there and start planting! If you already are growing iris,
there is always room for more!