An iris is a tall, slender flower with long foliage. An iris is one of the easiest perennials to grow. The minimum care needed for an iris to thrive, however, does not limit the beauty that these plants have. The bloom is large and bright, and most of them have a combination of colors on the petals.
An iris plant has a thick, fleshy root called a rhizome. The rhizome is where most of the nutrients for the iris are stored. For best results, an iris should be planted in a sunny spot with well-drained soil. The rhizome should be closer to the surface of the soil than the rest of the root system. As the rhizome grows, new bloom stalks will emerge in later years. These flowers will be identical to the original iris. This process is called vegetative propagation.Most iris plants are heavy feeders and should be fertilized regularly. The soil should be light, and the roots must be planted firmly to hold the iris in place. Iris should not be forced to compete with grass or weeds for water and nutrients. Proper care of an iris will provide for years of enjoyment of the lovely blooms.
Plantation: Planting iris plants is very easy to do, and can be a rewarding experience. When an iris is purchased, it will be either in bulb or rhizome form. If the iris is in bulb form, planting it is just like planting any other bulb plant. Planting iris bulbs should be done at a depth of about three inches, making sure that the bulb is facing the correct way up. This should take place in the fall, as the plant will then become dormant for the winter and then grow in the coming spring.
Planting iris that are in rhizome form requires a little bit more effort. The rhizome should be planted at or near the surface of the soil, while the roots shooting off should be planted down much further. The best way to do this is to dig a trench and have a mound running down the center. Place the rhizome on the mound, and spread the roots down the sides. When planting iris in bulk, it is important to ensure that all the rhizomes are facing the same direction. This will prevent crowding in early years.
After planting iris in either bulb or rhizome form, the plants should be watered. The soil must be well draining, as the bulb and rhizome are both very susceptible to rot. The plants should also be in an area of full direct sunlight. If some shade is provided, the blooms will not be as large or last as long of a time. There are, however, some colors of bloom that will hold much better when given partial shade from the hotter afternoon sun.
Cultivation: Iris plants grow best in full sun. Some shade will be tolerated, but this is detrimental to the blooms. There are some colors of bloom that will keep their color longer if provided some shade during the hotter afternoon sunlight. Iris plants also prefer soil that is moist and well drained to thrive.
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