Iris (Bearded Hybrids), Bearded Iris. Iris 'Swazi Princess'
Iris 'Swazi Princess'

Iris (Bearded Hybrids)

Bearded Iris
Family: Iridaceae
USDA Zone: 3-10?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapSmall plant 2-5 ftFull sunModerate waterRegular waterYellow, orange flowersRed, crimson, vinous flowersUnusual colorBlue, lavender, purple flowersWhite, off-white flowersPink flowersPlant attracts butterflies, hummingbirdsFragrant plantSubtropical or temperate zone plant. Mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

Iris is a genus of hybrid plants native to the northern temperate regions, named after the Greek goddess Iris who supposedly walked between heaven and earth on a rainbow and wherever she stepped on earth there were flowers of various colors. In most countries, irises can be found in many different styles of gardens. Bearded hybrids can be grown in any average to rich, sandy loam, but must have full sun, excellent drainage and good air circulation to thrive and avoid rhizome rot and leaf spot disease. They can also be prone to iris borers, where diseased foliage should be cut and infected rhizomes dug up and destroyed. During the summer time, it is advised to divide and transplant rhizomes once flowering is complete, as late planting may prevent bloom the ensuing spring.

These small perennials grow in a variety of shades and combinations, with most of them reaching two to five feet in height and spread. Commonly seen colors are blue, purple, white and off-white, but reddish-purple, pink and yellow varieties can also be found. Not all plants have same fragrant aroma, but those that do can attract butterflies, hummingbirds and sometimes other pollinators.

When it comes to care and maintenance, Iris needs regular watering, although the amount should be reduced during cooler months. It prefers full sun and rich, well-drained soil, but overwatering should be avoided as it can lead to leaf spot disease and rhizome rot. To keep the plants healthy, divide and transplant the rhizomes in midsummer, once flowering is over. For colder climates, iris can be grown in pots and kept indoors over the winter. If a frost is forecast, it should be planted in soil that drains quickly. A fertilizer can be added in early spring, while pruning should be done with sharp scissors. It is suitable for bonsai, especially with older specimens that already have a developed caudex. Likewise, it can be kept in a sunny room during winter to protect it from the cold.

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