Sunlight is very important in iris growth, if the plant does not get enough light it will not bloom. Plant them in the spot which receives maximum sunlight.
Although iris plants like moisture, good drainage is essential to prevent rot problems. Do not let the plant stand in water, iris plants should be water only when 2 inches of the soil surface look dry.
These plants are water tolerant and survive without water for a longer time.
They grow best in sandy or gravelly soil, heavy clay soil does not work well for growing iris.
If your native soil is heavy you can plant it in the raised bed to help drainage. You can also amend native soil with gypsum or organic matter like compost to make the soil lighter.
Temperature and humidity
Most iris plants do not mind temperature extremes, till there is excessive rain or heavy snowmelt to drain roots. This plant is mostly damaged by heavy winds or hails can be susceptible to borer larvae entering the plant.
In the spring, feed them with low-nitrogen 6-10-10 fertilizer around the plant. You can also add bone meal. Feed once a month too much fertilizer will encourage more growth of foliage rather than blooms.
If you want your plant to bloom regularly, you have to prune it on a regular basis.
When iris bloom, take flower cuttings and decorate in the vase or you can also let them hang on branches for garden beauty.
Always cut the branch where the flower has bloomed. Cut all dry flowers or foliage from the stem, these dry parts look dead but they keep sucking energy from the plant. When you snip off them the energy will redirect to grow new leaves and flowers.
How to divide Iris bulbs
You need to divide the iris plant usually after every 2-3 years. Over time, the iris plant becomes overcrowded and stops blooming, this happens when rhizomes lose vitality and nutrients from the soil.
When this happens you need to divide and transplant them in fresh soil for continuous growth.
Here what to do:
Toss out the plant from the ground with its rhizomes, you will notice that the plant’s rhizome (called mother rhizomes) has developed several offspring rhizomes.
Separate offspring rhizomes from the mother rhizomes with a shape knife.
Cut the bottom of these rhizomes with shear to make visible fresh white tissue.
Keep cutting till you get fresh tissue, if there is any spot on the end throw it, cause it is infected and will not grow properly.
Destroy or throw rhizomes that look infected or have dark-brown spots on them.
Prepare rich soil bed for selected rhizomes, snip off 5-6 inches of leaves from the bottom of the cutting, so that new roots would able to thrive
You can make these cutting stands on a new soil bed, transplant them in a new spot, or gift them to friends and family to spread iris joy.
These iris cutting will grow individually and become similar to parent plants.
Pest and diseases
Iris bulbs are often attacked by some pests like verbena bud moth, whiteflies, iris weevil, aphids, thrips, slugs, snails, and sometimes nematodes may also bother the plant.
You can occasionally apply organic oil to control these pests to some extent like neem oil on the stem.
They are deer-resistant and drought tolerant. However, these plants are susceptible to horrible iris borer which like to overwinter eggs on the leaves. If you notice vertical streaks on the leaves, then find these pests and squash them.
If you see your plant foliage turning yellow-brown it’s a sign of rot root, stop overwater or if the problem is savior, you have to dig it up and remove the infected parts.
Iris bulbs are toxic to cats and dogs, especially rhizomes, if you have pets in the house do not plant them or take care that your pets are not ingested. The plant contains resinous purgative and irisin and cytotoxic terpenoids that cause vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling and sometimes lead to death.
If your pet shows these signs take them to an animal doctor in no time; treatment may include inducing vomiting or giving active charcoal to the pet.