This plant is famous for its shape, form, and floral colors. They come in a wide variety of greens and yellows, making them one of the most diverse types of iris. There is a lot to know about growing and caring for bearded irises, but with this guide, you can display them in your yard.
Different types of Bearded Iris
There are many different bearded irises, so you must know what you want before buying one.
Queen's circles are the most common type of bearded iris. They have long stems and white flowers with lavender centers.
Thornbirds have smaller flowers than Queen's Circles but still have broad petals that are vivid shades of yellow, orange, red, purple, or brown. Their leaves resemble small spines along their stems; this helps them stand out among other plants in your garden.
The dusky challenger has large flowers with dark purple or blue-violet centers surrounded by white petals. This variety grows to a height of 36 inches.
Big Blue Eyes
The big blue eyes are another popular bearded iris species that produces large, fragrant flowers with large blue-violet centers surrounded by white petals.
Beatnick bearded irises have broad, flat leaves that resemble lettuce. They have broad green leaves with white veins and a tuft of hair at the top of each blade. The medium-sized flowers come in shades of blue, purple, and white. They bloom from mid-spring through mid-summer, making them an ideal choice for planting in late spring or early summer.
Abiqua Falls bearded irises have long flowers that grow in clusters on stout stems. The flowers are pinkish-white, with a darker center surrounded by lighter petals.
Growing From Seed
You'll need to start with a clean container with drainage holes in the bottom to grow from seed. Fill the container with a good potting soil mix, about five inches deep for each plant you plan on growing. You can buy bearded iris seeds online or at most garden centers. Follow the instructions included with the seeds on how long they should sit before sowing them.
Once you've collected enough seeds for your plant, sow them at least one inch deep into your potting soil mix. This will ensure that they get enough water while germinating and providing good drainage if needed later in life; bearded iris can have some pretty high water needs. Keep the lid closed until all the seeds have sprouted and grown roots; this should take about two weeks.
The first step in potting a bearded iris is to select the appropriate size pot. This can be a plastic or clay tub or a wooden box with a hole in the top. The hole should be significant to accommodate the plant's roots. After that, prepare the soil for planting. Do this by mixing fresh compost into a moistened mixture of peat moss and perlite and then sowing seeds on top of this mixture (or using a spacer). The final step is to pack down the soil around the roots of your bearded iris and transfer it into your container.
Bearded iris need a lot of light to thrive. Their name comes from their leaves being covered in fine, downy hair, which helps them retain moisture in the soil. This means these plants are best placed outside during summer when temperatures are warm and nights are cool enough to survive through the winter. Also, they do well in partial sun or brightly lit locations indoors during spring and fall.
The bearded iris is a thirsty plant that needs regular watering to stay healthy. Water your bearded irises when the top 1-2 inches of soil feels dry. They'll need at least an inch of water every week, but they'll be happier if you give them more frequent droughts. You can also give them more frequent irrigations by using a self-watering bottle, which will keep up with their thirst.
Iris are notoriously picky in terms of soil. Their soil requirements are so specific that you can use several different soil types. The most common soil type is a good-quality potting mix that's been amended with peat moss or sand. However, you can also use a sandy loam mix, an equal mix of sand, and sifted compost (made up of dead plant matter).
If you're using a potting mix, ensure it's free from weed seeds (as they will compete with your irises for nutrients) and has no extra fertilizer added to it like cottonseed meal or blood meal. If you're using a sandy loam mix, make sure there isn't too much perlite or vermiculite in it, as these materials contain tiny air bubbles which can impede the growth of your plants instead of helping them thrive.
Fertilizing Bearded Iris
Bearded irises need a lot of fertilizer to grow well. You can use any mixture of manure and compost, but ensure that you get at least one part for every three parts of compost. If you use a bagged fertilizer, ensure it has been tested for use in bearded irises and is labeled "beardie"-safe.
Pests and Disease Problems
Bearded Iris can be susceptible to several pests and diseases. The main pests and diseases are aphids, mealybugs, thrips, and whiteflies.
Aphids are tiny insects that suck the juice from plants. They can be found on a variety of plants, including bearded iris. Aphids will feed on the leaves or flowers of the plant, leaving behind an empty husk that you can see through.
Mealybugs are small oval-shaped insects that have white wax coats over their bodies. Mealybugs are often grouped on roses or other plants with a sap flow. To get rid of mealybugs, wash off any visible insects with soapy water and spray them with an insecticidal soap solution until they are all gone.
The thrips is a tiny flying insect that attacks many garden plants, especially roses and other flowering plants like the bearded iris. Get rid of them by spraying insecticidal soap directly on their bodies until they are all killed off.
These are tiny flying insects that feed on the sap of your plant. They are very tiny, and their bodies are covered in yellow-orange wings. They have long legs, which they use to walk around on top of the leaves of your plants. They lay eggs below the leaves, and when those eggs hatch, they produce nymphs (younger versions of themselves). These nymphs will then eat the sap and cause damage to your plant's growth.
Bearded iris is a perennial plant, meaning they can be grown from seed and are not limited by the season. Propagate the plant by cutting or dividing the root crown when dormant. When pruning your bearded iris, ensure that you do not damage the roots, as this reduces the probability of regrowth.
Bearded irises are an exciting and beautiful variety of iris. Growing, caring for, and propagating bearded irises can be rewarding for those who enjoy gardening. One of the most accessible types of irises to grow, bearded irises make great additions to any garden.