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German Irises are among the earliest blooming and easiest perennials to grow.
German Iris work well in perennial gardens with other perennials and summer flowering bulbs such as gladiolus, dahlias or hardy lilies. German Irises are also attractive around water features, waterfalls and ponds. When planting German Iris around waterfalls and ponds make sure that they receive adequate drainage by planting the iris on a slightly raised mound. The most popular and widely grown iris is the tall bearded iris. "Bearded" refers to the presence of a furry strip on each of three drooping, petal-like sepals, called falls. The true petals are called standards and are upright. Flowers appear in late spring to early summer on stalks above the foliage. Geraman Iris flower colors vary greatly and are even available in two-color combinations. The leaves are stiff and strap-like and grow in fan-shaped clumps. Shop for German Iris.
Tip: Good news if you have deer problems; German Iris are deer resistant. When planning a deer resistant garden try including groupings of German Iris for early bloom and texture.
Bearded Irises (Iris germanica):
Bearded irises are available in a wide range of heights; miniature dwarf (up to 10 inches ), standard dwarf (10 to 15 inches), miniature tall (15 to 25 inches), intermediate (15-27 inches) and border (28 inches). Despite size differences, all bearded irises thrive in full sun and well-drained soil.Reblooming Iris will rebloom in the fall if the conditions are right. Popular rebloomers include German Iris Immortality, German Iris Orange Harvest, German Iris Mariposa Skies, German Iris English Charm, German Iris Hemstitched, and German Iris Harvest of Memories.
German Bearded Iris Culture:
Bearded irises grow from an underground stem known as a rhizome. German iris are perennials that can be "divided". Healthy rhizomes increase in size and develop branches or "off-shoots" which can be broken off (do not remove attached roots) and replanted. This method of propagation (division) should be done one to two months after bloom (usually July or August) every two to three years. When dividing, cut back leaves to one-third their length to keep newly planted divisions from being whipped by the wind and pulled from the soil. Otherwise, cut back foliage in fall as it begins to brown.
The planting procedure for German Iris is the same whether planting a new plant or division. Cultivate the soil 12 to 18 inches deep and mix in composted organic material. Dig a hole about six inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the rhizome and its roots. Build a small mound of soil in the bottom and place the rhizome on it, spreading the roots carefully. Adjust the height of the mound so that the rhizome is just beneath the soil's surface. Fill in the hole and water. Bearded irises should be spaced 12 to 18 inches apart.
Irises require a well balanced organic fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 6-10-6, applied once in early spring and again in early summer following bloom. Ample moisture is required in spring when flower buds are developing and during flowering.
German Iris Diseases:
The most serious iris pest is the iris borer, which overwinters in the egg stage attached to leaves. The eggs begin to hatch in late April, and the tiny caterpillars crawl up iris leaves and begin chewing and mining their way down within the leaf fold, eventually reaching the rhizome. Once in the rhizome, they continue to feed, sometimes reducing the rhizome to a hollow shell. Leaves which yellow and are easily detached indicate damage to the rhizome. The fully-grown borer crawls out of the rhizome and pupates in the soil in mid-August. The gray-brown moth emerges in mid-September to October, lays eggs on dry plant material and other garden debris and dies. Eggs overwinter until the following spring, when they hatch and the cycle repeats. Eliminate iris borer eggs by removing and destroying debris in and around the iris planting in both spring and late fall, or by digging rhizomes and physically removing the borer, then replanting, in July or August.
Soft rot is a common problem of damaged iris rhizomes. Soft rot enters the rhizome through any wound, including feeding damage from iris borers. If soft rot is a problem, dig up the rhizome, scrape out the affected tissue, allow it to dry in the sun, then dip in a 10-12% solution of household bleach for a few minutes. Rinse with water and allow to dry before replanting.