Planting guide: When to plant iris bulbs

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Perfect for experienced and novice gardeners alike, this June bloomer is reliable, rugged and easy to grow and look after. And there’s plenty of variety to choose from: there are some 300 species in the genus Iris.

The most familiar of these are the tall bearded irises, which can grow up to 26 inches long.

Iris plants have distinctive six-petaled flowers have three outer hanging petals and three inner upright petals.

Irises may be a bearded type or crested.

Bearded iris are so-called because they have soft hairs along the centre of the falls.

In crested irises, the hairs form a comb or ridge.

Most irises flower in early summer, whereas some – mostly bearded hybrids – flower again in the late summer.

You can buy iris bulbs in September and October in nurseries, garden centres and DIY stores.

Sometimes you will see potted Iris reticulata types for sale in garden centres when they are flowering in the springtime; this is more expensive, but you get instant results.

Where to plant iris bulbs

Choose a sunny spot where the soil is well-drained.

Plant iris bulbs 15 cm deep in the soil – planting this dead will help encourage the bulbs to reflower in the following years.

Space the bulbs five to seven and a half centimetres apart.

Plant the bulbs as soon as possible after purchasing.

How to care for iris bulbs

Irises are happily very low maintenance plants. so caring for your plants will be a minimal job.

Just make sure that the soil they are being planted in is well-drained and is in the path of sunlight each day.

Pruning isn’t required, as the foliage dies away naturally after flowering.

Once finished flowering, mark with a cane or other item to make sure you don’t accidentally dig them up.

Slugs and snails can be known to favour iris plants – in this case, use gentle natural deterrents to keep them at bay.

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