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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Irises

AH, FALL! Children return to school, leaves begin to drop even as the heat continues to sizzle. As a gardener, fall reminds me to learn something new about the plant world and what I should plant now! This year, my eye was focused on the iris.

So, how do you get them started? Plant bearded irises in well-drained soil that gets plenty of sun. The rhizomes, sausage-looking root structures at the base of the plant’s sword-like leaves, like to be dry. Add some sand or vermiculite to the planting area. Keep the rhizome close to the soil top and water only during extended dry times or after transplanting.

Now is the time to divide and replant iris gardens. Plant irises about 16-18 inches apart—they will fill in. Clip the sword leaves down to about three inches, and remove the seed pods left from the flowers. Wait for late spring and your first blooms. Here in Louisiana we have our own native irises. They are spectacular wildflowers from the bayous and wetlands of the Gulf Coast. These have larger flowers and are flatter and wider than the taller bearded iris blooms. You will need a moist area, rich soil and partial shade. They even do well in ponds or water gardens.

Please take the time to do research on your own so you can start an iris garden in your backyard. Come spring, you will enjoy the rainbow of colors!

Email your gardening questions to Lisa.



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