'Red Pixie’ (MDB), Miniature Dwarf Bearded. Less than 8” tall.
Less than 8” tall. MDBs are the shortest of the Bearded Irises and they are the first to bloom in the spring. Term #1: The Iris’ leaves form a group of leaves that are referred to as a fan
‘Bedford Lilac’ (SDB), Standard Dwarf Bearded. 11” tall.
Term #3: The rhizome has a toe and a heel (where the leaves come out of the rhizome). Note: When planting Iris in a clump, place the toes inward and the heels outward
‘Adoring Glances’ (SDB), Standard Dwarf Bearded. 12" tall.
Term #4: Bearded Iris typically have three petals up (these are called standards) and three petals down (these are the falls). Inside the standards are the style arms (purple).
‘Adoring Glances’ (SDB), Standard Dwarf Bearded.
Term #5: Here it is with 4 petals... a weather caused phenomenon called Poly Petal where an Iris flower will have more parts than it typically has.
‘Moon Shadows’ (SDB), Standard Dwarf Bearded. 11” tall.
Planting hint #1: When planting recently divided Iris, cut fans back to 4-6” high. Shorter fans prevent the plant from blowing over, leaving the roots exposed and the plant may die.
‘Siamese Kitten’ (SDB), Standard Dwarf Bearded. 11” tall.
Planting hint #2: Plant in well drained soil. Iris are a good choice for our Anoka County sandy soils. Bearded Iris are susceptible to rotting if the rhizomes are too wet.
'Candy Apple (SDB) Standard Dwarf Bearded 12" tall.
Planting hint #3: Iris need a minimum of 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.
'Anoka Angel' (SDB). Standard Dwarf Bearded. 12" tall.
Planting hint #4: Best time to divide and/or transplant bearded Iris is in late summer, from mid-July to Labor Day.
‘Acey Deucey’ (SDB), Standard Dwarf Bearded. 13” tall.
Note: The purple petals are the standards and the yellow petals are the falls. Planting hint #5: Mixing alfalfa pellets (without salt) into the planting hole is extremely beneficial.
‘Chanted’ (SDB), Standard Dwarf Bearded. 12-14” tall.
Note: the beards are lavender-blue. Planting hint #6: Work plenty of compost or peat moss into the soil before planting, especially important for heavy soils such as clay.
‘Kirsten Marie’ (SDB), Standard Dwarf Bearded. 13” tall.
Planting hint #7: Dig shallow hole for each division. Make teepee out of dirt in middle of hole; place rhizome on top of teepee; let the roots go down the sides of teepee. Fill hole with soil.
‘Many Mahalos’ (IB), Intermediate Bearded. 19” tall.
Planting hint #8: If planting a row, make a tent instead of a teepee, placing the roots on the side of the tent. Fill the hole with soil.
‘Basso’ (IB), Intermediate Bearded. 23" tall.
Planting hint #9: When planted, the top of the rhizome should be barely visible at the soil surface. A common mistake is to plant the rhizome too deep, this will result in fewer, or no blooms.
‘Rare Edition’ (IB), Intermediate Bearded. 24" tall.
Planting hint #10: The newly planted Iris, may or may not bloom the first year. So, be patient!
‘Honey Glazed’ (IB), Intermediate Bearded. 24" tall.
Growing hint #1: Bearded Iris prefer a pH of 6.8 (slightly acidic), typically, Anoka County soils are slightly acidic. BUT, get a U of MN soil test to make sure (see growing hint #2).
‘Dazzling’ (IB), Intermediate Bearded. 26" tall.
Growing hint #2: Getting a soil test is a good idea. To get the needed Soil Analysis Request Form, visit: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/soils/docs. (Find the spider in this picture).
‘Carol Lee’ (MTB), Miniature Tall Bearded. 16" tall.
Growing hint #3: After flowering, break off the dead flowers (this is called deadheading). The energy the Iris uses to produce seeds could better be used by the rhizome.
‘Congo Bongo’ (BB), Border Bearded. 25” tall.
Growing hint #4: Do not cut the leaves off while they are still green. The plant needs the green leaves to produce healthier roots; leaves; and rhizomes (a process called photosynthesis).
‘Dance Gypsy’ (BB), Border Bearded. 25" tall.
Growing hint #5: Do not mulch during the growing season. Mulching retains moisture and too much moisture will encourage the Iris to rot.
‘Making Small Talk’ (BB), Border Bearded. 26" tall.
Note: the Border Beardeds bloom the same time as the Tall Beardeds. Growing hint #6: Less frequent deep watering is better than frequent shallow watering. Over watering Irises is a common mistake.
‘Be My Baby’ (BB), Border Bearded. 27" tall.
Growing hint #7: Avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen as this will encourage soft growth that is susceptible to disease. Do NOT use “Weed & Feed” fertilizers for Iris.
‘Coral Chimes’ (BB), Border Bearded. 27.5” tall.
Growing hint #8: A well-balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 5-10-10 can be applied lightly in early spring and again a month after bloom. Do not place fertilizer directly on the rhizomes.
‘Knock Quietly’ (TB), Tall Bearded. 36" tall.
Growing hint #9: It is very important to keep your Iris bed free of weeds and fallen leaves. The rhizomes like to get some sunlight. Remember they, don’t like to be overly wet!
‘Happenstance’ (TB), Tall Bearded. 37" tall.
Growing hint #10: When plants become overcrowded, flowering decreases and/or stops. Divide Iris every 3-4 years. Best time to divide is late summer, giving plants time to reestablish roots before winter.
An advantage of planting a variety of different classes of Iris is that (speaking in generalities) the shorter the iris the earlier they bloom.
The earlier blooming Iris: the Miniature Dwarf (MDB) Iris and the Standard Dwarf (SDB) Iris are shown first; followed by the Intermediate Bearded (IB) Iris and the Miniature Tall Bearded (MTB) Iris; which is taller and blooms later. Last to bloom are the Border Bearded (BB) Iris (shorter than the Tall Bearded (TB) Iris), but they bloom at the same time as the Tall Bearded (TB) Iris.
For more information see: American Iris Society, especially How to Plant and Grow Bearded Iris, and UM Extension Iris for Northern Gardens. Use the UMN Extension Soil Analysis Request Form to test the soil prior to planting your Iris garden.
The images are of Bearded Iris grown by Deb Kuechle, Anoka County Master Gardener.
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