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Flowering Bulbs – The Iris

There are many flowering bulbs but the iris is named after the Greek Goddess. This beautiful flower comes in various forms, sizes, shapes, and colors. These flowering bulbs have leaves that resemble a sword and are very attractive even when they are not blooming. The iris flower is considered to be a messenger of love just as the Greek Goddess Iris.

Irises are grouped into two categories, the bulbous and the rhizome. The rhizomes have thicker stems that will grow horizontally or partially underground. After planting they produce their sword-like leaves that will eventually overlap and form fan-like foliage. Three of the popular iris rhizomes are the Bearded, Beardless and the Crested. The bulbous iris which grow from bulbs need to have a dormant period after blossoming. These irises are usually smaller in stature and have smaller blooms.

Iris will need to have at least six hours of full sunlight daily. This sunny area of the garden needs to be large enough for the iris to spread out and grow. They can grow to roughly three feet tall and over the years will spread out through their root system. It is best to leave about a foot surrounding the iris for growth.  

Before planting iris bulbs you will need to condition the soil with the use of slow release low nitrogen fertilizer. Using peat moss, manure, or compost increases the organic matter in the soil. The fertilizer and organic matter needs to be worked into the soil well. You want to do all this preparation of the soil about three weeks before planting the iris.  

You want to dig a shallow trench just deep enough to hold the rhizomes. These rhizomes are planted lengthwise along the ground making sure the bulbous stem is pointed upwards. If they get planted too deep they will have tendency to rot. Now you can replace the soil and tamp firmly with your hands to make sure they stay put. You want to plant them all facing the same direction and at least a foot apart. A garden marker will help to remember where the iris rhizomes are planted.

Iris flowers care is fairly simple. You will start to see iris shoots in early spring followed by the sword-shaped leaves and the flowers will appear in late spring. Once the flowers are no longer blooming, leave the remainder of the plant to continue developing their root system and flowers for next seasons growth. Usually by the third or fourth year of growth the flower bed could be over-crowded with iris but you can divide them in late summer.

The iris genus flowering bulbs take up about 200 species. The North Temperate regions around the world are native to the iris. Their habitat also varies with some growing in swamps, deserts, the cold air of the far north and in milder climates. Siberian iris bulbs and Bearded iris bulbs are the most popular bulbs grown. Iris means rainbow and you will find them in just about any color such as black, blue, brown, orange, pink, purple, red, white, and yelllow. They make beautiful garden flowers.

Source by Barbara E. Volkov

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