Irises are an enduringly popular option for any garden and, as such, many people buy iris bulbs to grow them. One of the reasons why irises are so popular is that they come in a wide variety of colours – they are, in fact, named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Their beautiful bursts of colour stand out in a garden amongst the other flowers, with their radiance really setting the scene. They are also not too difficult to grow so experienced and new gardeners alike can grow iris bulbs very successfully.
Irises come in a whole host of vibrant colours, from yellow, to deep purple red, to delicate blue, and many others in between. There are many varieties of iris which largely dictates their colour: Dutch iris, dwarf iris, English iris, herbaceous iris, iris germanica and juno iris bulbs can readily be bought in the UK. First, then, you should pick the type of iris that you want to grow so that you can choose the right bulbs. This will be an aesthetic decision, made because the irises will complement your garden and the others flowers and plants that you have there. You also need to think about looking after the irises, of course, and where to plant them – more on that next.
Buying quality iris bulbs: what are you looking for in a good bulb?
Bulbs need to be healthy if they are going to flourish and become healthy flowers too. Check the condition of the bulbs before you plant them i.e. make sure that they are firm to the touch and do not feel squishy, as this could indicate that they are mouldy or rotting. If a bulb is not healthy when it is planted it will not grow – either send the bulbs back and ask for a refund, or ask for a replacement.
How to grow irises from bulb and how to care for them
Growing irises is not difficult but you do still need to follow some basic rules and know what you are doing with them. Irises should be planted early and they can be some of the earliest flowering plants in the garden. There are also some later flowering varieties that will flower around the summer time. Once you know when you are going to plant them, the next question is where. Like any bulb, iris bulbs will not grow well in soil that is waterlogged – the bulbs themselves will begin to rot and will not grow. Make sure they are planted somewhere with well draining soil and pick a spot where they will have lots of sunshine throughout the day.
As well as being planted outside, irises can be grown inside or in a greenhouse. They can also be successfully grown in containers as long as they are in a sunny spot.
As long as you plant your iris bulbs around autumn time and look after them properly, you can expect them to flower in February/March, or later if they are a different variety.