Are you lucky enough to already have thriving irises in your garden? Or, perhaps you're considering adding this colorful spring-bloomer to your garden patch this spring.
It's a great idea, because they are always showy and eye-catching. Tall, stately and with elegant blooms, the flower can add a pleasing aesthetic element to almost any style of garden.
However, there are approximately 300 different varieties. Which ones do you want in your garden? On the other hand, if you are wondering what kinds are already growing in your garden, then you'll appreciate this information as well.
Identification begins by determining how a specific plant grows. Some irises have tubers, and these need to be divided fairly regularly. Others are grown from bulbs and have little need for dividing.
For instance, you can learn about the Siberian Iris at the Green Pinky. It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial that is also known as iris sibirica.
How do you know if your flower is grown from a bulb or a tuber, which also is called a rhizome? The best way to find out is by digging up one of the plants. Most of them have rhizomes, and it may not be necessary to completely dig up the plant to find out if yours fits in this category.
Inspect the dirt at the base of the plant's leaves. The rhizome may be sitting at or above soil level. If no rhizome is immediately visible, then dig up an inch or two of soil. If you still don't find a rhizome, then you probably have one that grows from a bulb.
Varieties that grow from bulbs come in two distinct varieties. These can be identified by their bloom time. An iris that blooms early in the spring when the snow drops are making their appearance and the tulips haven't begun to bloom is a reticulated sub-type. However, one that has a bulb and blooms around mid-summer likely is a Dutch iris.
If your plants are growing from a rhizome, then it may be easier to get more specific about the variety by looking at the characteristics of its flowers.
Two of the most distinctive characteristics of their flowers are the beard and the crest.
Most of them have petals that are called "falls." These usually are three petals that have a downward curve. Other petals are called "standards." These stand upright from the stem.
Bearded varieties are among the most popular and common varieties across the U.S. These varieties may be identified by the fuzzy patch that is located on the base of each falls petal. Take a look close to the center of the flower at the base of one of the falls. If you see fuzzy hairs, then the plant is a bearded variety.
Some of them are identified by the presence of a crest. Crests are found at the same location on the falls as the beard. This ridge is decidedly not fuzzy.
Accordingly, there are three types that are grown from rhizomes. These are the bearded, the crested, and the beardless iris, which features neither a beard nor a crest.
It also may be possible to identify your plants by bloom time, but this is a less precise method. Early-spring bloomers typically are reticulatas while those that bloom late in the spring with tulips and peonies tend to be bearded. In the summer, Dutch bloom as well as beardless.
We've learned that these flowers can be divided into two main categories, those that grow from bulbs and those that grow from rhizomes. Those that grow from bulbs tend to produce smaller blooms, and they include popular varieties such as the reticulata and the Dutch.
Irises that grow from rhizomes tend to be taller, and they are bearded, crested or beardless. Bearded are the most popular in gardens because they are the easiest to grow. They also tend to produce the most blooms. Subcategories of bearded include border bearded, tall bearded, intermediate bearded, short bearded, and miniature bearded iris.
Common species of the beardless variety include the Pacific Coast native, Louisiana, Japanese, Siberian and Spuria hybrids.
Whichever species of iris you decide to grow in your garden, you can be confident that it will be easy to grow and colorful, making a spectacular focal point in your yard.
Feel free to check our other pictures in our gallery.