Bearded irises are really very undemanding; however, they are very responsive and rewarding when provided the proper care they deserve. To get the most reward from growing bearded irises, the gardener should understand the growth cycle of the rhizome.
•Bearded iris flower in mid-spring. During the bloom period, all of the plant’s energy is being directed into creating the bloom.
•Once a rhizome has bloomed, it will not flower again. All of the rhizome’s energy is focused on developing the new rhizomes that will flower in the following spring.
•After the flowering period, the iris rhizome undergoes a period of active growth in which it develops very substantial roots on the rhizome for the following year. New root growth is then followed by a swelling of the rhizome and lush foliage growth.
•This active growth period is immediately followed by a semi-dormancy in mid- to late summer.
•If irises are planted in the spring, the iris may suffer transplant shock, and it is also highly likely that the iris may not bloom that year and may not bloom for at least a year.
•Obviously the best time to plant irises is during the semi-dormant period following the active growth period, 5-6 weeks after flowering is over, usually August-September.
•Planting at the proper time is recommended for good iris growth and flowering in the following year. Rhizomes planted at the right time should produce a minimum of one flowering spike with anywhere from 6 to 15 or more flowers in the first season after planting.
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