Answer: Unfortunately, German bearded iris require good air circulation and sunshine on their rhizomes. The reason for this is to reduce the chance of fungal and bacterial problems developing. This makes it difficult to plant other flowers close to them and I think this may explain why so many gardeners have a separate iris bed.
In my own garden where I grow iris in a mixed border, I am careful to keep planty of space free between them and their neighbors. For all season bloom in the full sun, well drained conditions that iris prefer, you might consider annuals such as marigolds, cleome, and cosmos. These warm season annuals will usually begin blooming within a few weeks after the iris have finished. Zinnias would also look great but if you try them, look for a mildew-resistant variety. If you try palnting the annuals in together with the iris, you might want to plant the annuals on the outer edges of the iris bed where they can be watered as needed and where you will have room to deadhead them without affecting the iris. This will also allow you room to keep the iris weeded all season, as well as space for you to get in and easily groom away any damaged iris foliage if it should develop during the summer. Iris are also usually trimmed back in mid summer to both tidy them up as well as encourage vigorous new foliage growth from late summer into the fall. Enjoy your flowers!
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