irises - Knowledgebase Question

Jensen Beach, Fl
Question by nanco1952
July 4, 2010
what are the best for south florida? i do not ever seem to have luck with the bulbs coming up


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Answer from NGA
July 4, 2010

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Irises most often used as garden plants in Florida fall into two groups: Bearded Irises and Beardless Irises. Although the Tall Bearded is the most widely grown of the irises there are others just as easy to grow.

Bearded Iris are identified by thick, bushy "beards" on each of the falls (lower petals) of the blossoms. Originally, most of these were native to central and southern Europe. This huge, hybrid complex of Pogon (bearded) irises encompasses innumerable selections in various colors and range in height from 8 to 28" tall. These irises can be grown from rhizomes in Zones 3 to 10 in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Water deeply during drought. Most bloom in late spring. Propagate by division of rhizomes.

Beardless Irises are mostly native to Asia. The following types are commonly grown in Florida gardens:

1. Siberians, the blooms of which are mostly blue, violet and white with large falls and smaller standards. They are most attractive in established clumps and grow to a height of 2 to 4'. Grow in Zones 4 to 10 in neutral to slightly acid, moisture-retentive, rich soil. Propagate by division of rhizomes.

2. Japanese, which require a slightly acid soil and present some of the most spectacular flowers of all the irises. Blooms are usually huge, ruffled and flat in form; some are marbled with gray or white. Plants reach a height of 2 - 3'. Grow in Zones 5 to 10 in soil in shallow standing water or very moisture-retentive, rich soil. Propagate by division of rhizomes.

3. Louisianas, which are native to the American Gulf Coast, require fertile soil that is somewhat acid and wet in the spring. These plants do best in Zones 4 to 9 in full to partial sun. The blooms are usually very wide petaled and open, showing brightly colored style-arms and sharp signal-crests. Numerous flower colors are available and plants range in height from 2 - 4'. Propagate by division of rhizomes.

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