Bearded Iris - Knowledgebase Question

Long Beach, Ca
Question by pepassport
April 17, 2010
How difficult is it to grow Iris in Southern California? What are the main difficulties? Soil? Light? When to plant? Thank you

Answer from NGA
April 17, 2010


Bearded Iris are the showiest, most fragrant iris group, and the best suited to our climate. In Southern California, they are far more heat/drought tolerant than our native California irises. Look for Beverly Sills, Bountiful Harvest, Breakers, Eggnog, Frequent Flyer, Frequent Violet, Ida Red and Jurassic Park, among others, for repeat blooms.

Bearded iris range from 8? tall Miniature Dwarf Bearded through Standard Dwarf, Intermediate, Miniature Tall, Border Bearded and Tall Bearded. Since most smaller bearded iris varieties need a hard freeze to bloom well, grow tall beardeds. Tall bearded iris prefer average garden conditions, with at least half a day of full sun. They do not like soggy, shady areas with poor air circulation. In Southern California, rhizomes (swollen tuber-like roots) should have one-quarter to one half inch of soil covering them, and should not be smothered by mulch or herbaceous ground covers. Tall bearded irises can survive a drought and low soil fertility, but they will thrive among roses and daylilies. For optimum bloom, reinvigorate your iris clumps by digging and dividing them every 2-4 years. Hope this answers all your questions.

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