This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

March 18, 2014

Growing iris in Phoenix, Arizona.

It's March 18th and the iris here at The Tropical Paradise are doing great. I planted a lot of bulbs (actually they're called rhizomes) in the fall and after the rains of February, they really started to grow. They started blooming here in mid-March and it looks like they will continue to do so until it gets really hot, in May.

How to plant

Plant iris shallowly. I dig out a planting area, fill with potting soil, include some slow-release dry plant food and some polymer moisture crystals, and just sort of place the bulbs on the top of the planting soil, just enough so that the bulb doesn't show. I let the leaves stick up so I can where I planted them, but that's about it.

When to plant

If you want flowers by spring, you really need to get the bulbs in the ground by early fall. However, you can subdivide plants any time you want. I just did a subdivision yesterday, by just cutting through the edge of a clump, trimming the leaves down, and replanting. I don't expect blooms from that cutting this year, but the leaves will appear and grow quickly, and I like that look.

What to do with spent flowers

Iris flowers only last about a day, then they get a wrinkled up and look terrible. If you don't cut them off they turn brown and look even worse. Be sure that you have easy access to the plants (mine are along the edge of the garden) so that you can snip the spent blooms off right away. Don't be surprised if a bloom looks great in the morning, and you are cutting it off in the afternoon.

Iris love water, so be generous. Also give them a feeding of water-soluble plant food (like Miracle Gro dissolved in a watering can) daily during their peak flowering time, which is right now. Iris can do fine *running lean* on low food and water, but if you give it what it needs, generously, it will really perform for you.
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