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

October 10, 2016

How to plant an iris in Phoenix, Arizona - step one

I like irises (iri?). They grow great here in the Phoenix, Arizona area, and are easy to plant and care for. If you're pondering it, and it's anytime from October to December, go for it.

I like to buy bulbs mail-order. I've tried bulbs from everywhere from the Dollar Store to Home Depot, and it just seems like the cheap ones aren't worth the trouble. Because you do have to go to some trouble to plant a bulb. Here's what I do:

Iris planting hole, close to the path.

• Find a place that you can reach. Don't plant way out in the garden where you have to trudge through to attend to the plant. Plant it along an edge. That way you can clean spent blooms, tend to any leaves that become unsightly and just generally have the flowers close enough that you can enjoy them. I put out little markers and stand back and evaluate. From a design standpoint, flowers are a "walk up to it". Keep them close enough to the path so that people aren't tempted to walk into the garden.

• Dig a hole about three inches deep. Iris bulbs (actually they're rhizomes) like to be planted shallowly, so don't bury it too deep. But give the roots a place to easily grow into - don't just toss them on the surface and hope for the best. I add some slow-release dry fertilizer and some moisture crystals.

I just ordered two iris bulbs from +Easy to Grow Bulbs, Inc. , which shipped on Friday from California and will probably be here today, or tomorrow. Step one is complete!

3-inch deep planting hole for iris. The iris will stay closer to the top, but the planting hole will allow the roots to form. Filled with slow-released dry fertilizer, and moisture crystals.

Update Tuesday afternoon: When the bulbs arrive, trim off the dried up leaves on the top (if any), place the bulb in the hole with the roots facing down, pour some potting soil over it, pat-pat with your hand and then water in. The leaves will start to show almost right away, the flowers will bloom in the winter.

Update November 2nd. The leaves started to show about a week ago, but just barely, so I took a photo today.

Iris beginning to sprout in Phoenix, Arizona, November 2nd, planted on October 10th.
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