There are two main species of Iris that will grow from bulbs. Bulbs are generally cheap and easy to grow. The bulbs are often packed in 10’s or 50’s so you can grow a group of Iris together or grow extra for cutting.
The main sorts are Iris reticulata and Dutch Iris but there are also some other bulb species to look out for.
- The Iris bulbs growing in the photo above are a series of low growing, early spring flowering plants named after people like George, Natasha, Joyce, Gordon and Pauline.
- Iris reticulata are early flowering Iris that usually appearing from late winter to early spring. The blooms vary from pale blue to deep violet with central yellow splashes down the middle of each petal.
- These Iris are useful for growing from bulbs in pots or in rockeries.
- Plants are low growing at around 6 inches tall.
- Dutch Iris flower a bit later, than reticulata bulbs, in early June.
- Dutch Iris are winter hardy and can also be grown in a cool greenhouse for cutting
- The flowers are on strong stems 20-32 inches tall.
- Oriental beauty is one of my favourite varieties shown below
- Cream Beauty, Royal Yellow and White Excelsior are varieties that avoid the natural Iris colours of purple and blue.
- Plant Dutch Iris bulbs every 3-6 inches or dig a wider hole and put 3 bulbs in together. Cover with 3″ of soil.
Tips for Growing Iris from Bulbs
- The preferred method is to plant the bulbs in October 5-10cm (2-4in) apart at twice their own depth in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in sun or partial shade.
- Most types of soil will suffice for one year for these bulbs. The flowers are already inside the bulb waiting to escape so they are almost foolproof in the first year.
- Divide congested groups July to September after the narrow leaves have died down.
- Try growing some bulbs indoors for early flowering by forcing. This is what florists do with Dutch Iris varieties.
- Iris will grow well in pots or containers but if you want them to flower successfully next year they need a deep 8 inche root run to build up strength .
- The dark blue goes well with snowdrops and they flower at about the same time.
- Iris look good in rockeries and the top of walls.
Growing Other Iris Variety from Bulbs
- Mixed bulb packs can give you a good show but look for Iris reticulata J S Dyt reddish purple or Natasha white with green veins and a yellow blotch.
- Iris danflordiae flowers bright yellow 4″ tall.
- Iris Histroides ‘George’ flowers are a plum purple and Katherine Hodgkin light blue with yellow crests and dark spots both 6″ tall.
- Iris bucharia grow about a foot tall in yellow and white.
- Iris lactifolia are ofter called the English Iris naturalise quite well