Bearded Iris come in many colors and varieties and they are great additions to any garden because they are very easy for a beginner gardener to grow. They can be used to separate different sections of yards or for planting along pathways. They are also great for making an edging around individual flower beds. Bearded Iris can be either planted from seeds or from roots.
Preparing the soil
Iris will grow well in any type soil condition, but prefer well-drained, composted soil. To plant in rows, dig a trench about one foot deep and as long as desired. Then, loosen all of the soil and add compost and manure to the soil, mixing it in thoroughly. Vermiculite and peat moss can also be added to help retain moisture.
A good time to plant the seeds is after all signs of frost have past, in spring. Place them about one inch apart and push them into the soil 3/4 of an inch deep. The rhizomes can be planted in late fall or in the spring. Place them in the ground with the crown of the rhizomes 15 to 16 inches apart and 3/4 of an inch below the surface of the soil. Moisten the soil and keep it continually moist until the plants are showing signs of growth. If the soil dries out, the seeds that have started to sprout will dry up and die. Do not use mulch because too much moisture can cause the rhizomes to rot. Planting Iris in pots or planters is an easy way to grow them. Pots and planters can give an early start to the Iris if they are started indoors. This will allow them to be moved around the yard to locations where color is preferred.
Separating the rhizomes
The Iris rhizomes need to be separated every three years to allow for better growth. These plants are very productive and multiply rapidly. Fall is the best time to dig up and divide the rhizomes. Cut all the leaves and any dead flowers off the rhizomes. Then, using a shovel or fork, dig under the whole cluster of rhizomes and lift them out. After that, check for dead or dried rhizomes and throw them away. Separate the rhizomes and break or cut into sections, allowing three to four buds per section. The next thing is to prepare the soil as stated above and replant the rhizomes.
Because Iris are an easy to grow plant, it would be a good project for children to plant. The seeds are an interesting project for children as well because they usually grow a different variety or color from the parent plant.