Friday, May 27, 2011

A Favorite Flower of Mine is the Iris

Iris is a genus of 260 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is also very widely used as a common name for all Iris species, though some plants called thus belong to other closely related genera. A common name for some species is 'flags', while the plants of the subgenus Scorpiris are widely known as 'junos', particularly in horticulture. It is a popular garden flower. Bearded Iris are tall, elegant additions to the flower garden. You can help cut down on the incidence of soft rot and borer damage through regular division of the iris rhizomes every 2-3 years. This will also keep bearded iris performing and blooming at its best. If left undivided, the flowering will decrease and the rhizome will be subject to more pests and damage.

You can divide bearded iris anytime after flowering through August. Using a pitch fork, carefully dig around the bearded iris plant, starting about a foot away from the outer most edge. Try not to pierce the rhizome with the fork. Work the fork around the bearded iris plant and gently lift the rhizomes out of the soil. Since bearded iris are grown at soil level, this is one of the easiest plants to lift

Bearded iris, Iris germanica, is a hardy, long-lived perennial that require a minimum of maintenance. The flowers have six petals; three upright petals (called standards) and three hanging petals (called falls). A fuzzy line or beard runs down the middle of each fall. Flowers come in many colors including blue, pink, purple, reddish, white, yellow, and bi-colors. Most bearded iris flower in the spring (April to June depending on cultivar), but some of the new cultivars re-flower in the summer and fall. The second flower display is not as showy as the spring display but last into the fall. Many re-blooming iris are fragrant.

Bearded irises are classified into several types: miniature dwarf (height 8 inch or less, 1 to 2 inch diameter flowers), standard dwarf (height 8 to 15 inches), intermediate (height 16 to 27 inches), miniature tall (height 16 to 25 inches, small flowers), border (height 16 to 27 inches), and tall (height 28 to 38 inches). The shorter iris flower first, followed by the intermediate, and then the taller irise

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