A Dummies Guide to Growing Irises


As a newly self-crowned queen of our bountiless garden, I thought it a no-brainer when a client’s wife offered me a huge garbage bag full of beautiful irises.  With my new-found green thumb, I was sure they’d be just the thing to plant in nice corners of our yard.

Problem with that is that all the corners in our yard, and even the normal planting areas near the house, are not what you’d call “nice”.  Every corner and spot I could find had some problem or another with it…..

The one corner in front of the garage needs to have garage board siding replaced…..

The brick columns in front of the house, that do not match the house, need to be replaced…

Corners near fences have hungry goat noses on the other side…

The sides of the entire house need to be painted and/or have shingles replaced…

The yard trees are “iffy”  might stay,  might go…with all these tornadoes, going seems to be a better idea every day…

Pasture corners are out of the question…

The little corner under the mailbox, which is not really a corner, but more of a handy spot, now sports a bran-newly planted clematis…(more on that in a future post)…

The garden is small, and needs to be planted with edibles, not flowers…

…..and the list goes on..

Finally, being the dummy that I am, I gave in and “planted” most of them in the corner in front of the garage, and some of them in front of a chestnut tree, and even had some left over for our neighbors.

Did I say “planted”?  “Planted” would be a lie, but I’m not sure what the term should actually be.  What I did was use my grub hoe to move back some dirt and just laid the iris roots with their 2 foot tall stems and leaves attached, in the dirt.

I’ve been told by several people that this is all I need to do.  Well, they look kind of goofy just laying there like that….like they got gnawed off by an iris-loving beaver that ate the root and left the leaves lying.

And there must have been a waning moon when I dug the holes, because even after filling them with irises, there was not enough dirt left over to fill in the holes and make the irises stand up.  Plus, I couldn’t find my gardening gloves and hate, hate, hate, getting dirt under my fingernails!  (my fingernails are always short, hate fingernails too).

Anyway, I found my gloves this morning so I might give standing the irises up another go.  And even though I have mysteriously lost the dirt that came out of the holes, I have plenty of manure to fill them up.

"planting irises"

Irises in the corner in front of the garage.

"planting flowers"

Irises in front of the Chestnut tree.

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5 thoughts on “A Dummies Guide to Growing Irises

  1. I was also given some irises in a vase by a co-worker who said I could just plant them from there. I didn’t want to appear as stupid as I really am, lol and so I was afraid to ask her exactly how I plant them. What I did was I put the bulb in a glass of water and figure it should take root and then I would plant that right?

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  2. You shouldn’t need to put them in water as long as they are attached to a tuber. if they are just cut flowers, I don’t think they’ll grow. A friend of mine said she’d like to have some of the irises, so on my way to her house I went out to grab up a bundle that I had laid on the ground. They had taken root! I had to dig them up with a shovel. I couldn’t believe it.

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