FutureStarr

Iris Sun or Shade

Iris Sun or Shade

Iris Sun or Shade

Japanese iris (Iris ensata) is also known as Japanese water iris. Native to eastern Asia and cultivated in Japan for more than 500 years, it prefers full sun to partial shade. The ruffled, flat flowers flutter in the breeze above the clumps of 24-inch-tall sword-shaped leaves. Although these hardy iris prefer moist to wet soils in summer, in winter, the rhizomes will rot if left sitting in water. You can grow Japanese iris in pots and sink them in a pond or water feature for most of the year, then move them to a drier location in winter. Alternately, they will grow in your USDA zone 4 through 9 garden if you keep the soil evenly moist, though the plants may be less vigorous.While most iris will tolerate some shade, especially in hotter climates, the stinking iris (Iris foetidissima) is the most shade tolerant of the iris species. While it also thrives in sun and partial shade, the stinking iris, also known as Gladwin or coral iris, adds color to shaded woodland gardens. The pale lilac flowers rise amid 18- to 24-inch leaves in late spring, followed by seedpods that open in fall to reveal bright orange bead-like seeds. You can leave the dried seed stalks in the garden for visual interest in winter or add them to dried flower arrangements. Despite the common name, stinking iris acquired their name because of the unpleasant aroma of the cut or bruised leaves. While stinking iris grows in USDA zones 6 through 9, the leaves are only evergreen in warmer climates. They will die to the ground in areas with freezing winters.Bearded irises (Iris germanica and hybrids): Bearded irises, also known as German irises, have a fleshy root that's called a rhizome, which grows right at the soil surface. The flower stalks range in height from 8 to 40 inches, depending on the variety, and are hardy in zones 3 to 9. Cultivars are often divided into groups by height, ranging from dwarf bearded to tall bearded. Blooms come in a range of colors, and the plants have stiff, upright leaves. All make good cut flowers. In recent years, fragrant varieties have become available. Some varieties, called "reblooming irises," bloom in early summer, followed by a repeat in late summer or fall. In mild climates, they might repeat more than once. Bearded irises are typically planted in late summer or early fall.

Dutch hybrids (I. hollandica): These irises — also called Dutch irises — are perfect for cutting gardens. Often grown as annuals, Dutch iris hybrids grow from bulbs that can be planted in fall (where hardy, zones 5 to 9) or spring. Orchid-like flowers bloom from late spring to early summer. This group of irises has an especially wide range of colors and patterns. Unlike the foliage on other types of irises, these hybrids have grass-like leaves. Plant in full sun to full shade, 4 inches deep. Tip: Zone 5 gardeners should add a 2-inch layer of mulch in fall.Most iris species (bearded, Siberian, Japanese, etc.) perform best when grown in partial to full sun. However, the crested iris (Iris cristata) prefers partial shade. A native of the eastern United States, crested iris produces 4- to 6-inch-long leaves from woody, spindle-shaped rhizomes. Flowers are pale blue to violet with white or yellow crests on their falls. Plants bloom in mid-spring. It is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8. Because of its small size, crested iris should be grown in the front of perennial beds and borders. It can also be grown as a groundcover in partial shade.Irises grow well in cold, Northern climates. The rhizomes tolerate long periods of freezing during winter dormancy. In Northern gardens, plant irises in an area with full, bright sun throughout the day. Plant the irises between July and September. The roots establish in the soil during fall, and then go dormant during winter. In the spring, the rhizomes produce foliage and flowers. Irises tolerate partial shade in Northern climates, but may produce fewer blooms. Plant the irises in full sun in USDA zones 3 through 8. Siberian irises are hardy in the colder areas of the planting regions. (Source:

 

 

Related Articles