Plants - Perennials

Irresistible irises: Secrets to eight weeks of blooms

Yvonne Cunnington
Photography by
Tracy Cox

With a bit of planning, you can enjoy a colourful array of bearded irises throughout spring and early summer

Bearded iris glossary
1 Beard: The fuzzy, caterpillar-like hairs on the fall (see below); may be thick or thin, same colour as petals or contrasting

2 Fall:
Lower three petals 
of the flower 
leaf fan leaves grow together to resemble a fan—each has one rhizome at its base

3 Increase:
(known in some regions as toes) new plants that begin as white, waxy-looking, pointed buds on sides of rhizome; increases are clones of parent plant; divide to make more plants

4 Rhizome: light brown, potato-like, fleshy, thick stem; grows horizontally at or just below soil surface; sprouts downward-growing true, string-like roots that feed and nourish the plant

5 Standards: upright top three petals of the flower

Plicata: stitched margins of colour on rim of petals

Stitches: lines of colour on another colour

Photo: ‘dusky challenger’

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