The iris is a hardy perennial bulb that will survive even up to zone 9! It is an old, old plant with roots back to ancient Greece. Legend has it that Iris, the Goddess of the Rainbow, would carry messages between earth and heaven. Purple irises were planted on graves to summon the Goddess to guide the dead. Even now, the iris represents communication and messages.
In the language of flowers, the iris has several different meanings:
- Purple iris: wisdom and compliments
- Blue iris: faith and hope
- Yellow iris: passion
- White iris: purity
Irises come in many colors, but the distinctive shape of the fleur-de-lis remains constant. My favorite irises are the black irises we have planted in our garden although I have several varieties and colors throughout our yard. I like the black iris for its drama, and it coordinates nicely with our black front door and black shutters.
How to grow iris:
- Pick a sunny spot or partially sunny spot in the garden. Irises need the sun to bloom.
- Plant iris in mid to late summer
- Dig a hole 4 inches deep, making ridges down the sides of the hole.
- Mix in fertilizer.
- Place the rhizome on the top ridge and let the roots go down on all sides.
- Cover and water.
- Make sure and keep the rhizomes exposed! They need sun and air.
- When the clumps become congested or are not performing as well, divide the rhizomes and replant. You’ll want to do this right after the Iris finishes blooming.
There are many benefits to adding the iris to your garden:
- excellent cut flowers
- deer resistant
- drought tolerant
- attracts butterflies and hummingbirds