Bearded Irises offer texture in your garden year round as their green sword-shaped leaves stand erect and persist with little die-back over the New England winter. This New England and Atlantic Canada favorite rewards us with early blooms and works well among other late blooming perennials, such as cone flowers.
Irises are monocots — one of the two major groups of flowering plants characterized by leaves with parallel venation, and flower parts in multiples of three. Their flowers are bisexual, meaning that they contain both male and female parts. Two flower parts in disguise are their sepals and stigmas that both look like petals.
- bisexual (both male and female parts on the same flower)
- flower parts in multiples of 3 (typical of monocots)
o 3 sepals: color resembles petals
o 3 petals
o 3 stamens found underneath petal-like stigmas
- ovary is inferior to the sepals and petals and contains 3 fused carpels (3 chambers usually with dividing walls) attached to 3 stigmas that look like petals
- purple, yellow, maroon, white, purple-white bicolor
- pull apart rhizomes in late summer
- plant rhizomes just beneath the surface
- well-drained soil
- cedar mulch prevents weeds and helps with overwintering in colder zones
- divide irises every few years to ensure blooming