Care Sheet – Growing Bearded Irises


Iris need at least half a day of sun and must have good drainage.  Plant in clumps for stunning effect.   They will thrive in most well drained garden soils.  Fertilize in August/September with 3 parts Superphosphate, 1 part Blood Meal and 1 part Sulphate of Potash, or you can use Rose Fertiliser.  Lime can be applied autumn and spring if needed.  Avoid using fertilizer high in nitrogen.



Iris should be planted approximately 30-35cm apart with the tops of the rhizomes exposed and the roots firmly tucked in the soil.  A common mistake is to plant iris too deeply.  Water for the first two weeks after planting.  Once new roots have established, bearded iris can stand considerable dry spells.  Keep rhizomes clear of mulch and other debris.



Remove bloom stems and old browning leaves once they have finished flowering.  To keep healthy, apply Lime Sulphur spray during the Winter and use Rose spray during Summer against leaf spot and aphid.  Thin the clumps every 3 – 4 years.  Replant into new or rejuvenated soil approximately 30-35cm apart.  Discard the old growth and replant just the outside rhizomes.


We only supply Tall Bearded iris at this stage but may have others available in the future.  For your information please see the table below showing the different types and their height.




80cm & up


Flower October/November

Tall upstanding stems with fabulous elegant flowers, blooming after the spring bulbs and before the summer perennials.




38cm – 71cm


These flower with the Tall Bearded irises, and being shorter, look good in front of TB’s and are suitable for exposed gardens.




28cm – 80cm


Flower in October

Being a bit shorter than the Tall Bearded irises, they are more tolerant of wind and have multiple stems.




20cm – 38cm


Flower September/October

These flower best when they get a winter chill and flower early with Spring bulbs.



To learn more about irises check out the NZ Iris Website.