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Proper care for Irises

I love Iris's, but they don't produce like they should. I may get one or two to bloom nicely, but the rest look terrible. I understand they don't like a lot of moisture, so we don't mulch them. Should we start from scratch, dig them all up and put fresh top soil before replanting them? The rhizomes come up and almost sit on top of the soil. Thanks for any help. Nona
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Some irises, such as Japanese iris, like water. Others, such as Siberian iris, prefer quick-draining sites. I take it you have the latter. A few things that will help flowering: make sure the site gets 6 hours or more of sunlight a day. If the soil is clay, amend with organic matter to improve drainage. You're doing the right thing by making sure the tops of the rhizomes (root structures) are above the soil line. Another thing you can do to encourage blooming is thin your stands out every 3 or 4 years, dividing the rhizomes and spreading them out to give plants more room. Iris don't need much fertilizer. If you do give them anything, use a side dressing of bone meal in early summer.

Luke Miller, editor
Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living magazine

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Siberian Iris 'Caesar's Brother' is awesome. I live in zone 5. It blooms in early June and has gorgeous purple flowers. I find that this iris, unlike its high maintenance, fussy, disease-ridden cousins the Germanic irises, is easy to grow and disease free. The foliage on Caesar's Brother also looks great after flowering. Most plants with bulbs (rhizomes, corms, bulbs) look dreadful after flowering. All energy has gone to blooms and leaves suffer. Doesn't happen with Caesar's Brother! Look 4 it!
Submitted by LucyMcGigs