Monday, March 15, 2010

Growing Spuria Iris Worth The Challenge

photos courtesy of Iris City Gardens

Jimmy Turner, Dallas Arboretum horticultural guru, gave me this idea. Growing spuria iris in the Southern Appalachian region can be quite challenging. Hardy to USDA zone 5, spurias are dormant (asleep) during our usually hot, dry summers. A wet summer is a real “downer” for spurias.
Spuria irises bloom two weeks after the popular tall beard iris. They grow and flower best under full sun. Spurias are not choosy about soil type and pH. Bloom stalks can reach 4+ feet in height in a good garden soil.
Foliage dries up in the heat of summer, very natural for spuria iris. Gardeners should not attempt to revive them with irrigation. Autumn showers revive plants. Once growth re-starts, plants hate to dry out.
Spurias need one year to become established. Space plants at least 3 feet apart. Divide them every 5 years. Natural rainfall in our region is usually plentiful. The easiest way to kill spurias is to mulch and overwater them.
You may purchase spurias from several mail order nurseries or local nurseries which specialize in iris. Personal shopping emporiums include Iris City Gardens in Nashville, TN and Heritage Gardens in Greeneville, TN.

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