How To Plant Rock Garden Iris

rock-garden-iris
Image by Lee Haywood

By Heather Rhoades

Rock garden iris are adorable and delicate. Adding these to your rock garden can add charm and delight. Learn more about planting rock garden irises and their care in this article.

How to Plant Rock Garden Iris

For planting rock garden irises, follow these guidelines:

  1. Plant the bulbs in groups of ten or more, and about an inch or so apart. If you plant them singularly, they are easily overlooked.
  2. Be sure to set the bulbs relatively deep, with 3 or 4 inches of soil over the top of them. If your soil is free-draining and water doesn’t puddle and moves freely through the soil, more soil is okay.

One problem with the little rock garden iris is that during the first year of planting, it flowers just fine. After that, for some reason it just sends up leaves. Each original bulb splits into tiny rice-grained-sized bulbs. These tiny bulbs don’t have the food reserves to help support the production of flowers.

Deeper planting helps, and so does extra nourishment. You can apply liquid fertilizer in very early spring while the leaves are actively growing. Or, you can work around this issue by just planting new bulbs each spring. These bulbs are inexpensive enough that this solution isn’t that bad.

Forcing Rock Garden Iris

Rock garden irises are a very easy to force. Just plant some of them in the fall at the same time as you plant other bulbs outside. Just follow these steps:

  1. Buy a bulb pan or an azalea pot. Bulb pans are half as high as they are wide, and azalea pots are two-thirds as high as they are wide. They both have the most pleasing proportions for these little irises because a standard pot looks kind of massive.
  2. Whatever pot you choose, make sure that the pot has a drainage hole; you will want to cover the hole with a piece of window screening or pot shard to keep soil from falling out.
  3. Fill the pot with rock garden iris bulbs almost touching in the right soil. Cover the bulbs with about an inch of soil.
  4. Water moderately right after planting to ensure they get enough moisture.
  5. Provide about 15 weeks of a chilling period to help the bulbs form roots; then bring the pot into warmth and light for to help them flower.

This article was last updated on

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