How To Grow Iris: Tips For Dutch, English, And Spanish Iris Bulb Planting

Bright Purple Iris Plant
dutch iris
(Image credit: p2cl)

When learning how to grow iris plants like Dutch, English, and Spanish irises successfully in the garden, correct iris bulb planting is important.

When and How to Grow Iris

You should plan on planting iris bulbs like these early in the fall. These small bulbs have a rough tunic on the outside. The bottom is the part that has the flattened basal plate, so obviously the top is the opposite end.

Group Planting Iris Bulbs

In groups of five to ten bulbs in a nice flower border, plant Dutch, English, and Spanish irises. Each group of bulbs should be planted next to perennials such as peonies. This arrangement helps hide their foliage when it withers away.

Iris Bulb Planting

Follow these steps for growing Dutch, English, and Spanish irises in the garden:

  • Choose a site that has reasonably fertile soil and plenty of moisture. In other words, you want soil that won't dry out in summer. Dutch and Spanish irises have a habit of producing leaves in autumn and winter, so they need a sheltered environment. Good drainage will help them survive the winter.
  • You should buy the bulbs early and plant them as soon as you can in deep soil, with about 5 to 7 inches (13-18 cm.) of soil over the top of the bulbs. Dutch irises are an exception to the early-planting advice.
  • Dutch and Spanish irises are best lifted and stored out of the ground over the summer. This means you need to dig them up and store them in a cool, dry place. Lifting them provides the dry resting and ripening period they need for a great flowering season the following year. Don't sun-dry them; storing them in a well-ventilated place is perfectly fine.
  • Then, simply replant them in late fall.

Now that you know the basics for how to grow Dutch, English, and Spanish irises, you can get started on your iris bulb planting for enjoyment each season.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.