Potted Iris Flowers
(Image credit: giulianax)

Irises are a beautiful addition to flower beds and landscapes. Blooming in spring, perennial irises can range greatly in color and in fragrance. These unique characteristics make them popular with novice growers and plant collectors, alike. Though large iris plantings look stunning while in full bloom, if you’re a gardener without ample garden space you may be pleased to know that irises are also quite adaptable to container culture. 

Growing Iris in a Container

Though not traditionally considered to be a container plant, irises can grow well in a pot, provided it is large enough. Bigger pots are ideal, as many irises quickly establish robust root systems. Growing iris in a container will require special attention to the needs of the plant, specifically sunlight and watering. 

Irises should be situated in a location that receives full sun. Container iris plants also require a well-draining potting mix, as the plants can easily become waterlogged. This will help to reduce the likelihood of other common issues, such as root rot. 

How to Plant Potted Irises

Planting tall iris in a container is possible, however, making sure to properly secure or stake the plant. Most gardeners prefer to use dwarf iris in planters because they reach a much more manageable size. Regardless of type, special attention will need to be given during planting. Iris rhizomes grow best when they are situated at soil level, partially exposed. General spacing requirements may vary depending upon rhizome size, but most experts suggest around 6 inches (15 cm.) between each. After planting, water the containers well and continue frequent irrigation during the plant’s active growth until blooming ceases.

Be Sure to Deadhead

As iris blooms fade, deadhead the flowers by removing the stem down to the base of the plant. At this time, make certain to leave all of the other foliage intact. This will help to ensure the health and continued development of the rhizomes, in preparation for next season’s growth. 

Winter care for iris in containers varies depending upon your growing zone. However, most sources suggest the use of heavy mulching to protect potted specimens. 

With proper care, container iris plants are sure to return season after season. Since rhizomes will multiply each summer, plants may require division and repotting after several years.

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has trasformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/@tonyawiththeflowers.