The Iris is a flowering plant whose name has been derived from Latin. In Latin, it means rainbow and it refers to a wide variety of colored flowers. There are many varieties of the Iris, to be found in the various regions of the North Temperate Zone. Their habitat is very wide and it can range from grassy slopes to meadows, stream banks to deserts of Europe, The Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and North America.
Iris is a Perennial Herb
Meaning that they live for many years if they are taken care of. They flower in many seasons. In warm climates, perennials can grow throughout the year. But when the climate becomes cold, they grow only during the growing season.
In dry climates, Irises grow from bulbs but in other climates, they grow from rhizomes. Iris usually has a long erect stem that bears a large number of flowers. The stems may be simple or branched. They can be hollow or solid. These stems have clumps of sword-shaped leaves growing on them.
The Iris flower is fan-shaped and slightly fragrant. Iris flowers usually have 6 petals, three inner petals are called “standards” and the three outer petals are called “falls”. The iris flower is highly specialized. The three standards correspond to the petals of a normal flower. They rise above the blossom.
Their main aim is to increase the pollinator-attracting power of the plant. Another interesting feature of the Iris flower is that many of the varieties of this flower show the upper surface of the falls having a beard. This fuzz gives pollinators something to hold on to when they enter the blossom in search of nectar.
A number of members of the Iris family are well adapted to the dry kind of climates in California where the days are warm and nights are cool. If planted deep and given enough shade, they grow very well in Florida. The ‘Blue-Fresias’ grow on short stems, have the typical sword-like leaves. These leaves are hairy and plaited. These plants are mostly hybrids and have many colors ranging from violet to red-violet, and are taller and larger than many other species.
Freesias delicately blossom Iris flowers. They are deliciously scented too. Originally appearing only in white and yellow, modern hybrids come in a variety of shades like rosy-pink, salmon, lilac, and blue-violet. If the temperature in your area does not go below 26 degrees, these plants will grow well. The Sparaxis are other Iris species that are closely related to the Freesias but produce much more vivid blossoms.
Many species of the Iris flowers are so vivid and flamboyant in their colors and petaled glory. They have been used for many years as symbolic flowers in the familiar bouquet. The Iris flower seeks to tell someone that he or she is very special. These flowers do not speak of passionate love.
Iris flowers seek to convey that a person is considered very precious. ‘You mean so much to me’ is a message that is a little removed and a little above passion alone. Faith, hope, wisdom, and valor are some other messages that iris flowers seek to convey.
The Iris bouquets traditionally convey that the person who receives it is well admired. Iris flowers speak of gentler yet more profound messages that last a lifetime. Iris flowers are also used to convey compliments, appreciation, and admiration. In their vivid colors, the Iris is as much pleasing to the eye as it is to the heart.
How To Identify Different Kinds of Irises
Mainly, there are four common types of irises you can find in the garden. They are:
- Bearded irises
- Louisiana irises
- Siberian irises
- Japanese irises
The main characteristic of bearded irises is that they have rhizome roots and risen foliages.
There are many different bearded irises you can find which include, tall bearded, border bearded, ariel bearded, and many more.
Bearded irises don’t like water but they like full sun and the rhizome like sunbathing. They grow on the top of the ground.
Since bearded irises don’t like water, so when you plant the flowers, you should put a shovel full of dirt on top of it. That would help the plant to grow well.
As people are ongoing hybridizing and creating new cultivars, it can be very difficult to stay up to date and get familiar with the newest irises.
They have rhizomes that are quite similar to bearded irises. But the foliage of Louisiana irises is a little bit narrow than the bearded irises.
In contrast to bearded irises, Louisiana irises love water. They can grow very well in wet areas. So if you have any kind of wet spot or in the drainage area, it would be the ideal place for Louisiana irises to grow.
The Siberian irises foliages are very narrow and skinny. They don’t have rhizomes but they have roots. The plant will grow new roots every 3-4 years.
Therefore, every 2-4 years you will need to dig the plant out, separate them, and replant it for 3-4 inches deep. By doing so, you can have a vigorous Siberian iris always.
They have a large bud, their foliage is narrow as well but not as skinny as Siberian irises.
Japanese irises don’t have rhizomes but they do have roots. They like moist soil but not wet soil like Louisiana irises.
Japanese irises are heavy feeders and they like some acidic soil. Therefore, if you intend to grow these types of plants, you may give them azalea plant food twice a year. Once before they bloom again around July.
Japanese irises have beautiful bloom and their stem is very sturdy. So even though the bloom is big they don’t fall in wind or storm. They also keep making new roots over the top so every three or four years.
Just like Siberian iris, it is good for you to dig it up, divide it and replant it after three or four years after they are making new roots. In this way, you will always have healthy Japanese irises with you.
Growing Irises Is Rather Easy
Some irises are kind of flat, they tend to be very smooth in the petals and have some kind of droopiness
Irises are very easy to grow. I ever experienced by throwing some of the irises onto the side of the hill where we lived, and a year later when we pass by the hill, to my surprise they’re thriving all over the hill.
For planting irises in your yard, you can dig up some of the mulch and put the plant in there. Then cover it up with a little bit of mulch.
You don’t have to water them. Just let them stay in the yard and a few months later, you can see they are growing nicely in your yard.
If you want to grow irises with the rhizome, you can dig out a little bit of dirt just enough for you to get the root system in. It is ideal for you to do so in a warmer climate and avoid deep snow in the winter. Then cover up the top of it with a little bit of soil so that it can be insulated for the cold winters.
Iris Meaning and Symbolism
The iris represents the messenger of love. Although the iris has thick roots and broad leaves like a knife, it has very strong vitality. But because it is one of the raw materials for making perfumes, it is quite respected and widely used. So its flower language is graceful.
People born with the blessing of this kind of flower have a soft and charming temperament and are good at socializing. They are not some kind of dude who didn’t care about their life. People with the characteristic of iris are having good plans for their future.