Iris need at least a half day of sun. In extremely hot climates, some shade is beneficial, but in most climates Iris do best with at least 6 hours a day of full sun. Without sufficient sun, the iris may "go blind" - producing foliage but no blossoms.
Iris will thrive in most well-drained garden soils. Planting on a slope or in raised beds helps ensure good drainage. If your soil is heavy, coarse sand or humus may be added to improve drainage. Gypsum is an excellent soil conditioner that can improve most clay soils. The ideal pH is 6.8 (slightly acidic), but Iris are tolerant in this regard. To adjust the pH of your soil, lime may be added to acidic soils or sulfur to alkaline soils. It is always best to have your soil analyzed before taking corrective measures.
When, Where and How to Plant Bearded Iris Rhizomes:
For best results, Iris should be planted in July, August or September. It's imperative that the roots of newly planted Iris be well-established before the growing season ends. In areas with hot summers and mild winters, September or October planting may be preferred. We strongly suggest Iris be planted at least six weeks before the first hard frost in your area.
Iris should be planted so the tops of the rhizomes are exposed and the roots are spread out facing downward in the soil. In very light soils or in extremely hot climates, covering the rhizome with 1 inch of soil may be desirable. Firm the soil around each rhizome and then water to help settle the soil. A common mistake is to plant Bearded Iris too deeply.
Iris are generally planted 12 to 24 inches apart. Close planting gives an immediate effect, but closely planted Iris will need to be thinned often. Plants spaced further apart will need less frequent thinning.
Watch our video on how to plant bearded iris: