Dutch Iris Planting Guide

Among one of the hardiest, easiest to grow Spring Bulb varieties, the Dutch Iris is a real must have. They are a fantastic cutflower, lasting for a couple of weeks in a vase.

Flowering relatively early in the season (around September) on lovely strong stems.

Dutch Irises are are the products of hybridization carried out by a Dutch plant breeding firm by the name of Tubergen - Two species playing an important role in the development of these hybrids were I. xiphium and I. lusitanica.

Dutch Iris Bulbs require a rich, well-drained soil for best results. The bulbs can be left in the ground if desired, and will come back year after year with a beautiful display.  The flowers are 10cm in diameter, and the flower stalks are very sturdy - a quality which makes them quite suitable for use as cut flowers. The colour assortment is very wide and includes bicolored varieties.

Dutch Irises can be planted from late March through to mid May.


Planting in the ground…

  • Dutch Irises require full Sun to perform at their best. Find a spot in the garden that’s free draining, otherwise your Bulbs will rot over the Winter. If the soil’s not free draining, you can raise your bed slightly to combat this.
  • Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 15cm, mixing in a bit of Bulb Food while you’re at it, and plant with the pointy side up, around 10cm deep.
  • Adding a bit of compost wouldn’t go a miss... make sure you don’t use manure, as this will generally give you more leaves and less flowers.
  • Give your Bulbs a nice deep watering to kick start them.
  • You should start seeing leaves appearing from mid May, with their flowers around September onwards.

Planting in pots...

  • As with most Spring Bulbs, Dutch Irises to great in pots. Make sure your pot is at least 20cm deep, and has good drainage holes.
  • Select a good quality potting mix, and add a little compost in. You can use garden soil too providing it is free draining, but make sure you add in some Bulb food.
  • ¾ fill your pot with soil, and place the Bulbs in (it’s easier to push them in slightly, so that when you fill the pot up with the remainder of the soil, the bulbs don’t fall over) You’re wanting the tips to be facing up, and around 10cm below the surface of the soil.
  • Give your pot a good deep watering, remembering that the soil in pots can often get rather dry, it’s important to water more often than if they were in the ground.
  • Site your pot somewhere where it can receive full sun.

Care and maintenance of your Dutch Iris...

Over the warmer months of Spring, when your Dutch Irises are sending up their blooms, we’d advise a couple of insecticide sprays to keep on top of the pesky aphids - check out our Naturally Neem products which work incredibly well. Aphids are great at spreading diseases, so they are most certainly not welcome around here!

Once your Dutch Iris are flowering, no doubt you’ll be wanting to bring your beautiful blooms inside for all to see. You should cut the stems so that there is at least 10cm left on the plant. Ideally, pick the flowers before the bud has fully opened- the beauty of Dutch Iris Flowers is that they’ll continue to open up once they’re in a vase, making for a lovely lengthy display of colour. You should replace water in the vase every day or 2 to prolong them even further.

After flowering…

As with all Bulbs, it’s vital to let the plants die down on their own - as tempting as it can be to remove the unsightly leaves, it’s important not to. Bulbs are a wee storage system, and need the Nutrients gained from the leaves to do well in subsequent years. Once the foliage is brown and dry it’s fine to remove.

Dutch Irises will perform well for several years if left in the ground, however after the 4th year you may see a decline in flowers. If you do, this will be due to the Bulbs being overcrowded, and we’d recommend lifting them.

Lifting should take place once they’ve completely died down, around January.

Once you’ve lifted your Dutch Iris Bulbs, let them dry for a couple of weeks, and seperate the clumps and offsets -  store them somewhere cool and dry until replanting in April.

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