The Bearded Iris
Irresistible Bearded Iris also known as Flag.
The Chinese fell in love with this flower thousands of years ago, and today's gardeners still love to see their striking blooms today. The name, Iris, comes from the Greek goddess of rainbows. They probably have the widest color range of any plant group, lacking only pure red.
Growing from rhizomes, bearded Iris reach a variety of heights and bloom in every season, too. The plant ranges in height from 8-inch dwarf varieties to the soaring 40-inch-tall. Plants have sword-shaped, usually broad leaves and simple or branched flower stems; bears multiple flowers, each with a prominent "beard" of white or colored hairs in the center of each fall (lower petal).
They are low-maintenance and need only minimal care to thrive. The tolerate drought very well and after they are done blooming the green leaves still make a nice show in the garden.
Care tips for irises -
Pests and Diseases
Although most varieties are deer resistant, irises can attract a number of pests, including aphids, iris borers, iris weevils, slugs and snails, thrips, verbena bud moths, and whiteflies. The most significant of these pests, however, are iris borers, which chew on leaves and bore into the plant stems, leaving the plant wide open for soft rot, a foul-smelling bacterial infection that kills more plants than borers themselves actually do. The best way to avoid an infestation of borers is to keep the area around your irises clear of debris. If you notice any signs of infestation, dig up your plants and cut off and dispose of any infected parts, check the soil for additional borers, and enlist the help of beneficial nematodes, which will destroy these pests.
While easy to grow, bearded irises or flags, do have some needs:
Other types of Irises -
Beardless-rhizomes are planted just below ground level.
Siberian-Blue, purple, white, yellow, pink, or deep red flowers with large falls and smaller standards.
Laevigatae (a.k.a. water irises)-Simple stems bear blue, pink, red, purple, white, or yellow flowers.
Louisiana-Often have zigzag stems that bear flowers in a large range of colors; prefers damp conditions.
Unguiculares-Evergreen, almost stemless plants bear blue, violet, lavender-pink, or white flowers from autumn to spring; develops from a mass of rhizomes aboveground.
Crested (a.k.a. Evansia irises)-Relatively flat flowers in shades of blue, violet, or white that have a crest or ridge on each fall instead of a beard.
Beardless flowers with deciduous leaves; appear from late winter to midsummer.
Dutch - Slender, graceful flowers in a variety of blues and yellows, with broad, sword-shaped foliage.
Dwarf - Flowers are yellow, blue, white, or reddish violet; bulbs are covered with netted tunics.
Juno (rare)- Plants have flat or channeled leaves and grow from fleshy-rooted bulbs.