Dutch iris, also known as Iris hollandica, have orchid-like flowers with silky petals. Flower colors range from pale blue and lemon through deep purple, bronze, rose and gold. Dutch iris are popular with floral designers because they are dramatic, long-lasting and easy to arrange in a vase.
Unlike other types of iris that grow from thickened roots called rhizomes, Dutch iris grow from teardrop-shaped bulbs that are planted in fall.
When you compare two Dutch iris bulbs side by side, it’s easy to see differences in quality. Bigger bulbs (like the one on the left) contain more stored food energy, which means they will produce a stronger plant with more impressive flowers. Longfield Gardens supplies top size, 7/8 cm Dutch iris bulbs so you can enjoy the biggest, brightest blooms.
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SUN/SHADE: Dutch iris perform best when they are planted in full sun, but they will also grow in part shade.
SOIL CONDITIONS: Dutch iris require well-drained soil. If you want to encourage the bulbs to perennialize, choose a planting location where the soil will be hot and dry during the summer months.
Perennial Gardens: Dutch iris stand 18 to 24” tall, so they are a perfect height for the middle of a perennial border. If the soil in your perennial garden stays moist during the summer months, either plan to treat your Dutch iris as annuals or move them to a dryer spot.
Containers: Dutch iris look great in containers – on their own or mixed with other plants to create a living bouquet. Sturdy stems keep the flowers standing tall and make it easy to admire the delicate beauty of the blossoms.
Cutting Gardens: Dutch iris are one of the world’s most popular florist flowers. Their dramatic blossoms and long, straight stems are easy to arrange and last a long time in bouquets. They also combine beautifully with other spring flowers and flowering shrubs.
When to Plant: Dutch iris are planted in the fall, at the same time as tulips and daffodils. For best results, plant the bulbs within a month after receiving them.
Depth and Spacing: Dig a 6” deep hole and incorporate peat moss or compost to help improve drainage. Plant the bulbs with the pointy end up, approximately 5” deep and 4” apart.
Planting Tips: Like most bulbs, Dutch iris look best when they are planted in large groups. For an impressive show, plant about a dozen bulbs per square foot.
In warm climates, the bulbs may begin to produce foliage in late fall and early winter. Flowers will follow in spring. In colder areas you will not see any foliage until spring.
Feel free to cut the flowers for bouquets. This will not harm the bulbs.
When growing conditions are ideal, Dutch iris will come back to bloom a second year. In practice, most gardeners treat these bulbs as annuals and plant fresh bulbs each fall.
To get a second season of blooms, remove the spent iris flowers, leaving behind as much of the stem and foliage as possible. Allow the remaining foliage to continue growing until it withers and yellows. During the summer months, while the bulbs are dormant, the soil should be kept quite dry.
In areas with wet summers, you can dig up your Dutch iris bulbs after the leaves have yellowed. Store the dry bulbs in a dark, cool place and replant them the next fall.