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ALL ABOUT IRIS RETICULATA

This miniature iris is one of the earliest flowers of spring. It blooms around the same time as snowdrops, chionodoxa and snow crocuses. Also known as reticulated iris, the flowers stand just 4 to 6” tall and produce slightly taller, grassy foliage.

The flowers of iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ are 3” wide and brilliant, cobalt blue with yellow markings on the falls. Though the blossoms are relatively small, their vibrant blue color demands a closer look.

Planning

Iris reticulata grows wild in the cold and dry mountains of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Russia. The bulbs need a consistent supply of moisture during the spring, but should stay quite dry during summer and autumn. They will rot in heavy or wet soil.

Rock gardens and gravel gardens are ideal locations for these bulbs. Also consider fast-draining areas beside a front walk or stone patio. The bulbs may also be grown in an elevated alpine trough or be planted in pots for indoor blooms.

Planting

The bulbs of iris reticulata are shaped like teardrops. They should be planted 4" deep and 3" apart, with the pointed end up. The plant was named for the netting-like tunic that covers the outside of the bulb.

Plant the bulbs in well drained soil. They will flower best in full sun, but can also be grown in partial shade. Iris reticulata are both deer resistant and drought tolerant.

Though iris reticulata bulbs may multiply over time, it takes several years for the bulblets to mature and begin flowering. The best way to guarantee a good display of flowers each spring is to plant fresh bulbs each fall. Bulbs are available HERE for shipping from September through November.

Aftercare

If iris reticulata are happy where they are growing, the bulbs will multiply. Over time it's possible for them to become overcrowded. If this happens, the quality of the flowers may start to suffer. To divide the bulbs, dig them up in late summer and split them apart. Put about half the number back in the same area and find other places to plant the rest.