How to plant water iris

Written by lisa dorward Google
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How to plant water iris
White flag and blue flag water iris varieties grow well in boggy ground. (mpishi7/iStock/Getty Images)

There are two common varieties of water iris -- the European white flag and the blue flag. Both make a striking addition to a garden pond. Other irises commonly referred to as water irises, such as the Japanese and Louisiana irises, are well-suited to boggy, shallow water areas and come in a wide variety of colours, shapes and sizes. Choose the right variety for your garden's growing conditions as well as for height, spread, foliage, texture, colour and bloom time.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plastic liner
  • Baskets
  • Burlap
  • Sand
  • Aquatic planting media
  • Iris rhizomes or plants
  • Fertiliser (aquatic tablets for ponds, compost for bogs)

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    Garden ponds

  1. 1

    Choose baskets that are wider than they are deep and large enough to allow for the growth of the plant's root system.

  2. 2

    Line the basket with burlap and fill with aquatic planting media (you can substitute unscented cat litter). Place bulbs just under the surface of the media and top with a 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) layer of sand.

  3. 3

    Place basket in shallow water on a shelf or in a pocket at the pond's edge. Water irises do best in water between 2.5 and 15 cm (1 and 6 inches) deep. If planting in a pond with fish, choose a shallow shelf that can be segregated from fish by building a dam of rocks.

  4. 4

    Fertilise with fertiliser tablets made specially for pond gardens two months before blooming season. The season varies between varieties and climates.

    Boggy or marshy ground

  1. 1

    Dig out a shallow area of ground next to your pond about 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) deep and line it with a flexible plastic liner to retain water.

  2. 2

    Add 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) of a soil mixture of one-half acidic soil (pH about 6), one-quarter heavy loam and one-quarter heavy fertiliser (rich compost or well-rotted manure). Plant iris rhizomes about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) under the surface. Add a 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inch) layer of rich compost on top.

  3. 3

    Fill with water. The bog must not be allowed to dry out.

  4. 4

    Fertilise with well-rotted manure two months prior to blooming season.

    Container gardens

  1. 1

    In a shallow, decorative, watertight container, put in 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) of a soil mixture of one-half acidic soil (pH about 6.0), one-quarter heavy loam and one-quarter heavy fertiliser (rich compost or well-rotted manure).

  2. 2

    Place the rhizomes about 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) below the surface of the soil.

  3. 3

    Add up to 15 cm (6 inches) of water to the tub.

  4. 4

    Fertilise the same as for pond gardens.

Tips and warnings

  • If planting more than one variety of irises, put them in separate baskets (or bogs) so they won't cross breed.
  • If planting in tub gardens, place the tub in its permanent location before planting. The location should be able to accommodate periodic draining.
  • In ponds or tubs, putting a small bunch of anacharis underwater can keep the water clear.
  • For pond gardens, fertilisers other than ones made specifically for ponds will foul the water and harm fish.

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