Imagine yourself next summer, the heat of July warming your face as you gaze across your garden, colorful perennials dot the landscape… but you’re thinking back to springtime, May, when your glorious Iris were in full bloom. Nothing compares… But wait! Consider this: a second bloom season for Iris. Yes, reblooming Iris hold the promise of reliving the spring time bloom in the middle of summer!
Scanning the summer garden, speckled with the hues of phlox, cone flowers, daisies, lilies and the like, my heart skips a beat as I catch sight of a Tall Bearded Iris! A delightful surprise in the midst of the late summer bloomers. It’s one thing to take in the wash of color in a garden full of Iris at peak bloom in May; it’s quite another to find a lone flag, so seemingly out of time and place, among the rudbekia!
As with any gift of nature, there are caveats. Reblooming Iris, while so satisfying when they produce bloom in July, August, September and even into October, do not bloom on command. Their remontancy is dependent upon multiple factors: soil conditions, weather, gardening practices, to name a few. Rebloomers need extra fertilizing (low in nitrogen, 5-10-10) and water compared to their single-bloom cousins. The plant’s own genetics, of course, play a strong role as well. Varieties of Iris that rebloom consistently here in the Willamette Valley (here is a partial list) may exhibit different behavior in other locales. Just as there are varieties of Iris that do not bloom every year in the spring bloom season, so is the case with summer re-bloom.
But when it all comes together… Wow! These bonus blossoms just scream to be united with pink and red lilies, flounces of phlox, fist-fulls of Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) — anything blooming nearby. Rich summer bouquets can take shape before your eyes. Here are several of my favorites from a recent jaunt through the garden.
Pictured above a charming reblooming Dwarf Iris, Autumn Jester, cozies up to its little companion daisy. Wouldn’t this be lovely blooming among the snapdragons and pansies along a low summer border? Below, the pinks pack a punch. Peggy Sue mixes with the lovely lilies and echinacea for a sight so divine.
Pure As Gold mixes with Immortality, above, continuing the white-yellow theme carried by the daisies. The hosta leaf and blue thistles provide pleasing contrast to the bunch. “Cowslip” sneaks in a bit of summer informality….
Ominous Stranger, above, blends harmoniously with sprigs of cedar and blue thistles. Below, October Sky loves the phlox, verbena and hosta. Best Bet contrasts with rudbeckia.
Selecting the varieties of reblooming Iris for your garden which will be successful in your area of the country (or the world), is a matter of trial and error. The rebloom is a bonus. At the very least, you will enjoy one season of bloom in the springtime. Give it a try!
The Reblooming Iris Society offers a plethora of information on the development and care of Iris that rebloom. Start with their page offering tips for growing rebloomers, then explore the greater site for more information.
Have you planted reblooming Iris in your garden? Tell us about your trials, errors and successes. Please include your geographic area as well.
P.S. And speaking of geographic area, take a look at our Iris order date cut-off map for information on the last date to order Iris to ship to your neck of the woods.
November 30, 2013 at 11:27 am
I’m excited to see the iris I planted last year blooming come Spring. If the re-bloomers miss the Spring season maybe they’ll bloom later. That’s my wish anyway! I like to plant a filler, such as white phlox at different places in the perennial bed to tie everything in and add continuity to the bloom seasons. It also glows at night and looks beautiful! Very sturdy plant to go with reblooming iris.
Love the quality of your iris! Thanks.
December 1, 2013 at 11:58 pm
Thank you. The phlox is wonderful companion to the bearded Iris. We plant it all around our display gardens in different colors. Its tall, full vertical growth complements the blades of the Iris. Beaded Iris certainly are drought tolerant perennials – a good choice for your area. Keep us posted on the performance of your rebloomers!
November 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm
Ok, sit down. My Pure as Gold and Autumn Tryst are reblooming for the third time this year! Pure as Gold doesn’t just rebloom, it goes crazy putting up stalk after stalk of multi-buds. It is blooming right now at Thanksgiving. We’ve had a lot of drought here in central Texas so when people ask me what they can plant in their yards that can take the heat and drought, they are shocked when I say irises! They ask if irises are deer resistant. I tell them that the plants are but I can’t swear to the flower buds. I don’t get much deer traffic because of my dogs. Does anyone know if deer will avoid the blooms as well? I do suggest that they protect the plant from curious deer until they are well rooted just so they don’t get pulled up and tossed around.
Cynthia in Boerne, Texas