Keeping your irises happy over the summer

Summer seems to be really heating up over these last few weeks, with more to follow for us here at Sunshine Iris Nursery.  To ensure our irises are not too stressed over these hot days, and to maintain our high standards, we follow a few simple processes that may help your irises in the garden also.

Mulching – whilst we don’t advocate heavy mulching around irises all year round, we like to mulch our irises in the summer with some rice hulls.  This conserves the moisture in the soil, and has usually dissipated into the soil by winter to allow for those cold snaps that irises seem to like.  A light covering with other mulch such as straw or sugar cane mulch would also help.

Watering – As we have a large number of irises, we water using a dripper method.  Our irises are generally quite dry – once the ground becomes too hard to dig up, we water!  But keep an eye on your plants.  They will generally show when they need watering as they become a little limp.  We water in the early morning and evening to minimise evaporation, and even find the water in the drip lines gets very hot in the middle of the day, so you will often find us at dawn or dusk turning some taps on!

Irises will naturally brown off over the hotter months.  We tend to leave them as they are, only trimming off the brown when we dig them up for sale. We do find some leaf bleaching occurring in this hot weather, but when we lift the rhizomes we have found this does not effect the root development overly.