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Iris planting and growing


Iris includes many handsome perennials, of which the blue flag is familiar to every old-fashioned garden. They are favorites everywhere, for their brilliant spring and summer bloom; and they are easy to grow.

Most irises thrive best in a rather moist soil, and some of them may be colonized in the water in margins of ponds.

Gardeners usually divide them into two sections - the tuberous-rooted or rhizomatous, and the bulbous. A third division - the fibrous-rooted - is sometimes made.

The common and most serviceable species belong to the tuberous-rooted section. Here is the beautiful and varied Japanese iris, Iris lœvigata (or I. Kœmpferi), which is among the most deserving of all hardy perennials. Most of these irises need no special care. They are propagated by division of the rootstocks. Plant the pieces one foot apart if a mass effect is desired. When the plants begin to fail, dig them up, divide the roots, discard the old parts, and grow a new stock, as before.

The Japanese iris needs much water and a very rich soil. Readily grown from seeds, giving bloom the second year. I Susiana, of this section, is one of the oddest of irises, but it is not quite hardy in the North.

Of the bulbous section, most species are not hardy far North. The bulbs should be taken up and replanted every two or three years. The Persian and Spanish irises belong here. The bulbs give rise to but a single stem.