Where do I plant Irises and Daylilies?

Both Irises and Daylilies do best when planted in full sun or at least be exposed to 4 – 6 hours sun.

Irises and Daylilies are very good companion plants as they flower in spring and summer which provides an extended flowering period in your garden.

 

When do I plant Irises?

Irises are mainly SPRING flowering perennials and ideally should be planted by autumn to enjoy their beauty in Spring of that same year. They need approximately 4 – 6 months to establish.

Irises could however be lifted, divided and planted any time throughout summer till late autumn.

How deep do I plant Irises and how far apart?

Iris rhizomes should be planted very shallow – the top part of the rhizome should be exposed to the sun and cold to ensure optimal flowering. The leaves are cut back in the shape of a ‘fan’ when transplanting to enable the roots to establish much quicker and for wind resistance.

Can Irises be planted in a pot?

Yes! Although Irises don’t like to be pot bound as they need lots of space around them to perform well. The width of the pot is important to accommodate a strong, healthy plant.

What type of soil do I plant my Iris rhizomes in and what do I feed them?

Plant Irises in rich composted soil. Superphosphate (a handful per m2) could be added to the soil, alternatively bone meal. It is very IMPORTANT that the soil DRAIN WELL as Irises that are waterlogged, could rot.

How often do I water my Irises?

Water well after planting – twice a week deep watering for the first couple of weeks. After they have established – once a week should be sufficient. Don’t overwater! It could lead to rot.

When do Irises bloom?

Irises flower mainly in SPRING – some varieties re-bloom in autumn.

How tall do Iris spikes grow?

This varies from variety to variety. The average height of Tall Bearded Irises are between 70 – 105cm.

Can Bearded Irises be used for flower arrangements?

Yes! They are exquisite when used as focal point in combination with other flora in arrangements or on their own in a bunch or a single spike in a tall, elegant vase.

Cut the stem when the flower is still in fully developed bud stage. This makes it easier to transport as well. It should open up in the vase the following day and thus ensure little damage to the delicate petals and ensure longer flowering.

Do Irises go dormant during winter (loose their leaves)?

No. Irises are semi-evergreen perennials. The leaves might turn brown, especially in colder areas. These could simply be cut back or pulled away from the rhizome.

Do I need to lift the rhizomes every year?

No! Irises are perennials which stay in the ground for some years. It is however important to lift and divide the clumps when they become overcrowded – approximately every 3 – 4 years. (Preferably just after flowering). Discard the ‘old’ rhizomes that show no growth.

When do I plant Daylilies?

Daylilies could be lifted, divided and transplanted throughout the year. For colour in summer, Daylilies should at least be planted by the end of autumn to give their roots time to establish before winter.

How deep do I plant Daylilies and how far apart?

Daylilies should be planted deep enough to cover the crown, just above the roots. Plant them 30cm apart – use approximately 9 per m2.

Can Daylilies be planted in a pot?

Yes! As long as the depth of the pot is deep enough to accommodate the roots for them to perform well.

What type of soil do I plant my Daylily ‘splits’ in and what do I feed them?

Plant Daylilies in rich composted soil. Superphosphate (a handful per m2) could be added to the soil, alternatively bone meal.

How often do I water my Daylilies?

Daylilies perform better when watered well – twice a week deep watering. They are however drought resistant and recover quick after a dry spell.

When do Daylilies flower?

Daylilies are mainly SUMMER flowering perennials. The main flowering period starts late October, reaches it’s peak during November and carries on flowering, with intervals, till late autumn.

Do Daylilies go dormant during winter (loose their leaves)?

Most of the Daylilies grown by Mooiplaas are evergreen – approximately 20% goes dormant during winter but we have found that their root system are extremely strong and often bears the most beautiful flowers!

How tall do daylilies grow?

This varies from variety to variety. They could be found in the form of miniature varieties (appr 30cm) to over a metre in height.

Can Daylilies be used for flower arrangements?

Yes! It could be successfully used as a focal point in combination with other flora in arrangements or on their own in a bunch or a single stem in a tall, elegant vase.

Cut the stem when the flower is still in fully developed bud stage. It should open up in the vase the following day and thus ensure little damage to the delicate petals. This makes it easier to transport as well. Although Daylilies flower for only ONE DAY the other buds on the stem will open up continuous for the next couple of days – simply remove the ‘dead’ flowers of the previous day and top up the water. Take care to protect the table cloth you put your vase on as the darker colours tend to stain as the ageing flowers could drip at night.

Daylily ‘flower heads’ can be used in many different ways for decorative purposes. Just pick the open flower head early in the morning and put in an attractive small vase filled with water – more than one flower head floating in a larger container makes a lovely show for that ONE day. By taking only the flower head and leaving the stalk on the plant, the other buds on that same stalk get a chance to continue flowering in the following days.

The flower heads of the miniature varieties are ideal for using as decoration on cakes, salads, dips, etc – they last the whole day without any water when picked early in the morning and kept cool – even in the fridge!

Do I need to lift the Daylily clumps (plants) every year?

No! Daylilies are perennials which stay in the ground for some years. It is however important to lift and divide the clumps when they become overcrowded – approximately every 3 – 5 years.

We have highbred Irises for +/- 8 years, and they have never flowered, we have plenty of green healthy leaves but no flowers please could you advise what the problem is and how we can solve it.

There are various reasons for irises not to flower.

Firstly, Irises flower only on new growth. It is thus important that irises must be lifted and transplanted/replanted every 3 to 4 years. Should the plants be in the same position for too long, the rhizomes tend to make a matt and new growth cannot come through. When lifting, replant only parts that show new growth and discard the old rhizomes.

Secondly, irises need good sunlight, at least 5 – 6 hrs per day;

Thirdly, the rhizomes must not be planted too deep. Part of the rhizome should still show, when planting.

We suggest that the irises be lifted, separated and replanted. When replanting cut back the leaves to about one third (like a fan). As irises are heavy feeders, we suggest that they are not replanted in the same spot, unless the ground is well composted. No fresh manure, this tends to cause rot of the rhizome.

We often get asked the question: Do I cut back the leaves of my irises?

No, you only trim the leaves when they've been lifted from the ground for transplanting or shipping. Leaves can be called the 'factories' of the plant as they manufacture sugars and starches.
Irises that have been dug up and divided have their leaves trimmed to make them more easily handled and to offset root loss when they were dug. This prevent dehydration and falling over from the weight of the leaves when transplanted.
Brown, untidy leaves, however can be cut back and removed as this could help control pests and diseases.