Growing irises is highly rewarding, and easy too. Their large, extravagant flowers are borne in clusters on each stem, from late spring to early summer.
Bearded irises grow from rhizomes, which are creeping stems growing along or just beneath the soil surface. Irises are very resilient, surviving freezing conditions in the winter, and drought in the summer.
With a great range of sizes available, bearded irises are categorised as short, intermediate or tall. Shorter varieties tend to be good for growing in exposed, windy areas, or on slopes. The taller varieties look stunning in mixed borders, but may need supporting with canes.
The flowers are made up of three named parts: the standards (upper petals), the falls (lower petals) and the beard ('hairs' in the throat of the flower). Most varieties have a sweet, spicy scent. Browse our choice of 10 beautiful irises, from the Cayeux Iris stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013, below.
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