Planting other things in the iris bed?

nmemer(z5 WI)April 24, 2006

Hi,

How far can I go in planting other items in my iris bed? I have a few spring bulbs on the edges, and just a couple perennials. I just realized I need to plant poppy seeds like NOW. Can I sprinkle the seed right in among the irises? It would be easy b/c there's already no grass there and it would be nice to have something there blooming later in summer. However, I don't want to do anything that's bad for the irises. Thanks!

Nicole

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garden_of_mu(Z7/8 PNW)

You can certainly interplant among the irises. The important thing is to keep good air circulation around them. I've never been fond of the 'iris farm' look, much prefering a garden that has year round color, with the irises interplanted with lots of other things.

Mike

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 10:03PM
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zintal(z5ME)

I agree with Mike. I do mine English Cottage Style but be careful if a plant needs watering like daylilies or japanese irises to space it so the beardeds do not get drenched.

Keep the beardeds in sunlight up to six hours for bloom and no cutting the iris leaves to promote circulation or sunshine for that will kill the irises, they need to feed and make babies.

Myosotis, forget me nots, blue and pink, are easy to pull up and place anywhere. So are poppies not oriental kind, those need to stay put but can share space.

I do Doronicum too but it needs division or rocks to not overtake the irises. It is more work because you need to divide things but much prettier than iris rows of nothing during the rest of the summer.

Individual colors of the irises can be set off better too with companion plants. A white creeping phlox and certain shades of red creeping phlox, not purple, sets off cherry garden's deep bing cherry color or an odd colored iris like Burnt Toffee. Do not forget the daffodils and tulips might crowd out the sunshine or rhizomes so space accordingly and divide. I label where they are in springtime to remember where they are when planting new rhizomes to help a bit in not needing to move the rhizomes so much. Just use you imagination and paint. It's fun and never the same twice.

Julianna

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 1:09PM
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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

I use several varieties of ajuga. It spreads well enough that I don't worry too much about disturbing/killing small amounts when I dig and replant the iris. Burgundy Glow looks especially nice in between the iris leaves.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 7:32AM
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monarda_gw

Gertrude Jykell recommended Lupines. Baptisia and broom make fair substitutes if you can't grow lupines. (Probably behind the irises rather than among them).

Poppies are also nice -- and amsonia.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 1:10PM
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irisnut(5 SE WI)

Hi Nicole,

I do plant Shirley poppies in amongst my irises, they are so easy to sow in place and when they start looking scraggly I pull them out and compost them.

Another annual I grow in my iris beds are moss roses. Once you plant a few of these they will seed themselves over and over every year. I always have a full bed of them in all colors and I planted the plants 5 years ago.
They are compatible with my bearded because you don't have to water them, just like the established bearded. Of course they are not tall but they do cover up the ugly looking soil in my beds. :-)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 9:39PM
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Sparaxis(Vic Aust)

I find that Shirley poppies and lupins overshadow my irises terribly, and keep the ground very moist, resulting in rhizome rot in the irises. There is an interesting articlein the latest AIS bulletin about growing ground cover.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 8:00PM
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