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Companion Planting for Bearded Iris

Posted by Bear_With_Me 8 Pacific NW (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 5, 13 at 16:13

Since bearded irises don't look like much for most of the year, I've been experimenting with companion planting. I don't have a lot of conclusions yet.

I wanted plants that would stay small, and not need water in the summer. Culinary herbs seemed like a good choice.

Last winter I planted lemon balm, various types of thyme, chives, parsley. All of those grew too big. Also oregano, which grew too big.

I think I will keep the edges of the raised bed with a row of garlic chives. Those seem to stay fairly compact in this setting.

Along one edge, I planted anemones. Those stayed small, but not much of a show in the summer.

This fall I am trying a different approach. I planted starts of a low growing sedum, and some Sempervivum varieties. Also interspersed among the clumps, I added Narcissus - especially small growing types - and hyacinths.

I like having culinary herbs among the irises, but they seem to grow too big.

Wondering if others have companion plants for irises. The goal for me is plants that repel, or at least don't attract, deer and rabbits, or have a cooking role, or give pollen and nectar for bees. They should not shade the rhizomes or crowd them too much. They should be dry tolerant in the summer.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Companion Planting for Bearded Iris

The herbs you mentioned should be sheared back into the size and shape you like several times a year.
I use golden sage between my irises, but it gets big and has to be trimmed back or ripped out every few years.
I also use columbines for flowers, and I like garlic chives too, especially when they bloom. Yarrow is a good choice, especially the gray-leafed varieties.
For annuals I like violas- they reseed and don't cause problems for iris rhizomes.

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