Dwarf Bearded Irises
Bearded irises are the most watercolor perennials. The luxury of flowering and the unprecedented beauty of both shapes and colors, despite a limited flowering period, and not so simple cultivation, have long made them favorites of landscape design. But not all bearded irises can boast of such a status. Low or dwarf varieties of bearded irises are undeservedly overlooked. And completely in vain: these plants will give odds to the familiar high brothers. After all, the possibilities of their application are not limited to flower beds and discounts, but include both rockeries and pottery culture.
The difference is only in growth
Dwarf bearded irises in height are limited to a maximum of 30-40 cm, although most often these crops will not exceed 20 cm. But despite their modest size, their flowers are no less bright and large. And the variety they have is no less than that of medium or high irises. And even the tenderness of the petals, the beloved "beard" and the abundant flowering of them will not enter the brethren. 2-3 flowers bloom on one peduncle, but this compensates for the density of the bushes with a large number of flower-bearing shoots.
The only difference is the height of the leaves and peduncles. This is a kind of miniature copy of ordinary bearded irises, while the "reduction" does not apply to flowers. But their endurance and unpretentiousness is expressed much more. Little irises open up new, and sometimes unexpected, possibilities for decorating gardens.
Garden dwarf bearded irises are divided into two categories of varieties:
- Standard Dwarfs - Standard Dwarf Bearded (SDB)
- Miniature Dwarfs - Miniature Dwarf Bearded (MDB)
Key benefits of undersized varieties:
- they grow much faster and create spectacular bushes by the second year after planting;
- dwarf irises bloom more abundantly and two weeks earlier than medium and high bearded irises;
- foliage of miniature irises retains beauty until the end of the season and is no less spectacular than the best decorative foliage plants; sets architectural accents.
They were bred only a little over a century ago on the basis of two natural types of irises - dwarf and squat. Due to selection and cross-breeding with bearded, they acquired flowering, as spectacular as that of large bearded varieties, but retained size, non-moodiness and more attractive foliage. Conventionally, all miniature bearded irises are divided into miniature dwarf and standard dwarf irises. The second produce peduncles 10 cm higher and several more flowers.
The best varieties of undersized bearded irises:
- very bright blue-violet grade "Adrian Taylor" with an unusual aroma;
- wine, with a unique shade of color "Lollipop";
- purple-red with a blue beard grade "Ruby Contrast";
- melon and oil variety with a warm apricot hue and orange beard ‘Tinkled Peach’;
- ‘Pretty Cute’ with pink and orange coloring and a play of peach tones;
- Amsterdam with a bright golden yellow color and brown spots;
- ‘Boo’ with snow-white upper and dark purple with white ruffles lower petals;
- ‘Chrystal Bright’, whose snow-white color is highlighted with a bright yellow spot on the lower petals;
- abundant and very unusual ‘Serenity Prayer’ with a play of snow-white and light yellow, dark purple spots, emphasized by the pointed shape of the lower petals;
- sunny yellow with orange buds ‘Sun Doll’.
Low bearded irises can be used for decoration:
- flower beds, rabatok and mixborders in the foreground;
- for decorating the lawn with flowering and architectural groups;
- in iridaria as the basis of the compositions;
- borders and framing of tracks and trails with temporary coverage;
- Alpine slides and rockeries;
- potted gardens and containers.
Dwarf irises in alpine gardens
In stony kindergartens, even on the south side or among large boulders, undersized bearded irises will not only not be lost, but will also feel comfortable. Due to much less capriciousness, they adapt well to atypical soil for irises and much drier conditions. And how good they are against the background of stone chips and decorative dusting! Even the most modest gravel or crumbs when planting miniature irises change beyond recognition and seem to be an exclusive coating.
In rock gardens and rockeries, bearded low-grade irises seem to be real shining treasures. Their large flowers are immediately evident and set luxurious accents. Effectively they combine with most cultures typical of rocky gardens. Small-leaved and flowering carpet-like soil protectors from alissum to shaving, inimitable dwarf shrubs and conifers - all of them only enhance the beauty of these crumbs.
True, when planting irises, one should be more careful than when planting bulbs: aggressive pillows and creeping plants can easily press them out, so irises need to leave enough free space.
Miniature irises in flower beds and mixed plantings
Low varieties of bearded irises are perfect for classic flower beds and flower beds. It is believed that this is one of the most winning perennials for modern flower beds with decorative mulch or pebble soil. The same laws work here as when mini-irises were introduced into rocky gardens - a successful disclosure of the texture of stone chips and the most vivid presentation of the beauty of the blooming of the irises themselves.
In such flower beds, the charm of each individual plant is revealed as much as possible, because the cultures are located at a sufficient distance, and a beautiful mulch creates a luxurious background. But also in the foreground of ordinary flowerbeds and tents, in the role of a border around flower arrangements, they look no worse.
Potted mini irises
These modest in size, but far from modest in terms of beauty flowering plants grow well in separate containers. Low-growing varieties of bearded irises can be placed in decorative pots and small bowls, and in simple pots or balcony boxes. But far worse they will look in complex, combined compositions. Moreover, the right selection of partners will allow flowering irises to appear in all their splendor.
The only thing you need to turn low irises into real container stars is good drainage. For these plants, only containers with a good drain hole can be used, and drainage from expanded clay or large shards is laid to a height of at least 5 cm. It must be covered with non-woven material from above, and only then planted.
Simple conditions for abundant flowering
The undersized bearded irises will bloom the more colorful, the brighter and more sunny place you pick them. They are not even afraid of the south-oriented slopes of rock gardens - so feel free to plant them in the brightest parts of the garden and immediately discard even a slight shadow. As for the soil, they grow well in any quality, drained, loose in texture and non-acidic soil.
Planting undersized irises is carried out according to the same rules as medium and high varieties. With mulching the soil, be careful: mini irises do not tolerate mulch in the form of organic matter, grass, wood bark, in a word, any plant materials. For them, only a protective layer of stone chips or sand is suitable.
Such irises are planted shallowly, placing the rhizome horizontally and only slightly falling asleep with the ground so that the rhizomes upward remain at the level with the soil (only on sandy soil can they be deepened by 1-2 cm). Where the soil is moist or there is a risk of stagnation of water, irises are planted on slides or in elevated rows.
As for care, undersized irises are easy to grow. All that they need is the only spring dressing that is best done before flowering begins. Using potassium-phosphorus fertilizers, you will give the plants a powerful boost and they will bloom profusely.
Although today, to stimulate more abundant flowering, they often use the standard for all irises scheme of 2-3 top dressings (nitrogen-potash fertilizers in early spring, nitrogen-phosphorus fertilizers 2-3 weeks after the first feeding, and the third procedure is carried out only after flowering with full mineral fertilizers). The rest of the care comes to pruning flower stalks after the completion of the colorful parade and cutting the leaves to a height of 10 cm at the end of the season.
They are separated every 3-4 years, from the end of July to September. In mini-irises, the leaves are cut at a level of 7 cm from the soil, and then gently rhizomes are dug up. When separating, parts with 1-2 leaf sockets and a sufficient bunch of roots are separated.
Partners for Dwarf Bearded Iris
Low bearded irises are perfectly combined with medium-sized garden plants. The ideal partners for them include a variety of carnations, and horned violets, and ornamental cereals, and dwarf woody plants, and soil protectors. Their beauty of shaving, alissum, Iberis evergreen, Dorfler thyme, awl-shaped phlox, gray-eared euphorbia, gray fescue, sheep’s feather grass, feathery feather, Armeria maritime, cloves grass and blue-gray cloves, common lamb, common lamb, and common lignon florets are perfectly emphasized.
In pot culture, undersized irises are perfectly combined with young growth, cat's paw, jaundice, and saxifrages.