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What is a Dutch Iris?

By Henry Gaudet
Updated May 16, 2024
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The Dutch iris is a flowering plant popular among gardeners and landscapers all over the world. These plants are relatively easy to grow and care for, and they add color to a flowerbed. Blossoms are available in a variety of colors, each with a distinctive yellow spot at the base of each petal. Long, straight stems make the Dutch iris an ideal addition to cut flower arrangements, and florist often include the bright flowers in bouquets.

Many other iris varieties grow from bulbous rhizomes that typically are referred to as bulbs, but the Dutch iris grows from an actual onion-like bulb. These perennials require rich, fertile soil with good drainage and plenty of sunlight. The Dutch iris thrives in cooler climates and survives winter well. A blanket of mulch usually is sufficient to survive heavy frost. It does not do as well in hot, tropical regions, though.

For the best results, planting in late fall is recommended. Dutch iris bulbs should be planted, with their points up, about 4 inches (10 cm) deep and 3 inches (7 cm) apart, then watered thoroughly. Bulbs grown in flower pots do not need to be buried as deep, so 2 inches (5 cm) should suffice. After they have been planted, little additional care or maintenance is required. The plant will need regular watering, but care should be taken to avoid over-watering.

In warmer regions, the Dutch iris might sprout in late autumn and continue to grow through the winter before flowering in the spring. Irises planted in colder climates will wait until winter has passed before their shoots become visible. The plant grows about 24 inches (60 cm) tall and typically blooms late in the spring and into summer. Dutch iris blossoms come in a variety of brilliant colors, including blue, white, orange, purple and yellow.

Alone in a flowerbed, irises might seem a bit lost. For maximum impact, they should be grown in clusters, surrounded by low ground cover and smaller flowers. Growing clusters of these flowers also will allow some of them to be cut without detracting from the garden’s appearance.

Dutch irises make beautiful cut flower displays. Snipping the stems does no harm to the plant, and flowers can be taken at will while in bloom. After the flowering season, some gardeners are tempted to trim away the green foliage. These leaves should not be clipped, though, and instead should be allowed to grow and soak up the sunshine for better growth the following year. Only when the leaves have browned should they be removed.

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Discussion Comments
By Grivusangel — On Apr 07, 2014

I really need to get some Dutch iris bulbs to plant in my yard. Bulbs seem to do very well, whereas other flowers tend to just sort of sit there, no matter what I do. But bulbs have done well for me.

I love iris anyway, and I want them in several colors. Of course, the deep purple is the classic color, but I'd love to have a patch in many colors.

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