In my Indiana garden in midsummer, after the bearded iris and peony duet of bloom is only a memory, the beardless Japanese iris bloom with great abandon and considerable style.
I have them around my large limestone fountain where the ground is soggy, especially on windy days. They like to grow in bogs, but they will also grow well in ordinary garden beds, as long as they are watered well when they are first planted and in periods of drought.
When To Plant And What To Feed
Plant this iris before late August so that they will bloom next spring. They prefer some acidity so use fertilizers developed for azaleas, rhododendrons, and mulch with pine needles.
Feed in early spring and again in early summer. They also love well rotted manure. The rhizomes are set about 2 inches deep and are not troubled much by disease.
The large flat flowers are so dramatic that just one bud placed in a vase is breath-taking when it opens. There is a wide range of colors and petal variation thanks to the persistence and skill of many generations of Japanese breeders.
There are pure whites, light blues, delicate pinks, lavenders, deep rich magentas, and royal blues and purples. But do be careful when you dead head… a new bud may be nestled beside a faded flower.