Bearded Iris requires little maintenance and thrives in well-draining soil, with a minimum of 6 hours of full sun. In hotter inland climates, ‘Ida Red’ is best with afternoon shade, and is more shade tolerant than most Tall Bearded irises.
Plant your bearded iris with the rhizomes (swollen tuber-like roots) barely below the soil surface. The rhizomes should be lightly covered with approximately ¼” to ½” of soil covering them depending on climate or soil type. Do not smother your bearded iris with mulch or ground covers and be sure to remove any fallen leaf debris or weeds out of your iris beds. Avoid soggy, shady areas with poor air circulation. Good drainage is essential to avoid rhizome rot.
Newly planted rhizomes need moisture to develop their root systems. Once established, reduce frequency. The watering frequency will depend on several factors such as soil type, location, and climate. Overwatering of Irises is a common mistake and can lead to rot. Best to watered deeply and infrequently.
Pruning is typically not necessary, although deadheading spent blooms can encourage new growth and prolong blooming.
For optimum bloom, divide clumps every 2-4 years if they become overcrowded to reinvigorate the declining flower display. Best done in late August or September.
Fertilize with a well-balanced fertilizer in late winter-early spring and again in late summer-early fall. Apply around rhizomes but not on them. 1-2 inches of compost applied annually is beneficial.
Iris germanica 'Ida Red' is a low-maintenance perennial that is perfect for the California garden or landscape.