Monday, December 18, 2017

Median Iris: Standard Dwarf Bearded

By Hooker Nichols

One of the most delightful classes of bearded iris one can grow is that particular group of iris known as the standard dwarf bearded.  These wonderful smaller iris range 8 to 16 inches in height.   They bloom after the peak season of miniature dwarf bearded iris and before the peak season of the intermediate bearded iris.

Hooker Nichol's 'Amazon Princess'--image by Igor Khorosh

Most generally as a group, these delightful iris are rapid increasers and the clumps give the appearance of mounds of flowers.  They possess the color range found in the other bearded classes.  Bloom is determined by the amount of cold weather experienced during the winter season.  Here in Texas, we experienced 334 frost free growing days in 2017 and spring bloom was very limited.  On the flip side of the coin, abundant rainfall during the spring and early summer resulted in very good rebloom from those possessing reblooming traits.

'Bright Blue Eyes' (M. Sutton)--image by Mike Sutton

This group of iris are easy to hybridize and generally the seeds germinate very well.  One can get nearly 100 percent bloom the spring following the germination.  They make excellent border plants, but generally must be transplanted every three years.

'Open Your Eyes' (Paul Black)--image from Mid America Iris Gardens

Standard dwarf bearded irises do well in most regions of the country and are well liked overseas.  I encourage you to plant a few to begin and extend your bloom season.

'Eye of the Tiger' (Paul Black)--image by Chuck Chapman

Editor's Note: The top award in this class is the Cook Douglas Medal. All images in this blog have won that award.

'Ultimate' (Thomas Johnson)--image by Brock Heilman

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