Ask Ella: Behold the Lovely Iris, Namesake of Olympic Gods
In Greek Mythology, Iris was a goddess of the sky and sea, known as the personification of a rainbow. Iris, the messenger to the Olympic gods, was also believed to link the gods with humanity– and that’s sort of how we feel about Iris flowers: they are one of the most delicate, ethereal plants in the popular lexicon, and they feel like a translation of divine beauty.
Bearded Iris flowers, fortunately, are as easy to grow as they are elegant. Plant them in a sunny spot in the late summer; Irises like well-drained soil, full sun, and room to breathe– plant rhizomes a minimum of 16 to 18 inches apart and they will be happy. In order to propagate the flowers, break off the seedpods that form after the blooms have faded, and prune back the foliage in the Fall. Iris is a perennial cultivar, so if you play your cards right, you will be rewarded with beautiful blooms ad infinitum.
Once cut, maintenance is relatively simple: cut Iris flowers on the diagonal and place them in a vessel of hot water (ideally about 100 degrees F) and add a dash of flower food. Irises are a thirsty flower, so be sure to change the water daily!