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Iris

Each year Scottsdale Garden Club names an annual signature plant and during the year members do in-depth research on that plant. Their findings are presented as a monthly program. Informative displays are used as Educational Exhibits in the next flower show. 

Iris (Iridaceae)
Signature Plant 2012-13

Horticulture Chair, Mary Victor, introducing the Iris at the Club's October meeting.

Horticulture Chair, Mary Victor, introducing
the Iris at the Club's October meeting.

Irises are one of the easiest garden perennials to grow. They will amaze you with beautiful colors and patterns. You will be inspired to combine and add different varieties for other locations in your garden and maybe even try your hand at generating your own Iris by hybridizing two of your favorite plants.

The Iris Flower is a genus (family with like characteristics) of approximately 300 species of showy flowering plants. ‘Iris’ is from the Greek word 'rainbow' referring to a wide variety of colors found throughout the numerous species. Multi-colored Iris in blue/purple, orange/brown, pink/cream are a few of the color combinations and patterns available.

Irises come in different types and sizes. Plant sizes range from 5 inches to 5 feet tall. Best types to grow in the Valley of the Sun are the Tall Bearded, Aril, Aril bred, Spuria and Louisiana. Each type includes varieties that bloom early, middle and late season making it easy to sustain blooming from March thru May.

Irises grown from rhizomes or bulbs prefer sun, well drained soil and good air circulation. The best time to plant is two weeks after soil preparation during the months of September and October. Expect blooms in March thru May depending on the variety and date planted.

Pictures of varieties and when to plant are available on websites of Sun Country Iris Society and American Iris Society. Rhizomes and bulbs can be purchased from growers in Arizona or Iris catalogs from around the world.

The Iris is used in applications other then gardening. Orris Root Powder and Iris Butter are used commercially today as ingredients for perfume, gin, and numerous home remedies especially in Asian countries. Famous paintings of Irises, including by Vincent van Gogh, 1899, are on view around the world.

By Mary Victor, Horticulture Chair

Mary Victor, Ardi Kary of Kary's Iris Gardens, and member Mary Parrish during their presentation on the Iris.

Mary Victor, Ardi Kary of Kary's Iris Gardens, and
member Mary Parrish during their presentation on the Iris.