Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
The Dutch irises may not be as popular as the other spring flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips. However, these have their place as a seasonal floral. These typically bloom earlier than English iris.
These stems have a vase life of about a week. Be sure and keep the vase topped off with water. Dutch iris doesnít like to run low on moisture. For best results, keep the floral arrangements out of direct sun as this can damage Dutch iris blooms. The stems will also last longer if they are kept in cooler, draft-free rooms.
Dutch iris blossoms have a distinctive, novel shape. This brings a refreshing look to floral arrangements. They are commonly used in Ikebana and Asian-inspired designs.
These are also good for informal, contemporary-like arrangements. Donít crowd Dutch iris together within an arrangement. These petals need plenty of room to spread out.
All of the iris blossoms are uniquely shaped. They have two sets of three petals. In each case, the three individual petals are connected at the base.
An iris flower has one set of three internal petals called standards. These are upright. The other three petals are known as falls because they droop down and away from the rest of the flower.
Dutch iris comes in a range of colors, including various blues, purples, and yellows as well as white. Often bi-colored or even multi-hued, these can have splashes of yellow on the petals with richly colored veining. The dark purple ones tend to have velvety brownish-purple veins. Quite often when we buy Dutch iris bulbs for our cutting gardens, the bulbs are sold as a mix. So, we donít have a choice of colors. In any case, they are sure to be beautiful.
Commercially, Dutch iris stems are available year-round. However, the ones growing in our cutting gardens will usually open from late spring to summer. These have thick, sturdy, leafy stems. They reach about 1Ĺ feet in height. The flowers are about four inches in length.
When you are growing Dutch iris as cut flowers, space the plants about five or six inches apart. They need to be planted in full sun. These can even be grown where deer are a problem. These animals rarely bother irises.
Generally, bulbous irises are planted four inches deep. All irises need a well drained soil, preferably one that is alkaline.
Several varieties of Dutch iris are particularly outstanding. Telstar Dutch Iris is the quintessential Dutch iris with classic purple petals that beautifully offset the vivid yellowish patches on the falls.
Ideal Dutch iris is noted for its unusual color. The vivid yellow patches on the falls contrast wonderfully with the rich, dark veining. The petals are a gorgeous, understated gray-blue.
Cantab Dutch Iris is a relatively new variety introduced in the fall of 2005. This one is less than a foot in height. However, the blossoms are so exquisite they are still suitable for floral design. They tend to start blooming around March. The petals have vivid yellow and white markings. Within the petals, there are several shades of cobalt blue.
The name iris comes from the goddess of the rainbow.