by Jennifer Poindexter
Do you need an easy way to add color to your flower beds during the winter months? Have you considered growing the peacock iris?
This flower blooms in winter and spring. Then it remains dormant during the winter months. It grows on long stems and produces white blooms with rich, blue accents.
The peacock iris is native to South Africa. However, it can grow in most planting zones around the globe. If you’d like to try your hand at raising this winter-beauty, here’s what you should know:
Growing Conditions for the Peacock Iris
The peacock iris isn’t particular about where it grows around your home. If you can find a location with a few minor specifics, this flower should do well for you.
First, you must choose a location that receives full to partial sunlight. Generally, these flowers love cold weather.
Therefore, the colder your climate, the more sunlight you can provide the plant. However, if you live in a warmer climate, it will probably grow better in an area with less sunlight.
In warmer climates, try to pick a location which provides morning sunlight but also gives protection to the bright afternoon sun.
Once you find the location with the correct lighting, it’s time to consider the soil. In general, peacock iris plants can grow in most soils. They even do well in rock gardens and containers.
However, the key to this is the soil must be well-draining. If you choose to grow the peacock iris plant in a container, ensure the container drains adequately as well.
The only other thing you should know before deciding to plant a peacock iris is it grows best in planting zones seven and below.
Remember, these are perennial plants, so be sure to pick a location that not only meets the above-mentioned specifications, but also plant them in an area where they will be undisturbed during their dormant period.
Now that you know what the peacock iris needs in a growing location, let’s discuss how you can grow them.
How to Plant a Peacock Iris
Finding the perfect growing location for a peacock iris doesn’t seem all that challenging. However, it’s the most challenging part to planting this flower.
After you’ve found the perfect gardening spot, you must ensure you’re planting peacock iris flowers at the right time.
These flowers should be planted in late summer through the fall months. Ensure the soil has been loosened and is properly draining.
Before adding the bulb to the soil, add plenty of compost. This will provide all the necessary nutrients the plant needs while becoming established.
Plant each bulb approximately a half foot apart and around six inches deep in the soil. Once they’re in the ground, cover them. Then water the bulbs regularly.
Your peacock iris plants are now in place. It’s time to discuss how you can care for these plants as they grow under your care in the coming years.
Caring for a Peacock Iris
The peacock iris plant is rather low maintenance. It needs to be watered, fertilized, and divided at the appropriate times.
If you can accomplish these steps, you should have few issues growing this flower in your winter garden.
The first thing you should do is learn how to properly water the peacock iris flower. I prefer to use the deep watering method as this helps the plant develop strong roots, avoids over or underwatering the plant, and it’s less work on the gardener.
To practice the deep watering method, you should apply water to your plants for longer periods of time but fewer days of the week.
This ensures the water saturates the roots at the time of watering but also provides water to the ground around and beneath the flower.
As the days go by, and the flower needs more water, it will dig its roots into the soil to find more. In the process, creating a deeper and stronger root system.
You’ll know it’s time to add more water by testing the soil. Simply insert your finger into the dirt next to the plant.
When your finger is dry to the first knuckle, it’s time to add more water. If your finger is moist to the first knuckle, wait a few days and test the soil again.
You will only water the peacock iris flowers while they’re producing. Overtime, the flowers and foliage will die back to soil-level.
When the plant is dormant, it won’t need any additional moisture from you to survive that period of its cycle.
Once your watering routine is in good shape, it’s time to talk about fertilizer. The peacock iris flowers only need to be fertilized one time per year.
As the foliage of the plant begins appearing from beneath the ground, feed the plant with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer.
This will provide the boost of nutrients needed for the flowers to prosper. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging of the product you choose.
Finally, the last thing you should do when caring for this type of flower is divide the plants every five years. You might need to divide them more frequently depending upon how fast they grow and how large they become.
When your plants are outgrowing their space, dig them up. Use a trowel to divide the plant all the way through the roots.
You should perform this task after the flowers are finished producing blooms and are heading into dormancy.
After the plants are divided, place the original plant back into its growing location. For the new plants, find a new growing location with the accurate growing conditions to start another winter flower garden.
If you can stay on top of these few items, your peacock iris flowers should have all they need to produce gorgeous blooms throughout the winter months around your home.
Garden Pests and Diseases for the Peacock Iris
At this point, you know what the peacock iris flower needs in terms of growing conditions, proper planting techniques, and adequate care.
It’s now time to discuss specific threats which could affect these gorgeous flowers while they’re growing around your home.
The most common diseases the peacock iris faces are fungal diseases and bacterial leaf blight. If your plants develop spots on the leaves, it could be a sign of bacterial leaf blight.
When caught early enough, you might be able to remove the damaged parts of the plant and have no further issues.
However, if the plant is deeply impacted, it’s best to remove the entire flower from your garden to avoid further exposure to your other plants.
Be sure to destroy the plant and don’t compost it as this disease could spread through the composting process. When the compost is used, you could unintentionally impact other plants.
Fungal issues are best handled by staying ahead of them. The main way to avoid fungal disease is to plant in well-draining soil, ensure the plant receives sunlight at some point during the day, and also ensure there’s adequate space between plants.
If you don’t meet these specifications your iris flowers could grow in cold, wet soil which is a perfect breeding ground for disease.
Also, if the plants don’t have room to breathe, moisture can become trapped around the plant which is another way for fungal disease to spread.
There are also a few pests you must stay away from when growing peacock iris flowers. The major threats are thrips, aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies.
All of these pests can be treated with an insecticide. It’s also wise to forcefully spray your plants with soapy water when you see any sign of pests. This is a great way to dislodge the pests and break-up their homes.
These are the potential threats to your peacock iris flowers. Stay on top of them, and your plants should stand a greater chance of survival if attacked by these problems.
This concludes our discussion on how to grow peacock iris flowers. If you feel like your home needs a little life and charm around your landscape during the dreary part of the year, this could be a great way to add it.
Peacock iris flowers are easy-to-grow, low maintenance, and are gorgeous to look at. It’s our hope that this information will help you keep color and beauty growing around your home all year long.