Last Updated on December 23, 2022
There is no other way to say it – the Japanese Iris is a magnificent flower. Outside of its native country of Japan, growers might be concerned that this water-loving plant requires exotic care. The truth is that this iris needs initial establishment and after the flower settles into your garden, little care is needed. Our guide shows you everything you need to understand, plant, and care for your new iris!
Table of Contents
Origins and Appearance
As the name suggests, this flower is native to Japan and Kazakhstan. Important to the history of Japan, the iris has, for centuries, appeared in both artworks and gardens across the country. Over the last 500 years, more than 2,000 cultivars were bred from the original wild iris.
The Japanese Iris is known for its large flowers. The blooms are available in different shades, most notably lavender, purple, pink, white, rose, violet, and patterned varieties. The petals are elegant and substantial, often curving downwards. The stem of the iris can grow as tall as 3 feet (0.9 m) and the foliage resembles oversized blades of grass.
Temperature and Humidity
Since the Japanese Iris is traditionally an outdoors plant grown near water features, your new plant will flourish in full sun. It can also handle partial shade. The plant can handle very hot summers and if your home is located in a region where the warmer seasons get hectic, make sure that your iris gets some afternoon shade.
Once again, when we look at this plant’s origins, we can get an idea of what level of humidity is best for the Japanese Iris. Traditionally planted around rice paddies and ponds, the iris loves average to high humidity conditions.
Watering and Feeding
When it comes to your plant’s care routine, its watering schedule is perhaps the most difficult part to master. Unlike most other house plants that need a drink when the top layer of soil is dry, you need to develop a sense of when to water your Japanese Iris. Here are a couple of tips to keep you on track.
- The plant requires most of its water during the spring (when it is experiencing its most active growing stage)
- Keep the soil evenly moist during spring and summer
- Never let it dry out completely during summer
- Avoid overwatering during the fall and winter when its watering needs are reduced.
The Japanese Iris is a hungry guy! As a heavy feeder, you need to prepare the soil before planting with lots of organic material and compost. You can also boost your established iris plants by working in new compost into the soil once a year.
Soil and Repotting
The best soil for your iris, whether it grows in the garden or a pot, should be medium to wet, humus-rich and acidic. This plant will do well in water-retentive soil, including clay.
The Japanese Iris is unusual in the sense that it grows better in a pot. Even if you plan to plant this beauty in your garden, it will grow better if you plant it in the soil pot and all. When the iris gets too bushy for the pot, you can divide the plant and pot the divisions out into different pots, propagating your iris as well as providing fresh soil.
Get all the best tips on how to re-pot your house plants.
When to Prune a Japanese Iris
The only time when you need to give your iris a haircut is during the blooming season. Snip away the droopy flowers to make the plant look better and promote more flowering. Avoid pruning the leaves too heavily once the flower season is over. The iris needs its leaves to store energy for the year ahead.
Pests and Diseases
The Japanese iris is normally a very healthy plant. But like all house and garden plants, this iris is vulnerable to certain pathogens. The most common problems are caused by different viruses, bacteria and fungi.
Always remember that there are plenty of fantastic organic insecticides that can clear up a problem without harming your plant, garden or pond.
Slugs and Snails
These goobers love to gnaw on the plant’s stalks and leaves. If you can, opt for an organic repellant for these creatures in order to safeguard the environment.
These insects feed on the juices of your plant and when the infestation is heavy, the iris can seriously fall ill. Luckily, a mild soap or insecticide often deals very effectively with this pest.
This pest is super destructive. The larvae form of a moth, the caterpillar-like creatures munch on the rhizomes the iris needs to grow. The best protection is regular applications of bio-insecticides.
Diseases and Problems
The Japanese Iris is susceptible to several diseases and problems. Let’s have a look at each condition, symptoms and solutions.
Caused by a fungal infection, the symptoms include spots that start out brown and have a yellow border. These spots will enlarge and eventually merge. During a serious infection, entire leaves can shrivel and die. Us a good organic fungicide to treat leaf spot.
The good news is that the Japanese Iris is not as affected by this terrible disease as other iris species. But in rare cases, it might pop up. Symptoms of this fungal infection include black blotches on leaves, shrivelled leaves and rotting bulbs. Once you establish that your iris has ink disease, it’s best to get rid of the plant.
This fungal disease is easily treatable with a high-quality organic fungicide. Rust is identifiable by numerous small dots that appear on the leaves. The specks can be pale green or yellow. Either way, they will reveal rust-colored spores.
Q: Is My Japanese Iris Save Around Pets And Children?
The Japanese Iris is generally considered safe around kids but care should still be taken that children do not ingest this plant. The reason being that all iris species are considered toxic for animals. It can cause severe reactions and illness in pets depending on the amounts or parts that the pet consumed.
Q: What Is The Difference Between Japanese Iris and Siberian Iris?
Both plants look similar but they are indeed different. The Siberian Iris is generally smaller and it also blooms earlier in the summer than the Japanese Iris.
Q: Is The Japanese Iris An Invasive Species?
No, the Japanese Iris is not considered an invasive species outside of its native country. It does not have the aggressive self-propagation habits that earmark invasive plants.
Q: When Should I Plant New Japanese Iris Plants?
The fall is the best time to plant your new plants. This will ensure gorgeous blooms in the spring.
Q: How Long Does A Cut Iris Bloom Last?
With the correct care, a cut iris bloom can last anywhere between 5 and 7 days. Use sharp scissors and cut the stem at an angle. Place the flower in clean, room temperature water. The best location is away from direct sunlight.