5 Tips on Growing Iris from Nancy

One of my fellow Master Gardeners is into irises. Nancy has over 250 varieties of tall bearded iris that are mostly from California. Her brother, who lives in California, started sending her irises for her birthday each August and then one year while visiting him, they dug over 150 varieties together. She has since been back for another trip and another load of beautiful irises.

Nancy was kind enough to invite the West Pott. Master Gardener group to her house for one of our monthly meetings last year. We were able to take a tour of her garden before the meeting. This year, when I was reminded by an iris in my own yard, I reached out to Nancy for some of her growing tips and she invited me to come photograph her garden this weekend.


It was a beautiful site with so many colorful irises blooming. She has an amazing collection and it’s obvious to see her passion for them.


“My mother had the most beautiful iris when I was a child. They were the tall purple ones that smelled like grapes. I think that is where my love for them came from. Now I’m just amazed by the different color combinations. I go out everyday to see what is blooming.” – Nancy N.

Nancy’s five tips for growing iris: 
  1. It’s best to move or transplant iris in the fall, between August and mid-September.
  2. Fertilize iris in late March with a low nitrogen fertilizer as this seems to trigger more prolific blooms but they should bloom without it.
  3. If one stops blooming, move it to a new location and watch it the next year. If it does not bloom the second year, you might want to discard it.
  4. She recommends cutting the blooming stalk off after the bloom is finished to keep your garden nice and tidy.
  5. If you have a re-blooming variety, she recommends giving them an extra dose of fertilizer and more water to get that second bloom.


All of her varieties are labeled (I am so jealous). I noticed that this one is called ‘Bottle Rocket,” very fitting!


They look so great in a group! It really shows off the collection.


She has a beautiful multi-tiered retaining wall full of iris and other perennials.


And of course, she had this amazing peony bush that I had to photograph as well.


Do you know Nancy? Show her some love in the comments!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane says:

    Wow, wow, WOW! Gorgeous! Thanks so much for your post and photos. Now we get to see her beautiful gardens in full bloom. Thanks for getting her tips for iris. Such an inspiration.


    1. Melissa Peterson says:

      Thanks for your comment Jane!


  2. susurrus says:

    What beautiful pictures! I had no idea that there were repeat-blooming irises.


    1. Melissa Peterson says:

      Yes, it’s beautiful isn’t it!


  3. Rachel S says:

    Nice photos of Nancy’s devotion to growing her beautiful landscape!! Thanks for the tips too!


  4. Marilyn Rehling says:

    Such a beautiful and unique collection! Truly a joy to see her garden and the variety there. Her passion for them is amazing!


  5. Eliza Waters says:

    An inspiring collection – wow!


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