Although they donít tolerate competition that well, irises can be planted happily among other plants, providing that you respect some fairly obviously rules.
One advantage is that their flowering, being earlier than most perennials, fills a useful gap in the border.
- Bearded irises love sun; they should therefore be planted with other like-minded perennials.
- It is better to avoid neighbouring plants that are too invasive (e.g. ground-cover perennials).
- It is a good idea to bear in mind the pH of the soil: it is not possible to plant them alongside acid-loving plants like heather, azaleas or rhododendrons. However Japanese irises, as well as Sibirica irises do accept this type of soil.
Below are three groups of plants that go well with bearded irises, presented by height. This list is obviously not exhaustive.
Short plants to grow with standard dwarf or miniature dwarf iris (5 to 30cm)
- Geranium (numerous varieties, e.g. dalmaticum and helveticum)
- Geum rivale
- Phlox subulata
- Saxifraga (numerous varieties)
Medium height plants with intermediate iris
- Aster amellus (numerous varieties)
- Euphorbia (polychroma, seguieriana nicianna, Ö)
- Salvia nemorosa (numerous varieties)
Tall plants with tall bearded iris or Sibirica iris
Althaea rosea (hollyhocks)
- Delphinium pacific
- Phlox paniculata
- Salvia (azurea, glutinos, argentea)
The genus Iris also includes many water-loving species which grow well in very wet or even boggy conditions. These include laevigata, pseudacorus, virginica, versicolor and sibirica iris.
However, given regular watering every 10 days or so, these irises can also grow perfectly happily in a mixed border. Their delicate vertical foliage, very disease-resistant, adds an excellent decorative effect to your plantings. It is also possible to combine them with tall plants like hemerocallis, or bushy ones like peonies.