Grow dwarf irises for early spring color! These irises are only 4-5 inches tall and bloom solitary flowers in early March in my zone 7 Virginia garden. Also known as netted iris, Iris reticulata are very small bulbs, covered with a fibrous netting. There are many cultivars; flower colors range from light to dark blue or light to dark purple. Preferring full sun and well-drained soil, they thrive in rock gardens, on steps and terraces, in containers, and can even be forced to bloom indoors in pots. The flowers can be cut for small desk top vases, bringing early spring cheer to the office or home. Now is the time to plant spring blooming bulbs – visit your local garden center to get these small ones or order from a nursery that specializes in bulbs. Buy at least a handful and plant with roots pointing down, spike pointing up, about three inches deep and three inches apart. Hardy to zone 5, they die back in the summer and come back in the spring every year. In my garden, ‘J.S. Dijt’ and ‘Harmony’ have thrived for 6 years with no pests or diseases. You can grow that!
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