Reblooming iris

Plant these star performers for autumnal oomph!


Iris that produce a second flush of autumnal flowers may sound like something far-fetched, but there are some varieties, particularly of bearded iris, that possess this very welcome trait.

Although no different in structure or stature to normal varieties, in autumn they produce stems from new growths that burst dramatically into bloom – just as much else in the garden is starting to wane. For maximum effect, mix them with other late-flowering plants, such as chrysanthemums, salvias or dahlias, or cut them for stunning indoor table displays.

Rebloomers, or remontant iris as they are technically known, don’t always flower reliably every year, since their ability to do this is governed by the particular variety, the weather and how healthy they are.

The new growth does not need normal winter chilling to flower, but is stimulated to do so in the cooler temperatures and moist days of autumn, and this year seems to have been good for most remontant bloomers.

With all the extra effort required, they’ll need feeding after flowering, both in spring and autumn, to build up their energy to bloom again. Use a high-potash fertiliser and work it into the soil around the exposed rhizomes.

The rhizomes should be lifted, divided and young rhizomes replanted every three to four years in July, but it may take a few months for them to re-establish and rebloom again.