The Plantsman’s Nursery

Iris

Irises are a particular passion for us at Woottens. We grow over 3 acres of Bearded Iris, Iris sibirica and Iris spuria as well as over 30 other species in pots. Michael Loftus began his collection of Bearded Iris over 20 years ago with many modern introductions including fabulous creations from Schreiners Nursery in Oregon but also a rare collection of historic varieties. Over the years Woottens have begun to favour the elegant form and sweet scent of these classic bearded Irises and our collection has evolved to include over 200 different varieties of historic Irises.

Woottens Iris Collections – Click image to view or buy

  • beardedIris
  • irisSibirica
  • irisSpuria
  • irisEnsata
  • otherIrisSpecies
  • Pelargoniums

Woottens Iris Encyclopaedia

Read on to find out more about Irises, the different species and how to grow them

The Iris genus includes over 300 different species these are split into two main groups that we can grow in the UK– Bulbous Irises and Rhizomatous Irises. Within these two groups there are many more categories, at Woottens we grow over 30 different species spread over the two groups, most of these can be seen in the table below in their retrospective groups.

irisMainGenus

As the name denotes a Bulbous Iris has a ‘bulb’ which is a set of modified leaves designed to be a storage organ for food. Whereas a Rhizomatous Iris has a ‘rhizome’ which is a modified stem, again designed to store the plants food.

  • Bulbous Iris bulb

  • Rhizomatous Iris

  • The Iris flower has 3 upper petals are known as ‘standards’, 3 lower petals known as ‘falls’ and 3 inner petals known as ‘style arms’. Each fall as a marking at the top called a beard, or in ‘beardless Irises’ this is called a ‘signal’ – it is said to be an indicator to pollinating insects as to where to find the pollen.
  • Iris flower

Within different species the size of petals varies. For example, on a typical Bearded Iris the standards are tall, the falls long and the style arms short and tucked away on the inside of the standards. On a Japanese Iris – or Iris ensata the falls are wide, sometimes reaching 30cm in width and the standards are very short.

When does each species bloom?

It is often said that Irises have a short flowering period. However if chosen selectively and correctly it is possible to have a species or variety of Iris in bloom in your garden every month of the year. See the images below as to which species flower in which month. As with any plant do bear in mind that flowering is dependent on our climate and having the correct environment and care for that plant.

  • january
  • february
  • march
  • april
  • may
  • june
  • july
  • august
  • september
  • october
  • november
  • december

Which species should grow in my garden?

As with any plant it is important that you know which Iris will thrive in your garden. Although there are many variables to this point – below is a rough guide as to what to look out for when buying Irises in accordance to your garden.
Where a plant is indicated in a ‘grey text’ this means the plant will grow but may need some extra care to get established and may not thrive as well as other environments

Soil Type

Free Draining Dry Sand Good Loam Clay Boggy
Bearded Iris Bearded Iris Bearded Iris Bearded Iris
Iris sibirica Group Iris sibirica Iris sibirica Iris sibirica Iris sibirica
Iris spuria Iris spuria Iris spuria Iris spuria
Iris ensata Iris ensata Iris ensata Iris ensata
Iris pseudacorus Iris pseudacorus Iris pseudacorus Iris pseudacorus Iris pseudacorus
Iris forrestii Iris forrestii
Iris unguicularis Iris unguicularis Iris unguicularis
Iris lazica Iris lazica Iris lazica
Dutch Iris Dutch Iris
Iris reticulata Group Iris reticulata Group
Juno Iris Juno Iris
Iris foetidissima Iris foetidissima Iris foetidissima Iris foetidissima

Aspect

Full Sun Part Shade Shade Frost pocket Like shelter
Bearded Iris
Iris sibirica Group Iris sibirica Iris sibirica
Iris spuria Iris spuria Iris spuria
Iris ensata Like ensata Like ensata
Iris pseudacorus Iris pseudacorus Iris pseudacorus Iris pseudacorus
Iris forrestii Iris forrestii Iris forrestii Iris forrestii
Iris unguicularis Iris unguicularis
Iris lazica Iris lazica Iris lazica
Dutch Iris Dutch Iris Dutch Iris
Iris reticulata Group Iris reticulata Group Iris reticulata Group Iris reticulata Group Iris reticulata Group
Juno Iris Juno Iris Juno Iris
Iris foetidissima Iris foetidissima Iris foetidissima Iris foetidissima

Iris Events & Societies

Woottens Bearded Iris Open Fields

May/June
Every year we open our Iris fields for viewing – see our Events Page for this year’s dates and details

Our acres of Bearded Irises are open each spring from the end of May until mid-June for Iris enthusiasts to view and, if you wish, order plants to be lifted in the late summer for you.
Each year there are over two acres of scent and colour to meander around at your leisure.
Artists are welcome to come and paint the Irises and photographers also*
When possible we have staff attending the area to give advice and chat about our Irises.
In 2015 an exclusive area of the fields was replanted in chronological order to display the differences in breeding between the 17th and 21st Centuries.

We grow over 200 different ‘Historic Irises’ from many wonderful breeders including:

  • Cedric Morris
  • Sir Michael Foster
  • Arthur Bliss
  • Keith Salter
  • Sass Brothers
  • William Caparne

You can read more about our Historic Irises on our Bearded Iris page.

Opening Dates and Times

See our Events Page for this year’s dates and details.
The opening times each year are weather dependent, for example a cold spring will mean the plants bloom later and a warm spring will encourage earlier flowering. Sadly severe rainfall and high winds can easily decimate our exposed fields but on majority of occasions we will still open the fields for those who have travelled to see them.

The dates usually run from the last weekend in May for 3 weeks into June. During these dates the fields are open from 10am-4pm everyday including weekends. Last entry is at 3.30pm.
Entry is free and any donations made go to the NGS.

Iris Field Etiquette

When visiting the Iris Fields we ask customers to please adhere to the following practises:

Wear sensible clothing & footwear. The area is an uneven working field and precautions must be taken at all times to mind your step.

Not all plants in the fields are for sale. When visiting if you are thinking of ordering Irises ALWAYS collect an Iris availability list from a staff member or from the information point.
The field itself is where
ALL our Iris plants grow including our stock and rare plants which aren’t all for sale
Many customers also pre order Irises before the fields open and also during the opening days so the Irises you view may already be reserved for another customer.

Keep all dogs on leads and children under control. Whilst we welcome dogs and children to the site the Iris fields are not a playground. Please clean up after your dog and ensure they stay on a lead as we have chickens on site. Children must not run in and out of the rows as they can damage the plants

Iris positions Although the fields are labelled with the Irises names and positions it is very difficult for us to remember the positions of over 1000 different plants so please have patience when you ask ‘where is Jane Philips planted’ as we may not know that position instantly!

Travelling from afar? It is wise to ring the nursery before travelling some distance to view the fields especially if we’ve suffered recent bad weather as there may be little to see.
Also do bear in mind that Bearded Irises are not native to the UK and they flower when they choose. So please don’t be disappointed if the Iris you have come to view has gone over, there are hundreds more to appreciate.

Iris Societies & Other information

Iris Society Website
HIPS Website
American Iris Society Website

© IRISES & PELARGONIUMS LTD Trading as Woottens of Wenhaston 2016 - 2017 | REG: 10235687