Iris reticulata is a deciduous bulbous plant, native to Europe and Asia, particularly widespread in the Caucasus area; the bulbs, of medium size, produce long leaves of light green color, shiny and fleshy, cylindrical, erect, 15-25 cm long; from late winter to the beginning of spring they produce long stems on which flowers with a diameter of 8-10 cm bloom, consisting of 6 petals, three facing upwards, three with the outer edge facing downwards. These irises have very showy flowers, blue-violet, with golden-yellow streaks and white or purple spots, delicately scented; there are numerous hybrid varieties, with light blue, white or purple flowers. They are very suitable as a border and in flower beds, they are cultivated for the beauty of the flowers, but also for the early flowering and the contained dimensions. When the leaves begin to dry it is possible to cut them at ground level. For a better effect it is advisable to place these bulbous plants in a group.
For an optimal growth of the plant, place the iris reticulata in a sunny or partially shaded place; they are plants that do not like the complete shadow. Generally they do not fear the cold, if left in their place these bulbs easily overgrow, producing each year new flowers with a unique beauty and bright purple-bluish colors.
Like many other bulbous plants also these irises are generally satisfied with the rains, favored by the fact that during the period of greatest development the season is usually rainy and not too hot. The bulbs kept in pots may need regular watering, from January to April, leaving the soil to dry well between one watering and another. In general, they can still endure even long periods of drought without encountering particular problems.
These irises prefer loose and very well drained soils, they have proven to be able to develop without problems even in rocky or stony soils; they grow better in calcareous soils, although they can also be adapted to heavy soils and the common garden soil. When planting them in the autumn it is advisable to add some ripe organic fertilizer to the soil; this operation can be repeated every 5-6 months.
The multiplication of the species generally occurs by seed, although it is easier and faster to obtain new plants by removing the bulbils, which each bulb produces each year; this operation is generally carried out at the beginning of the autumn season. In any case, every 6-7 years it is always advisable to thin out the bulbs, since too many neighboring bulbs can depress flowering.
Iris reticulata: Pests and diseases
Typically, the plants of iris reticulata they are not frequently hit by parasites or diseases; bulbs grown in very humid areas can rot more easily during the winter or spring months. So pay attention to water stagnation and too intense humidity.