Iris is a popular plant species belonging to the flowering plants, with an approximate genus of around 300 species. Iris is a Greek word that defines a beautiful rainbow; it was the name of the Greek Goddess of the rainbow. The flower was hence named after it as it also has a variety of colors that bloom through the plant, just like a rainbow.
Where Does it Grow Best?
Iris is known to grow best in the European and Asian subcontinents, and few of the species are only produced in the United States. However, Irises are imported and planted in gardens worldwide to enhance beautification and generate a remarkable appearance where necessary.
Why Do Irises Bloom the Best in Asia and Europe?
The iris plant loves the sun. Therefore, European and Asian climate suits its best. The plant requires an adequate amount of sunlight, which might be a lot if it was in the African countries, or too little if it was in the United States. Therefore, the continents in the middle provide it with the exact amount of sunlight it needs.
However, iris plants are exported to different regions of the world so that they will not compromise their growth requirements. But after some time, it is witnessed as not blooming to the maximum as it should have. There are multiple reasons behind this, which will be discussed in detail in this blog so that you can take care of your precious plant properly.
Possible Reasons Why the Iris has Stopped Blooming
Iris plants and flowers gained popularity for two things, their vibrant colors and their exceptional blooms. A common Iris flower blooms for some years if it is adequately taken care of, but slight changes in conditions can result in a considerable growth failure. The factors that might act as the possible reason behind it are discussed below;
No Proper Light
Before planting the iris culture anywhere, you must be sure that the specific area has access to an adequate amount of sunlight for at least 6 hours of the day. You will be able to witness whether it is getting a good amount of the sun or not by the frequency of its bloom.
Suppose you live in an area where the sun rays are incredibly harsh and will burn through anything. In that case, it is suggested that instead of planting the Iris directly into the ground, place it in a big plant pot and only let it soak in the sun when the grueling hours are over.
If you witness that your plant is in the sun and is not blooming, the possible causes might be that the sun is too harsh and exceeds the required limit or the rays are too light that they are not fulfilling the requirement.
Inadequate Watering Schedules
Watering with just the right amount required makes the iris bloom properly for a long time. However, being sure of the amount is the actual task. Excessive and inadequate amounts of water; are both undesirable conditions for maintaining the proper growth of the plant.
Overwatering the plant leads to rotten roots, which gives further chances to different fungi to spread harmful diseases in the plant’s rhizome. You should not take these fungal diseases lightly as they can be fatal to the plant and the surrounding soil.
If you are not watering your plant adequately, it will cause sudden wilting of the plant and shedding of the leaves. In extreme cases, the plant will not bloom further as its nutrition is inadequate.
There are a few reasons why your Iris is not blooming after it has caught a plant infection. If you are overwatering your plant, it will enhance the tendency of the roots to rot and be prone to fungal diseases. And being unaware of this fungal disease can give it a chance to spread to other healthy iris plants in your garden/pots.
Certain insects produce a rich, sugary liquid (honeydew) that attracts harmful fungi. These fungi further settle into the plant, infecting them with fatal diseases. The plant will silently drain its resources and stress from the inside, causing it to stop blooming suddenly, and eventually, it will die out.
Few pests and insects hunt the sap of different flowering plants, especially the Iris. They have a naturally sharp and pointed antenna through which they pierce tiny holes into it and suck out all of the plant’s sap.
Once the sap, the plant’s total energy, is drained out, it does not have further energy to bloom as it was supposed to. These are not the only things that the insects or pests do, and they also leave a residue known as honeydew that further attracts different fungi, opening the pathway to fungal diseases. It is how the sap-sucking pests inhibit the growth of the iris plant.
Too Old to Grow
Generally, iris plants are known to age well, and throughout their life, they are known to bloom spectacularly. If you suddenly witness your flower degenerate, it might be because its prime growth time is complete.
When the iris plant is in the second phase of its life, it will stop blooming, growing, or spreading any further as it is now too old and doesn’t seem to tend to grow as it did in the past.
As we know, there are around 300 iris plant species, and the Siberian Iris has a specific growth pattern in which a ring of the young patch with healthy and fresh rhizomes grows around the old rhizome as it slowly degenerates. This natural artistic process of growth and degeneration seems like a ceremonial ritual that bids farewell to the dying plant.
When you have witnessed this type of growth in your culture, it is the exact time to discard the degenerated plant and divide the younger ones into different sections so they can start growing independently without having to go through overcrowding.
Excessive Nitrogen in Soil
Sometimes, the soil is rich in nitrogen, and we are unaware of it. The iris plant is slightly sensitive to the amount of nitrogen in the planted ground as it inhibits its proper growth and the blooming process.
The plant requires a good percentage of phosphorus, nitrogen, and other nutrients that help it bloom. Slight changes in soil condition might permanently stop the plant from blooming and foliage rather than flowering.
The plant blooms best in an acidic soil environment as it allows blooming correctly along with the organic compost.
Overly Crowded Environment
If you love your irises, you must understand that they hate crowds! Too many iris planted together might look appealing and beautiful if you imagine it, but in reality, it will lead to diminished blooming of the plant.
The reason behind it is that once all of the iris planted together start to grow, their rhizome will start competing just like survival of the fittest, and the distribution of nutrients, water, etc., will be inadequate, causing some of them to bloom spectacularly while the others wilt.
Another common and hidden cause of your Iris not blooming is the health conditions of the plant’s rhizome. The health of the rhizome is proportional to the ability of the flower to bloom properly.
When the rhizome is not healthy, it will start smelling foul, and you will be able to observe spots in different regions of the plant. It might also discolor the plant; these are the signs that your plant’s rhizome is in an unhealthy condition, and you must take measures before it dies.
If you observe that the plant is out of shape and doesn’t even look like an iris, it is time to bid farewell to it as it might spread the disease to other cultures.
Inadequate Planting Depth
The iris plant’s bulb/rhizome needs to be planted carefully at a proper depth, or it will diminish its ability to bloom properly. If you have produced the rhizome deep into the soil, it will only grow till the shoot, without flowers.
Planting the bulbs shallow will not generate the growth process, and it will waste your culture. The proper way to produce it is that the top third of the plant stays above the ground, and the rest is covered adequately in the soil and watered.
Bad Fertilizer Selection
Not all fertilizers will aid in the growth and bloom process of your plant, and some will disrupt the soil acidity and fluctuate with the nutrient requirement of the plant, causing it to diminish the flowering growth.
You must avoid fertilizers rich in nitrogen as they are unnecessary and harmful to the plant’s growth. Before buying a fertilizer, ensure it only has a 5;10;10 ratio of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium.
Another practice to avoid is sprinkling the fertilizer on top of the rhizomes, which will only damage the bulb. Instead, spread it around the culture and water them right after the process; the watering will help mix the fertilizer with the soil and hence generate the blooming process properly.
Sometimes, the iris plants stop blooming when there is a change in weather conditions in your area. For example, you planted the culture in summer and witnessed a good bloom in the flowers. However, in the winters, the plants have started to diminish or not bloom any further. It is because of the weather conditions. Due to this, it might go into a period of dormancy until it gains access to the summer season.
How to Solve Iris Problems?
After going through each reason why your iris might not be blooming, you might have now ruled out the causes. Now let’s take a look at all the possible solutions to help your plant restore its bloom and growth;
Place the Plant Where There is Adequate Sunlight
The iris plant requires six hours of proper sunlight, which is neither too harsh nor too diffused. If your area has short sunlight hours, consider shifting the pot to a place where the sunlight isn’t too much, or you can let the plant rest in the sun during the hours in which the sun is in warm condition.
Follow the Watering Rule
It is essential to have complete knowledge about the species of Iris you have planted, as different irises have different requirements. You can always try the watering method that works best on every plant;
- Dig your fingers one or two inches deep into the soil.
- If the ground feels moist, do not water it.
- If the floor feels dry, water the plant but do not overwater it.
- Ensure that the water is not dripping from the soil bed, as it might be a sign of overwatering.
Keep an Eye Out
Keep checking your plant thoroughly as insects and pests might not be their best friends. If you observe problems flying around, get a mild pesticide and spray it over the plant.
Keep checks regarding discoloration or spotting on the plant as it may be the sign that the plant has acquired any fungal disease or either pest has attacked the flower. In case of wilting, spotting, or changing the plant’s shape, quickly consider taking it out and discarding it. It may spread the disease to other plants.
Do Random Soil Tests
Maintain a habit of doing random soil tests after every few weeks. It will keep you informed of the soil’s condition, whether it is nutrient-rich or lacking essential nutrients. Or whether the soil environment is acidic or has shifted to neutral or nitrogenous.
If you witness a change in soil conditions, consider neutralizing the soil back to the Environment or shifting the plant before it starts to inhibit further plant growth.
Place the Plants Apart From Each Other
If overcrowding is why your plants aren’t blooming properly, consider dividing them into different sections and helping them grow. You can do it simply by taking out units between the plant culture and planting them further away where they can spread and grow freely the way they like.
Use Appropriate Fertilizers Only When Required
Fertilizers should not be used when they aren’t required as they disrupt the soil’s acidity and nutrient level. Avoid nitrogen-based fertilizers at all costs, as the iris plant is not a big fan of nitrogenous nutrients.
Knowing about your plant species and its requirements is necessary to keep them actively blooming throughout the year. Help your plants grow and spread naturally till their maturation years by following these simple steps. We hope this blog holds adequate information to know why your irises aren’t blooming as they should and what steps can be taken to help them regain their strength to grow and bloom as they should.