Plant of the month: Iris 'George'

A royal welcome for a delightful spring flower

Iris 'George' and Arum italicum 'Marmoratum'Sharing a name with a future monarch, ‘George’ has princely qualities. Its deep violet purple flowers comprise of three horizontally spreading outer petals (standards) which sit crown-like upon three larger, golden-centred inner petals. A wealth of flowers erupts from deep green sword-shaped leaves.

Reaching just 12cm in height by 8cm across, 'George' is pretty tiny - but what it lacks in size it makes up for in bright colours and rich perfume.

Iris ‘George’ belongs to the ‘Reticulata’ group of irises. These early-flowering dwarf bulbous varieties take their name from the netting that surrounds each bulb. They are among the first to brave the late winter weather, and herald springtime’s approach.

This AGM winning plant flowers from late January to early March at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, forming regal purple carpets along the Winter Walk, helping to highlighting the bright coloured stems of dogwoods and early spring flowering shrubs. ‘George’ can be planted to great effect at the front of borders or used to exploit bare soil among deciduous shrubs. These miniature iris also look great in terracotta pots, top dressed with gravel. They can be grown within a cool glasshouse or outside on a windowsill and even cut for flower arrangements.

Irises do best in well-drained, moderately fertile, neutral, or slightly acidic soil, and are fully frost hardy. They prefer full sun to light dappled shade and they require long hot summers to thrive and flower well. ‘George’ can be seed sown or planted as bulbs; this is best done from midsummer to early autumn. Bulbs should be planted 10cm to 5cm apart, at a depth of twice the height of each bulb. Feeding with a high potash fertiliser encourages large bulbs to form. Irises will produce more flower if dug up and replanted every three years.

See also

RHS advice: bulbs

Buy a range of irises direct from RHS Plants

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