How Iris Fanciers Stage Bearded Irises

March 20, 2018 in Gardening by Christine

Everything You Need To Know About Showing Bearded Irises

Iris experts, who grow Irises for showing, have their Iris planting complete by Christmas each year. This will give the Bearded Iris the longest growing time possible to produce quality flowering stems.

To groom a bearded Iris for showing, a good sharp small pair of pointy scissors is needed.

To stage an Iris for the show bench to high standard, these are the things you need to know.

  • First the flower stem that you decide to pick from your garden should have good branching stems. (the side branches or flowers should not touch or be too close to the main stem)
  • When putting the stalk into the vase make sure that the “V” the last big outward branch off the main stem is placed a fraction higher than the top of the vase, otherwise you will lose points.
  • The flowering stems should be strong and sturdy. The flower stem can be strait or curved naturally not bent over.
  • The Iris flower stem on show should show as many of its very first flowers opened and not the last flowers in the socket. If you can get three first flowersGroom TB Iris flowers standards falls foliage for showing opened at one time you could be a winner, so aim for the first flowers even if there are only one or two open, this can be better than the second or third flowers.
  • Flowers should look bright, clean and sharp, with both top and bottom petals having a fresh display of petals with no marks, holes or tears and the flowers should not have a muddy look.
  • Display quality large tall bearded iris flowers and not poor neglected flowers that are loose, withered or damaged.
  • The flowers out on display should not be crowded.
  • The flower stem that you show should have good branching.
  • You can fix and trim the bearded Iris leaves if they have rough edges, the leaf at the bottom V grows too long, trim it to its proper shape, so that any alterations blend in and are not noticed.
  • It is important to trim the floral bract that covers the outer surface of the ovary, so it is not puckered up and looks clean, flat and tidy, this is the brown protective papery covering that surrounds beneath the open flower bud, photo description.
  • Make sure that the vase contains plenty of water so that the green floral foam insert can keep the flowering stem upright in its perfect spot, this will also keep the show stem watered and in top condition.
  • Set the vase of flowers at an angle that best shows the flowers off to the flower judge.
  • These flowers are sometimes staged over night or one day before a show, so the flowers must be at their best condition for flower showing to last the experience.
  • If you are staging a single bearded iris you must pull off every bud and flower other than the flower you are showing and make it so it sits in the single flower vase within 2cm from the bottom of the spathe.
  • Try not to touch the top of stem, it will leave your fingerprints so handle the stem down low below the bottom branch as this part of the stem will be in the vase water in time.

You can delay or make your flowers open at a specific date by popping them in the fridge or into a warm room, for a day or two either way, practice makes a perfect event. All these things above matter but the actual colour of an Iris Germanica is last on the list and maybe the deciding factor unless the flower has faded. Bearded iris can produce double and triple, up to 4 flowers per socket, some Iris varieties can also shoot up 2 stems per rhizome.

Click here to find out good cultivars and my experiences of showing Bearded Iris

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