How to Grow Irises in Patio Containers


If you are looking for a low maintenance plant with large and colorful blooms, look no further than the popular iris. Irises are simple to grow successfully even for the most novice gardener and come in many varieties and sizes. Grow both 8-inch tall dwarf varieties and regular types successfully in pots on patios and balconies. Sow iris rhizomes, sometimes referred to as bulbs, in late summer and early fall so they are ready for spring or early summer blooming.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot
  • Fir bark
  • Peat moss
  • Pumice
  • Iris rhizomes
  • Choose an 8-inch pot for dwarf iris or a 12-inch pot for taller varieties such as bearded iris. Pick a pot with plenty of drainage to avoid rhizome rot.

  • Fill the pot with a good draining potting soil or create your own from 45 percent fir bark, 35 percent peat moss and 20 percent pumice. Fill to within 1 inch of the container rim.

  • Plant one rhizome per pot. Sow in center of the pot with the root end in the soil. Leave the very top of the rhizome exposed.

  • Water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. Check the soil regularly with your fingers.

  • Keep the container outside during the winter months. Bring inside when buds appear on the flower stalk in the spring if desired.

  • Divide the rhizome two months after blooming every two to three years to prevent overcrowding. Dig up the rhizomes and separate. Replant the healthiest appearing rhizome in the pot. Discard, give away or plant other rhizomes in new pots.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fertilize with bone meal early spring and after blooming to encourage healthy growth.
  • Avoid over watering. Too little water is preferable to too much.

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  • Photo Credit Claudia Meyer:
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