Elegant flowers with three hanging and three upright petals make the iris one of the most eye-catching spring flowers. There’s something regal about them, because the fleur-de-lis symbol is derived from the iris. At the same time they have a natural look, as if they could be growing amongst the reeds. Perfect for the style trend that is all about pure products with strong lines, the iris is traditionally a cut flower that can cope with mono bouquets and arrangements. Growers are now pre-treating the flowers, which has greatly enhanced the lifespan. This means that the flowers always open and they have an excellent vase life.
The iris is a member of the Iridaceae family and there are around 300 species in the wild, particularly in the northern temperate climate zones. The flowers grow from bulbs that have a talent for survival, and can cope in dry, cold and damp areas. The flower probably arose in Central Asia. The popular cultivated irises originate from bulbs that developed in Spain, Portugal and North Africa.
The most common flower is the ‘Dutch Iris Group’, with a slender and elegant stem and flower, available in many shades of blue, from sky blue to steel blue and lilac. There are also yellow, white and even bi-coloured irises. The German Iris from the ‘Germanica Group’ is offered in a wide range of colours, has coarser flowers and has threads on the lower blade that resemble a beard. They are therefore known as bearded irises.
CARE TIPS FOR PROFESSIONALS
- Trim 3-5 cm off the stems with sharp secateurs or a sharp knife. Place irises in clean buckets or vases with clean water.
- Add a preservative specially designed for bulb flowers. This food ensures that the flowers open properly and have a good vase life.
- The flowers should not be allowed to be damp as a result of excessive humidity or condensation. This will encourage botrytis, which rapidly diminishes the decorative value.
- Irises can be stored in the cold store at 2°C, preferably upright in order to prevent them growing crooked. The shorter the storage time, the better the flower will last in the vase.
DISPLAY TIPS FOR PROFESSIONALS
The most eye-catching thing about the iris are the shades of blue, which are rare amongst cut flowers and which combine beautifully with white and yellow, giving cheerful spring combinations with Forsythia and blossom branches, for example. Display them like that together on the shelf as an appealing celebration of spring. Irises are well-suited to a surprising parallel arrangement, and the strong stem makes them suitable for tall arrangements in florist foam.