Planting a range of bearded iris brings a succession of colour to the garden, starting in April through to June. Miniature Dwarf Bearded iris (MDB) and Standard Dwarf Bearded iris (SDB): The miniatures are the earliest type to bloom, followed by the Standard Dwarf varieties. The first are less than 8in (20cm) high in flower, and have unbranched flower stems, with one or two flowers. The blooms are usually less than 3in (8cm) wide. The SDB reach from 8-15in (21-40cm) high, with blooms less than 4in (10cm) across. They are usually more showy and longer-blooming than the earlier MDBs. This is because the stems are branched and have up to four buds in total, blooming in succession.
Intermediate Bearded iris (IB): These are next to bring colour to the borders and containers. Reaching from 15-27in (41-70cm) in height, they have a greater variety of flower types than the smaller varieties. The stems are branched, with four or five buds opening to flowers up to 5in (13cm) in diameter.
Border Bearded iris (BB): With six or more flowers per stem, these put on a later, bolder display. They are same height as the IBs, with flowers of the same diameter. Tall Bearded iris (TB) and Miniature Tall Bearded iris (MTB): The show ends with these varieties, which have seven or eight large flowers per tall stem. The MTBs grow only to 15-27in (41-70cm) high. Sometimes called table iris, these make the best cut flowers. One lovely example is ‘Bumblebee Deelite’, with red and yellow flowers.
Standard Dwarf Bearded iris ‘Bedford Lilac’.
Intermediate Bearded iris ‘Langport Pagan’.
‘Batik’, a Border Bearded iris.
‘Bumblebee Deelite’, a Miniature Tall Bearded iris.