Companion Planting: Enhancing Your Garden with Bearded Irises

Imagine transforming your garden into a vibrant oasis filled with the beauty and elegance of bearded irises. These majestic flowers not only bring a touch of enchantment to any landscape but also thrive in hot and dry conditions. In this article, we will explore the world of companion planting with bearded irises, discovering the perfect plant partners to create a stunning and harmonious garden.

Bearded Irises in Dry Borders: A Perfect Match

When designing a planting scheme for bearded irises, it’s essential to select companion plants that share their love for hot and drought-like conditions. By doing so, you ensure a seamless and visually captivating display throughout the summer season.

Alliums: A Harmonious Partnership

One plant that pairs exceptionally well with bearded irises is the allium. These captivating flowers not only thrive in dry conditions but also provide a delightful display with their minimal leaf growth and beautiful flower spikes that dry gracefully as the season progresses. Experiment with a mix of early-blooming varieties to precede your irises, simultaneous bloomers for a synchronized spectacle, and late-flowering types to extend the floral showcase.

Captivating Grasses and Lillies

Incorporating grasses into your planting scheme is another excellent choice to complement bearded irises. These ornamental grasses add texture and movement to your garden while continuing to bloom throughout the season and well into autumn. Opt for varieties that won’t overpower the irises, ensuring a harmonious coexistence. Daylilies, with their wide range of colors, can provide a stunning visual impact once the bearded irises have finished flowering. Additionally, geums, when dead-headed, produce abundant summer blooms. Be sure to choose compact forms of these plants to prevent shading.

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The Possibilities Are Endless

Let your imagination run wild as you explore the vast array of companion plants that will thrive alongside bearded irises. Consider adding Euphorbia Wulfennii, Knautica Macedonica, Teasels, Eremurus, Perovskia, Lavender, Cat Mint, Agapanthus, Artemisia, Gaura, Sea Hollies, Verbascum, Sedums, Gallardia, Lychnis Coronaria, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Phlox, Nerines, and Stipa to your garden. With such a diverse selection, you can create a truly unique and captivating landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best Conditions for Growing Bearded Irises?

To ensure the optimal growth of your bearded irises, choose a south-facing location that receives ample sunlight. These plants love to bask in the hottest spot in your garden. Additionally, they thrive in free-draining soil with a neutral pH level.

Why Do Bearded Irises Make Ideal Companion Plants?

Bearded irises not only fill the gap between spring bulbs and the exuberant summer border but also offer clear, clean colors that allow you to create a beautiful color palette. Our award-winning bearded irises can be incorporated into various planting schemes. You can mix their cool and soft colors with pastel shades for a serene ambiance or experiment with their hot and soft colors for a striking impact. Their versatility allows them to be planted in both spring and summer borders, providing endless possibilities for creating breathtaking combinations.

Are There Any Challenges When Growing Bearded Irises with Other Companion Plants?

The key to successfully growing bearded irises alongside other plants lies in selecting the right planting position. Iris rhizomes require ample sunlight to develop the flower cells for the following year, so it’s crucial to ensure they are not shaded by neighboring plants. Additionally, choose companion plants that don’t produce excessive leaf growth at ground level, such as alliums, which have proven to be an excellent companion.

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Which Type of Border Best Accommodates Bearded Irises with Other Companion Plants?

Bearded irises can shine in both spring and summer borders. In a spring border, they provide a stunning grand finale following Camassias, late-flowering tulips, narcissi, hellebores, and spring bulbs. In a summer border, bearded irises take center stage and can be followed by plants like alliums, peonies, hemerocallis, delphiniums, lupins, rudbeckia, hellenniums, and coral bells, ensuring a continuous display of blooms well into autumn.

Best Companion Plants for Bearded Irises in a Dry Border

To create a captivating dry border, consider incorporating alliums, hemerocallis, non-invasive grasses like Stipa Tenuissima, compact lavenders, perovskia, and cat mint. Agapanthus and nerines also make excellent choices to complement the bearded irises.


Bearded irises are the perfect companions for any garden, adding elegance, beauty, and a touch of magic. Whether you create a dedicated iris bed, incorporate them into a spring or summer border, or showcase them in a dry garden, these versatile flowers will not disappoint. With their clear, clean colors and countless possibilities for companion planting, our bearded irises will elevate your garden to new heights of splendor.

So, embark on this horticultural adventure, create your own color palette, and discover the joy of designing a garden that mesmerizes both the eye and the soul.

Simon Dodsworth
March 2021


Ames Farm Center