Need Help?

Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

« Recycling Junk in the Garden. | Main | Rhododendron "Rosy Lights" Formerly Known as an Azalea »

What Happened to my Blue Dutch Irises?

As someone who loves blue flowers, I cannot find the appropriate words to describe the joy I experience when I see the blue variety of Dutch Irises in bloom. Nor can I begin to express how desolate I felt when I realized that this bulb will bloom for only two seasons here in USDA Zone 4.

Although this flower is just as important to my wife as it is to me - she used it as an accent flower in the pink-yellow-blue centerpieces for our wedding reception, many years ago - we are about to banish it from our flower beds.

The gardener, who strives to create an easy-care garden, has little interest in replanting the same spring flowering bulb each fall, or even every other fall. This hobbyist  prefers to plant a bulb, knowing that the work is an investment that will reap dividends for several years to come. That is why I plant daffodils and narcissus, species tulips, crocus, and several varieties of the Darwin hybrid tulip. All seem to re bloom for many years, just like most perennials do.

If catalogs that sell spring flowering bulbs would inform us honestly that Dutch Irises need to be replaced regularly, perhaps fewer gardeners would consider buying them. I will no longer plant them because I consider them an unwise investment and a waste of precious time and energy.

One of the joys of gardening is the thrill of what will bloom next. Anticipating the experience of seeing a spring flowering bulb in bloom and then realizing that it has withered underground forever, is not what enjoyable gardening is all about.

The other day, I received an email from a client inquiring if I had actually planted the blue Dutch Irises she had asked for, over three years ago. She knows how eager I am to please my clients, and being certain that she did ask for them, was puzzled when they did not bloom this spring. Even I was puzzled, because I remember not only her request but also the time I spent planting them. After reading her message, I went into my garden to look for the ones that bloomed there last year. The spot where they once flowered so beautifully was now bare.

In the future, there will be no more blue Dutch Iris bulbs planted in my garden or that of my clients. If I want to enjoy this flower, I will visit the nearest florist shop where the supply is more reliable. There I will choose a bouquet of the taller variety, just like the ones my wife selected for our wedding centerpieces.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (5)

I agree, grew them one year and never saw them again.


May 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGatsbys Gardens

Ah, what you need are some siberian iris. Although they are a pain in the behind to get started from bareroot (though maybe not so bad if you can find some in a pot), so maybe they wouldn't be good in your clients' gardens, just in your own. But they have the most gorgeous blues. Check out I have 'June to Remember', 'Mister Peacock', and 'Rolling River'. They are amazing!

May 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVW

I have had the same experience with the Dutch irises here in zone 7A formerly 6B. I am not sure it is a zone problem.

That's good to know about Dutch Irises. I have Siberian and several Bearded Irises that have lasted a while. Of course, they bloom for about 30 seconds, but it's a fabulous 30 seconds . . .

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

The blue dutch iris I've grown in my USDA zone 5a flourish and multiply. Perhaps it's the original and heartiest?

February 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>