Origin: Semi-deserts of the Near East and central Asia.
Although they have beards, they are not classified with bearded irises because they are so different. Pure arils include two main groups: Regelias with long, narrow petals and Oneocylus with wider, domed petals.
Arilbreds are crosses between arils and bearded irises, combining the best of both. They have exotic flowers with soft muted colors and dark velvet signals. Some varieties have distinctive veining. Height for arils varies from 8 to 18 inches; for arilbreds, from 12 to 34 inches.
Keep rhizomes dry and cool until planting time. Do not refrigerate.
Plant in September and October.
Arils thrive in sandy soil. Arilbreds can be planted with the bearded. Prepare soil at least 2 weeks before planting. Arils thrive in sandy soil. Arilbreds can be planted with the bearded. Prepare soil at least 2 weeks before planting.
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(photos courtesy of Rick Tasco of Superstition Iris Gardens)
Add fertilizer high in phosphorus; follow product directions for amount to use. Work amendments into the soil to a depth of 12 inches.
Spacing depends on the variety: about 18 to 24 inches apart for the larger ones, closer for the smaller ones. Arils prefer to be left undisturbed for several years.
Remove dried roots from rhizomes. Plant just below soil surface; spread remaining roots underneath. Pack soil firmly around rhizomes to eliminate air pockets.
Water deeply to settle soil and plants. Keep soil damp until new growth shows. Once established, water less often. In the spring, supply moisture through bloom season. They require less water during summer months.
When danger of frost is past, begin feeding at 2 to 3 week intervals and continue through bloom. Use all-purpose water soluble plant food high in phosphorus at the manufacturer’s recommended amount.
Arils and Arilbreds add a delightful accent to a desert landscape.
Photo courtesy of Rick Tasco at Superstition Iris Gardens (‘Sand Dancer’ AB 2021)