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A popular plant among all botanists and horticulturists, irises find themselves planted all over the world for their showy blooms and excellent foliage.

Irises tolerate nearly every type of gardening soil, as long as it's well draining. They will survive at high altitudes and provide amazing sources of nectar early in the growing season for pollinators. A bonus is that they are also deer resistant!

One interesting quality of irises is their ability to clean water when planted close to fresh water sources. They are so proficient at growing near water sources that the yellow iris finds itself on a list of banned plants in many places in the United States due to blocking drainage ways. That being said, this aspect of irises should not be overlooked. Sepp Holzer, in his book on Permaculture, often states how he grows these incredible flowers near streams and ponds for specifically this reason.

Artists throughout the last few centuries have been intrigued by this beautiful flower, making it the subject of many famous pieces of art, including several by Vincent Van Gogh. If you have seen these in person you will understand why. The blooms are often larger than a human hand and the color is a vibrant pop of color early in the growing season.

Pollinators also notice this plant quite readily, being a favorite of many beneficial insects. For this reason alone I would recommend that you try your hand at being an iris enthusiast, as the world can use as many pollinators as it can get at this point.


Be sure to like, share, and subscribe to High Altitude Homestead for more plants well suited for growing in montane environments.

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