The Q&A Archives: Bearded Iris

Question: This past spring my iris bloomed well. Recently, however, my iris have developed yellowing leaves with tiny brown spots. It looks like it started with one plant and spread throughout my small iris bed. I was wondering if it might be a fungus, but this is the first time Ive grown iris and I really dont know what to do. Is it possible that it may be a disease and not a fungus? These plants were too expensive to lose.

Answer: Iris sometimes get a bacterial leaf spot, a fungal leaf spot, rust, or an infestation of thrips insects. Without a better description of the problem, it's difficult to pinpoint the problem. If you can provide full sunshine and good air circulation around the plants, you can avoid the fungal and bacterial problems. Thrips are tiny insects that jump from leaf to leaf, and are harder to control. Try to monitor your iris - as soon as you see a brown area developing on a leaf, remove that leaf to keep theproblem from spreading to other leaves. At the end of the season, after the plants have finished blooming, the leaves naturally wilt and die. Remove the dead leaves and keep the iris bed clear of all whithered leaves throughout the winter. If your iris are overcrowded, dig and divide them in late summer. Hope this information helps!

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