The Q&A Archives: Iris Buds

Question: Hi, at the end of the season my iris buds have what looks like red seeds in them. Are these seeds and if so can I plant them? Is there a particular method you reccommend?

Answer: Reddish colored seeds would have formed about six weeks after flowering stopped, and are ready to harvest when the seed pod begins to break open. Iris can be difficult to start from seed and can take up to two years to germinate. For this reason the plants are more frequently propagated by division. If you wish to start the seeds, plant them about a half inch deep in a dampened soilless potting mix and place the pot outdoors for the winter in a sheltered location. Keep the soil damp and look for seedlings next spring. If there are no results, continue to keep the soil moist and allow it to overwinter outdoors again, watching for seedlings the following summer. You can also chill them by refrigerating them in moistened soil mix for several weeks, then bring them out under lights to germinate. This second method is usually used to start the seeds in March so that they are ready to set out into a nursery bed in the early summer. These are essentially the instructions provided by the old Thompson and Morgan seed srarting handbook.

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