Irises forum: Easy iris for a newbie

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Name: Judy
Simpsonville SC (Zone 7b)
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SCButtercup
Jul 13, 2012 9:43 PM CST
Until I discovered this forum I'd resigned myself to not growing iris. I am a great gardener with lush veggie and perennial gardens, even got into brugs and plumeria with great success...but all the iris I own rarely blooms so I dug them all out. To be fair, they were all free handouts from an acquaintance who has beautiful gardens; she gave me a bag of them and i just planted them. Some flowered, but as the years go by fewer and fewer. Now I hear that I should have divided then? Teach me!
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Jul 14, 2012 2:31 AM CST
Hi Judy...Welcome.....I'm guessing that you are referring to Tall Bearded Iris but if not let us know and we will respond. Iris are pretty forgiving but do respond to a little good culture. They like a sunny location with well prepared soil. Your soil must be good if you have a great vegetable garden. They do like to be divided...some people do it as often as yearly but every 2 to 4 years is more common. A mature healthy iris fan will bloom and produce increase one year. The next year the original fan will not bloom but last years increase, if well grown will bloom and again will produce increase. These will bloom the following year and the cycle will continue. The idea is to dig and remove the old center and replant the new large fans with strong healthy foliage. Iris will bloom without feeding but will reward fertilization. Something not to high in nitrogen is best...5-10-5 for example. A top dressing around plants in early spring and after bloom give good results. Do not cut foliage back after bloom as it will help grow next years bloom. When dividing and replanting trim the leaves back half way. You can move iris most any time the ground isn't frozen but after bloom into fall is best in my opinion. Hope this helps.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Judy
Simpsonville SC (Zone 7b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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SCButtercup
Jul 14, 2012 11:45 AM CST
That's helpful. Some were tall bearded iris but there was another smaller iris, maybe Dutch iris? I still have a few of each. Maybe this fall I'll dig them out, divide and give them their own garden patch with a bunch of my homemade compost. Then I should see a few blooms next spring.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
Tomato Heads Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Plays in the sandbox
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Paul2032
Jul 14, 2012 12:14 PM CST
Dutch Iris are bulbous iris, planted from bulbs in the fall like tulips and daffs. Your other one could have been Siberians or Spuria or several others. Those do not require dividing as frequently.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
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PollyK
Jul 15, 2012 9:35 AM CST
Great advice from Paul, as always, and I want to add, the rhizomes (base of the iris) need to be sitting so the top is above ground. My granddaughter says like a duck on water. They won't flower if too deep.

If possible you could take a photo of the existing ones for us, and maybe we could see something else to address?

But, welcome. You'll definitely learn how to grow good irises from the posters on here.

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