Mid-South Gardening forum: Growing iris' in South Georgia

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Name: Bk
South Georgia (Zone 8a)
Flowers are God's smiles for all to
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QueenEmma
Jun 21, 2013 3:34 PM CST
Confused Well, my first try was a flop so I will try again. I am new here and need HELP growing iris' in South Georgia. I have been trying to find the right mix ect. for 3 years and this year got 4 blooms...but I don't know what I did right? Thumb of 2013-06-21/QueenEmma/b0ecd0
Confused
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jun 22, 2013 4:25 PM CST
Hi, Emma. I too live in the deep south, NE Mississippi. I am also a Certified Mississippi Master Gardener, so let's see if anything I tell you is helpful. Iris's are not something I grow a lot of, but have some in my landscape. My expertise, if I have any at all Sticking tongue out is with tropical plants, particularly orchids, plumeria, staghorn and elkhorn ferns, and fiddleleaf ficus.

Iris's need a good, organic foundation to grow and bloom well. I pretty much make my own "soils" and potting mixtures for my various plants, and for iris's I would make a mix of 1/2 garden soil (top soil will be fine), 1/4 milled sphagnum moss (peat moss will do), and 1/4 compost. If you don't have a supply of compost, use something like 'Black Kow'. You can find it at the big-box stores, such as Lowe's. That formula is not complicated and all ingredients are easy to find.

Iris's like moisture, lot's of moisture, so you want your soil to drain well but at the same time hold moisture. During the summer's heat (you have the same problem - hot) I try to water my plants every single day to keep them hydrated. Water in the early morning if possible, since the ground will not be so hot and the water will not evaporate so quickly.

In late winter, before the iris's begin to sprout, I apply a blooming fertilizer. When they sprout, I again apply this fertilizer. I don't fertilize again until they have quit blooming and then switch to a general purpose fertilizer, such as 20-20-20. I will apply that at recommended strength (generally 1 tsp/gal). I use this every-other-week for perhaps 6-8 wks. I also like Osmacote, 3 month slow release fertilizer, since I only have to apply that once. The blooming fertilizer helps with blooms and the general purpose fertilizer helps strengthen the bulb and maintain it during the fall and winter.

Some iris's will bloom just fine in part shade but some want full sun, 6-8 hrs. minimum to bloom well. It just depends on the hybrid(s) you have.

I hope this will be of some help. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Ken Zone 7b/8
Snellville, GA (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Georgia Roses Vegetable Grower
Tropicals
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riceke
Aug 22, 2013 8:06 AM CST
Hey Emma, I've always had luck with iris. Planted them in several locations from dry soil to moist, and sunny to shade and have always had blooms...except for this year. It rained so much and lack of sunshine not even one plant bloomed. So don't feel you failed maybe conditions weren't right. I also have a friend who almost had iris planted in his entire tree shade backyard and had tons of blooms, but I didn't know if he got blooms this year. Some times they have to take a year or two to get accustomed to the difference in climate. Stay with it...they'll eventually bloom.
Ken
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Sep 30, 2013 10:09 AM CST
Four blooms is great if you had 4 plants. It looks they are the bearded type with rhizomes? I wasn't sure from what you said if the Iris have been in the same place for the past 3 years, or you've moved them, trying to find the happy spot?

Some are fragrant, worth a always worth a sniff to check, BTW, IME. My Mom and I have been passing some purple ones back & forth for about 25 years, and brought some down from OH.

The bearded kind with the rhizome are susceptible to rot (anywhere that can stay moist for days at a time, or poorly drained/heavy clay soil in general) and borers (in some places) if the rhizomes are buried. Over time, they pull themselves underground, crowd themselves, and can get buried from the top by bits of leaves and wind-blown or rain-splashed grit. So every few years they get dug up and re-set.

Once the foliage is about finished, pull/dig them all up, knock the excess soil off, let dry in the shade for a day or two, if possible. Remove any that have holes, are mushy. Then sit them on the surface, burying any attached roots but not the rhizomes any more than necessary to get them to stand up. Trimming any remaining foliage to a few inches can help keep them from blowing over. Doing this in OH and AL results in a great show of flowers the following spring, unlike the "skipped a year" thing some other kinds of perennials can be expected to do.

There are other Iris with a more 'normal' looking bulb, this info doesn't apply to those, I've never had any of those.
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Sep 30, 2013 12:27 PM CST
I agree
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Bk
South Georgia (Zone 8a)
Flowers are God's smiles for all to
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QueenEmma
Nov 30, 2013 7:09 AM CST
Hi folks, this is to all the kind and informative answers I received about my iris. Yes, the information was helpful. This was their 3rd year in same place. I have since moved them into 2 long concrete containers as the one they were in was hard to keep moisture conditions correct.

I do apologize for not answering before now but have been pretty sick. I am right now in the 2nd week of my complete knee replacement and am at high risk for a deadly clot as I already had one when they started. So if I make a sentence that doesn't make sense please excuse it. Having gotten all my plants up and gathered around so my hubby can take care of them thru the winter has been a learning curve all its own. But it is done now. Group hug
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Nov 30, 2013 2:37 PM CST
Speedy recovery to you!
Name: Bk
South Georgia (Zone 8a)
Flowers are God's smiles for all to
Image
QueenEmma
Feb 1, 2014 7:33 PM CST
Thanks for all the flowers folks I have arrived on the other side of knee surgery and outside of a tendon that didn't want to let me walk (till I stretched it) I had no problems but the pain meds wiped out my mind. Couldn't put sentences together. lol So good to get back to my flowers & look at them in person. The cold didn't get any of them so I did a good job in protecting them even though we had 26 degrees and 2 weeks below or at freezing. (that was me patting myself on the back) : Hurray!
Thumb of 2014-02-02/QueenEmma/ada8c8

Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Feb 1, 2014 8:48 PM CST
Glad you're back on the mend and the flowers made it too! The temps were unusually brutal!
Name: Roberta
Cherokee Village, Ark (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Orchids Irises
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901Bertwood
Feb 2, 2014 10:21 AM CST
Hello BK, thoughts of spring helping your recovery? I bet you can't wait to get to your last frost date in your area, mine in Memphis is around Apr 11. I'm a retired Rehab Nurse so I can imagine what you have been going thru. Wonderful to have had help in getting your plants onto the sun porch, just in time! Would you want any specific info on your irises I invite you to go over to the iris forum and join us because I think you would enjoy that bunch as well as these mid-south garderners.
I grow some old bearded, not as old as yours but the DYKES medal winners mostly. Last year I had to downsize and ended up with only 4 plants in pots on my patio. I have not had a blooming season for them yet, so growing in pots is new to me too. Since my soil is heavy clay I put them in leaf mold and peat based potting soil. Don't forget the bone meal! Remember that iris are grown in test gardens all around the country, find a Ga Master Gardener in your area or possibly on your street to get info on which are doing good for them. That's how I got started and it turned into a passion.
These do well in clay.
The large yellow and purple are plants taken from my grandparents yards and are replant wherever I go, so I know they are hybrids of at least 80yrs ago and still are vigorous.
Thumb of 2014-02-02/901Bertwood/9bedd2
Then my fav is Queens Circle, does well overall but not this nice until after it's first year after transplant.
Thumb of 2014-02-02/901Bertwood/8e7a35
This was plant digging day, I had no choice but to give 90% of my iris away! but my neighbors were happy. BTW you should wait till new growth has matured and roots growing before digging, but I was having to move then.
Thumb of 2014-02-02/901Bertwood/0eb1a3
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I believe I see a large cane begonia in the sun porch, that is beautiful!
Bert

Bert
[Last edited by 901Bertwood - Feb 2, 2014 10:34 AM (+)]
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Feb 2, 2014 10:39 AM CST
I love your irises, Bert. Perhaps in my next life those will be my passion rather than tropical plants. Sticking tongue out
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Roberta
Cherokee Village, Ark (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Orchids Irises
Image
901Bertwood
Feb 2, 2014 4:22 PM CST
Ken, I was almost finished digging them all up when I got my iPad out and took those pictures. My neighbors got quite a haul! I'm feeling really sad about the ones that had to go. If I had a greenhouse business and sold my darling like you do, I'd be one sourpuss. After growing for sometimes years, it would be very hard to sell my catts!
Bert
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Feb 3, 2014 7:37 AM CST
I told you we are a lot alike!

None of my orchids were posted for sale when I first started the "business", September, 2011. What I did was divide those that were really large, and my 'Emerald Isle' was the largest, producing 34 flowers (see pic) that fall. So depending on whether or not a plant was in sheath, bud, or bloom, I began to divide most of what I had. Its not like I had a lot of orchids in my collection, only eleven plants, but they were sort of like family to me. I had them for several years and babied them while they became nice, vigorous, blooming size plants.

So in the spring, I had about doubled my collection, though I divided the 'Emerald Isle' and 'Elmhurst' into three plants, all nice size. That's when I first posted them in May, 2012. I sold all those divisions quickly but would not sell the "mother" plants. I kept telling myself "They are only plants", but to me those original eleven were more than that. In the fall/winter of 2012, I was able to divide a few again, and then in the spring of 2013, I posted those again. By that time the plug plants I had purchased in February, 2012, were getting large enough to move to 3" pots (they began in 2" pots), and I listed some of those for sale.

By the summer of 2013, I finally convinced myself to go ahead a list a few of those original eleven plants (the "They are only plants" philosophy). I sold those but have held on to four varieties from the original eleven. Now I have other blooming size plants available, so I think I will just keep those four. Also, since I had been purchasing plug/flask plants all along, I have begun to develop a "train" of plants, going from those in 2" pots to (a few) in 4" and 5" pots. I have lots of plants in 3" and 3 3/4" pots, though they are not yet blooming size. They are saleable though.

I form the same attachment for some of my old staghorn ferns and of course my 25+ year old fiddle leaf ficus. The ficus is now air-layered twice a year and she produces a few 2-3' plants twice a year. I also have three plumeria that I brought back from Maui in 1987. They were just small cuttings, but I still have those three, which are now 4" in diameter at their bases. I take cuttings from them just to keep their size under control, since they have to be moved inside during the cold months. Those cuttings are rooted and sold.


Thumb of 2014-02-03/drdawg/f62fc2

drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Roberta
Cherokee Village, Ark (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Orchids Irises
Image
901Bertwood
Feb 3, 2014 2:32 PM CST
Ah a kindred spirit! I went through a similar phase when I lived in Beaumont. But moving as often as I have, I just learned how to give away plants. There is still a core group that go with me though. My special iris pro propergate without me so I always have plenty.
Bert
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Feb 3, 2014 3:15 PM CST
Did I mention that I was born in Beaumont, at the Hotel Dieu, in 1943? Daddy was a welder at the shipyard in Beaumont, but he joined the Navy soon after I was born and went overseas, serving in the Pacific until 1945.

I wonder if that hospital still exists. In many cities in the US, Hotel Dieu was the first hospital built. The original Hotel Dieu was in Paris and still exists there. Hotel Dieu was founded in the 600's AD, has burned to the ground several times, and the present one was built in the 1800's, and though very old, it is a completely modernized hospital.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Roberta
Cherokee Village, Ark (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Orchids Irises
Image
901Bertwood
Feb 4, 2014 7:55 AM CST
You know, I had heard of that, do you think it was the old HD building downtown. I haven't been back since 1981. But orchid growing was different there, high humidity, breezes and pine tree needles. Heat limited what I could grow, I had a nice Catt violacea I remember. But we grew Japanese iris back then, they were not newer hybrids but very popular landscape plants, along with Amozon Lily. I believe the TB iris needed more of a seasonal cool dormancy to thrive well there, farther inland around Liberty, tx you start seeing TB again being robust.
BK, that maybe the trick to iris? Try the Lousiana or Japanese iris and full sun if you have access to them.
Bert
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Feb 4, 2014 8:16 AM CST
I don't know about the hospital, Bert. This was 70 years ago! I really have no memory of Beaumont, since we moved before I was 1 year old. When I tell people where I was born, they think I was born in a hotel. LOL
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Bk
South Georgia (Zone 8a)
Flowers are God's smiles for all to
Image
QueenEmma
Apr 13, 2014 7:07 AM CST
Thanks to both of you and this year my iris's are blooming again but I think right now only the yellow ones. Yes Dr. Dawg I mix my soils but didn't put any bone meal. I use a mixture of ground pure pine bark, black cow or mushroom compost, oak leaf mulch ground with lawnmower & grated Styrofoam (the kind you buy but I make it)

With huge oak trees mulching is great for me.

Have a great spring and boy am I glad to be back in the yard.....SPRING IS HERE Thank You!

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