Irises forum: getting your new irises going

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Name: Richard
Joshua Tree (Zone 9a)
Birds Irises Ponds Orchids
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creativeclover
Jul 25, 2015 6:29 AM CST
The question I have is for the ones who have gotten boxes from others or orders from one of the mail order iris sellers. I heard or have seen some on here who soak the rhizomes for a day or so. When you get the irises, are you suppose to soak them, or do you plant them right away? Wjats the proper procedure. I am used to just getting plants at the garden center (all irises were already planted here though long time ago).
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Jul 25, 2015 7:23 AM CST
As you gain experience, you'll be *better placed* to decide which need "planted out", and which might need a bit more TLC, but, with a bit of extra care.....they all can be planted in the garden. here's my method.
For 'freshly dug" rhizomes.......maybe a week, out of the ground, *probably" given a bleach water dip when they were dug, I give them a quick dip in 10% bleach water , ONLY if I suspect there might be a problem (i.e. obvious insect, or disease damage to the rhizome), and by "quick", I mean , maybe 2 minutes. Then, they go into a bucket of water, to which I've added a dose of Miracle Grow ( 1 tablespoon to 2 gallons of water), where I let them soak (some soak only the roots, and don't let the rhizomes or leaves get submerged...I soak the whole thing !) for an hour (approximately ....a minimum of 1/2 hour, surely, and a maximum of 10-12 hours). When I prepare the planting "hole", I mix either alfalfa pellets, or meal, into the soil.......i.e. I dig a hole 4"-5" deep, and wide, throw in a handful of pellets, rake about half the soil back into the home, and give it a good "stir" with my trowel........how many roots, and the condition of the roots will dictate whether they can be spread out into the hole, and then "back-filled with the remainder of the soil, or, whether (in the case of "almost no viable roots"), you just fill in the remainder of the soil, and rake up enough surrounding soil to make a small hill, maybe an inch and a half higher than the actual soil level, and place the rhizome. In the case of 'no roots (or very closely trimmed roots") you will need to either 'pin" the rhizome to the ground (landscape pins, pieces of coat hanger wire, bent into a candy cane shape) or have a small rock to sit on top of the rhizome to hold it in place) . I sprinkle a very small amount (1 tablespoon) of 5-27-5 fertilizer around the rhizome (try not to actually get it in direct contact with the rhizome. Water the area well (I use the water/ Miracle Grow mix that I used for soaking), and move to the next one !
In the case of very small, very dry, or really damaged rhizomes, the onlyb thing that really changes, is I *may * give them all a 10-12 hour soak, and plant them in pots, using the "lightest" potting medium I can get...mixed with a small handful of alfalfa, watered in with the same solution of MG, and then the pots are placed in a "mostly shade" situation ( or, "filtered" shade) until I see signs of new growth, then into a sun situation , for several weeks, then into the garden.
In the ground, or in the pot, I keep the rhizome watered.....when the top 1" of soil is dry, I water......in hot , dry weather....that may be every day....when signs of growth are seen.....you can stop watering as often.
There are as many methods as there are gardeners, and the trick is to find what works for you, in your dirt, and climate....and, what fits your schedule. Good Luck !
Name: Richard
Joshua Tree (Zone 9a)
Birds Irises Ponds Orchids
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creativeclover
Jul 25, 2015 8:04 AM CST
Thanks Arlyn. It does help.
Name: Patrick
Toms River, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Dog Lover Irises Orchids Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Lilies
Roses
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Denman55
Jul 25, 2015 9:01 AM CST
Thank You, Arlyn, that was an excellent report to share with all of us. I for one learned a lot. Thank You!
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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janwax
Jul 25, 2015 11:04 AM CST
I've noticed a difference in planting directions from different sellers. Some say to give the plant roots a soak, and my most recent delivery
said not to soak them. but to get them in the ground right away. Arlyn's right. Each gardener has to learn what works for them!
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jul 25, 2015 3:13 PM CST
I agree with Arlyn AND Jan. It depends on how dry the roots are if I soak them or not. If I plant immediately I will keep the soil around them wattered until I think they have started roots.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
Bulbs Foliage Fan Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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Henhouse
Jul 25, 2015 3:32 PM CST
I soak in a bleach solution when they arrive for about 20 minutes-half hour. This is how long Joe Ghio says to do. Then I throw them in a bucket of clear water to rinse off the bleach. I pot almost all mine up first. Because of our water situation, I can control the water better in a pot than I can in the ground. I add about a teaspoon of bonemeal to the soil in the bottom half of the pot and lightly mix it in with my fingers. Add more soil, spread out the roots, and barely cover the rhizome. Hopefully, by fall (late September thru late October), I'll know how and where I'm going to arrange them and get them in the ground. They should have nice roots by then.
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
Name: Teresa
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Irises Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies
Region: United States of America Garden Photography Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Cat Lover Heucheras
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bluegrassmom
Jul 26, 2015 3:01 AM CST
When you say pot them up, are you using reg potting soil?

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