Irises forum: Bone meal?

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Name: Teresa
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Irises Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies
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bluegrassmom
Sep 9, 2016 8:54 AM CST
Just wondering how many use this. If you do, could you give me some advice please. Should it be put on in the Spring or now? Or both? I was told it can help rebloomers to put up stalks in the Fall. Thanks, Teresa
Name: Greg Hodgkinson
Hanover PA (Zone 6b)
Charter ATP Member Irises I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pennsylvania Region: Japan Garden Photography
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Misawa77
Sep 9, 2016 9:09 AM CST
i don't use it. Thought this was more meant for Daffy's and such.
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Winter Sowing Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bee Lover
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IrisLilli
Sep 9, 2016 9:10 AM CST
I use it on my irises and bulbs.

I give my irises a tablespoon each mixed into the soil when I plant them out and then I give them a light sprinkle in spring, when they put up new fans and again after they are done blooming.

I'm sure there are other ways to do it - especially if you are in a different zone, but this works very well for me. Mind you, my season is short and I have only ever had 're-bloom' on newly planted irises, which have been a little confused.
You don't know if it will grow until you try!

Region: California
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UndertheSun
Sep 9, 2016 9:23 AM CST
I was told years ago by a lady who used to hybridize irises (may she rest in peace), to add a handful of bone meal in the hole and mix it in when you plant them. She had small hands, so I used to just grab "some". How's that for a level of measurement. Hilarious! Don't use it on a windy day, you don't want to inhale the bone meal dust.
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
Sep 9, 2016 10:29 AM CST
Thanks for the input. Nope, I sure don't want to breath it! Angry
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
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tveguy3
Sep 9, 2016 11:59 AM CST
I have put it into the hole when planting, but you should know that it doesn't become available for the plant to use until it breaks down, and that can be along time. Smiling
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
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
Sep 9, 2016 5:53 PM CST
Well, thanks Tom. It would do nothing to help makes stalks this late in the year would it. I had purchased a bag but I may just wait. Which would be best apply now or in the Spring?
Name: Jane H.
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Irises Birds Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Clematis
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janielouy
Sep 9, 2016 5:59 PM CST
I have used it but dogs love it and will dig up the plants if they smell the bone meal. That just happened to me about a month ago. That dog has since died (not from the bone meal) so I do not have to worry. The owner was not very responsible so he was always in my yard. I use it at the bottom of the hole when planting fall bulbs and when I am planting irises if I remember.
Name: Teresa
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Irises Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies
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bluegrassmom
Sep 9, 2016 6:09 PM CST
Our old Lab is not with us anymore but he was a digger sometimes. My neighbor has a beagle, if I do apply it, may be I should just try a small area first.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
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tveguy3
Sep 9, 2016 7:00 PM CST
I always put it in the hole when I planted them, I never side dressed with it. I think the best time to fertilize the re-bloomers is right after they are done blooming, it's a bit late now, and excessive late new growth can be very tender over winter. I think a regular balanced fertilizer like 10 10 10 would be best, but Arlyn is the re-bloomer in the group. Hilarious! better ask him.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Sep 9, 2016 7:52 PM CST
I put it in the hole when planting. Then work some in around each iris in the fall, and especially again about a month before bloom season. This was what I was taught way back.

My rebloomers wait until crazy late so I guess they enjoy the extra food coming their way?
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Sep 10, 2016 2:08 PM CST
I've used it at planting time, for irises, but, generally I use it most on bulbs (tulips, daffies, etc., and on the 'bulb type" irises). For some good, general information on the care and feeding of re bloomers, here's the Winterberry page on culture:
http://winterberryirises.com/iris_culture
Name: Timothy
eastern oregon (Zone 7b)
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TBMan
Sep 10, 2016 2:31 PM CST
bonemeal is a fine organic fertilizer and additions of it won't hurt, but its a "incomplete" fertilizer. In my experience if you need phosphorus in the soil, get your soil tested, and then use a complete formulation -- ie 5 -10-10, or 6-8-12, or even a 10-20-20
and incorporate it into the soil/iris bed prior to planting. Phosphorus moves very VERY slowly in the soil because of its binding ability with soil ions and cations, and in cased of very high ph or low, it doesn't move at all.
Also iris use NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratio's differently depending on time of year. For example, in the spring the ratio is 1-1-1 meaning the iris clump is sucking up all three nutrients at an even rate. Immediately or soon after bloom the balance starts to shift to a 1-2-2 ratio, ie the iris is using more phosphorus and potassium and less nitrogen. During late summer and fall, the balance completely shifts to a 0-2-2 or similar ratio as the iris matures its rhizomes and hardens its cell walls in preparation for freezing temps.
I use a 16-16-16 with nitrogen evenly split between a fast release and a slow release. Also most important of all, is that bearded iris seem to be heavy users of trace elements -- ie zinc, manganese, molybdenum, etc. If you can incorporate a fertilizer brand with these minor elements, you'd be amazed at the performance increase.

disclaimer:
The above is observations from my personal 43 years of growing bearded iris and is offered as "food" - lol -- for thought ONLY. Your individual soil, climate and environment can differ greatly. A good source of info is a local iris society, and the members experiences. Please pardon the length of my post Smiling
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
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tveguy3
Sep 10, 2016 3:47 PM CST
Thanks, that's some good information! Smiling
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
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Polymerous
Sep 11, 2016 9:56 AM CST
Thank you, Timothy!
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Sep 11, 2016 10:38 AM CST
It is amazingly hard to get 5-10-10 and 10-10-10 in this area. Not sure why but the variety of fertilizers to be had is limited.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Sep 11, 2016 10:50 AM CST
A lot of areas have restrictions on the phosphates in fertilizers.
Name: Elsa
Las Cruces, New Mexico (Zone 8a)
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GreenIris
Sep 11, 2016 11:47 AM CST
I find 6-10-10 at Walmart labeled as All Purpose fertilizer .
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Sep 11, 2016 11:51 AM CST
I can only find 13 13 13 here, but I just use less.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
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
Image
bluegrassmom
Sep 12, 2016 1:49 AM CST
I would like to thank everyone for their input. Timothy, it is good to see you posting. 43 yrs! Wow that is a lifetime of growing experience! I would love to see some of your pictures.

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