balloon flowers and Irises - Knowledgebase Question

kalamazoo, MI
Question by dfgquilter
July 27, 2007
Hi! You said to promote more balloon flowers you need to deadhead them. Do you mean to take off the WHOLE hard green pod or just the acutal little flower?

Irises... I heard it was time to divide and /or move Irises at the end of July. However, alot of mine are still green or 3/4 green.
Is it safe to divide or move them anyway?

Thanks so much........ Dorian

Answer from NGA
July 27, 2007


Since numerous flowers are borne on a single stem you have a choice. Either pick off individual spent flowers, or wait until they are all spent and clip off the entire stem. I'm a hopeful gardener so I simply pick off the individual flowers just as the petals begin looking worn but before they fall off. If you don't pinch the faded flower off then, a seed pod will form which looks very similar to an unopened flower bud. The purpose of deadheading is to remove spent flowers before the plant spends energy developing seeds (the hard green pod you describe). Therein my hope lies: the plant will redirect its energy into producing more flowers rather than developing seeds.

Irises are typically dug and divided in late summer (July or August). The foliage will remain green until frost so don't use that as an indication that it's safe to move them. Simply wait until after they've finished blooming to dig and divide them. Now would be a good time.

Best wishes with your garden!

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