Irises forum: I'm kind of experimenting here

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WA (Zone 8b)
Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Rebekah
Apr 2, 2019 5:36 PM CST
This year I received lots of landscaping mulch and I spread it in my flower beds. I hand spread it around my irises, placing it pretty sparsely. I also removed any soil The was covering the rhizomes.


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I know rhizomes like to be baked and pretty much on top of the soil. I hope I'm not creating difficult growing conditions for them.

Name: Monty Riggles
Henry County, Virginia (Zone 7a)
Oops. The weeds took over!
Irises Region: Virginia Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Garden Procrastinator
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UndyingLight
Apr 2, 2019 5:47 PM CST
Rebekah - I have seen many times throughout my time on Garden.org that folks have put mulch around/on top of rhizomes. It does not seem to affect them too much. Irises don't like water (as you know), so a fairly thin layer of mulch would help protect yet retain the summer waters that would cause rot issues. Though, I'm not 100% sure, I believe a mulch layer may increase the chances of rot. Shrug!

I have a lot of varieties that are in/covered with mulch. I even buried some deeper down in mulch in fear of too much exposure. Except for noids (which have bloomed inside the mulch), all of my named varieties I have acquired came last year, and were planted then, so they have not yet bloomed.

Minus the fact that chickens have been ravaging towards these irises in mulch, most have grown well and increased too, but several varieties are very small in fan size. We'll see what they do.
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In my experience, (and this garden is not the only place with mulch), irises will still willingly bloom as long as they don't get too much or too little water, or are crowded out by other plants also in the mulch. Your's look great so far, which is a great sign that you may be doing them a solid. Thumbs up

A YMCA near me had irises covered in mulch, and those irises bloom prolifically every year in the mulch. More with experience here than I can help you further, but I wish you good luck on your irises in mulch adventures! Big Grin

Dolly the chicken thinks my head is food!
WA (Zone 8b)
Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Rebekah
Apr 3, 2019 11:24 AM CST
Thanks Monty, yeah while I was in Oregon I noticed a few gardens that had mulch over their irises so I decided to experiment a bit. I have super sandy soil that holds no water so I'm trying to combat it a bit by adding organic matter such as composted cow manure and now wood chips. Here's to hoping this plan works. It's good to hear someone else has irises covered in mulch. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how they respond.
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
Apr 4, 2019 1:28 PM CST
Mulch retains water, so if their is too much water held in the soil, then it can lead to rot issues. It is best to not put the mulch over the rhizome, just around the plant. And you will get real rot issues if the manure is over the rhizomes.

When using mulch, be careful not to use cedar mulch because cedar has natural growth inhibitors and you don't want anything slowing down the growth of your iris.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Apr 4, 2019 3:15 PM CST
I use redwood mulch around the irises (but not on top of the rhizomes). No problems.
Evaluating a reblooming diploid daylily seedling
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Apr 4, 2019 5:05 PM CST
We have spread a layer of mulch and planted iris in the mulch. They grew and bloomed nicely. They were all older varieties though that are hard to kill. I think some newer varieties seem more persnickety.
(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
Apr 4, 2019 5:09 PM CST
My tough as nails historic NoIDs on the hill are often covered over with wood chips (from the wild critters running around up there). I've never found any rot on them, but I do not water them, nor fertilize them. They grow just fine and bloom well enough. Again, these are the old toughies and not the newer irises that tend to rot when you sneeze on them.
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
Apr 4, 2019 8:34 PM CST
It is always the new ones that need to be babied I think. The historics are around because they have already survived all the nasties thrown at them. I have a historic that has lived decades under ivy, got put in a real garden and grows and grows, just will not quit.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
WA (Zone 8b)
Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Rebekah
Apr 5, 2019 12:07 AM CST
Hmmmm there's probably a good thread on recommended historics isn't there? I think I'll look around for some bulletproof irises. Thank you all for the input Smiling
[Last edited by Rebekah - Apr 5, 2019 12:08 AM (+)]
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Name: Evelyn
Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies
Cat Lover Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter
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evelyninthegarden
Apr 5, 2019 12:56 AM CST
Rebekah ~ A good source for historical is Bluebird Haven Iris Garden

http://www.bluebirdhavenirisga...

After you click on the catalog, you will see letters at the top. Just click on the first letter.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
WA (Zone 8b)
Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Rebekah
May 8, 2019 1:04 AM CST
Thanks Evelyn


So I've mulched and before I couldn't keep anything watered. Now the soil is holding moisture. I've noticed some iris are getting leaf spot. I think some a bit more than last year so I've trimmed leaves and pulled excess mulch back. I think I'll spray with some copper and really lessen the amount of water I use on this particular front bed. Still experimenting, I think I can get away with watering less as all the other plants have established themselves for at least a year ore more.

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