Irises forum→Iris changed color

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OFallon, Missouri
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Dewayne47
May 16, 2020 7:55 PM CST
Can anyone explain to me why my light yellow iris has change color and are now white ?
They are healthy double bearded iris.
I live in Missouri where we have large amounts of clay dirt.
As a kid I always loved my moms iris and when I got married I took some of these from my moms yard.
For years, they were yellow but now they are white.
Still healthy and growing in large group.
I tried a few years back to thin out and separate but still white iris
Thanks in advance
Wayne, OFallon, Missouri
(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
May 17, 2020 8:52 AM CST
Irises won't change color, so it sounds to me like you have a white iris that outgrew the yellow.
OFallon, Missouri
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Dewayne47
May 17, 2020 9:06 AM CST
Strange...these past three years they are white...thick green foliage but white flowers ..the entire clump i transplanted were yellow. Was thinking the PH level has an effect
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
May 17, 2020 9:14 AM CST
What sometimes happens is that a seed falls and grows and is a stronger plant then the parent, and over time it takes over and crowds out the parent. You might still have a yellow blooming rhizome in the mix somewhere and if you dug and separated them you might still find one that blooms yellow, but is too crowded to bloom right now.
Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,"
OFallon, Missouri
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Dewayne47
May 17, 2020 9:50 AM CST
Thanks tveguys3....
Sounds reasonable. What is strange is ...if you wanted this to happen it would not and hear nature does it on its own....the strong survive
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography Cat Lover Seed Starter
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Totally_Amazing
May 17, 2020 5:06 PM CST
I wonder if there was a small white iris in the ones you grabbed from your mum's place. It may have been too small to flower for the first few years.
Maybe there was a white iris already in the spot where you planted the yellow ones.
[Last edited by Totally_Amazing - May 17, 2020 5:07 PM (+)]
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OFallon, Missouri
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Dewayne47
May 17, 2020 5:24 PM CST
Thanks totally-amazing..
If there was a white flower it had to come with original clump...this is a newer house with no landscaping to speak of...just curious since they were yellow..in fact my sister in law wrote me this year and is having the same problem, except hers was a pale apricot but this year they bloomed with a white flower..she had no white iris in her garden unless a bird, etc dropped a seed But her garden is over 20 years old ...just a mind buster..thanks for your imput
[Last edited by Dewayne47 - May 17, 2020 5:28 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
May 17, 2020 7:56 PM CST
Depending on the type of white, white can be either a recessive or dominant gene. So if your yellow had a hidden recessive white gene, and if it self pollinated, it could have dropped a seed that could have paired white genes so that the color white could be manifested in the child plant.

But I suspect that more likely there was a rhizome for a white iris mixed in with what you got. Underthe sun is correct that iris don't change colors.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Irises Butterflies Bee Lover Bulbs Cat Lover Region: Nebraska
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lauriemorningglory
May 17, 2020 8:39 PM CST
If a rhizome of another color was present and began to "take over," wouldn't you expect to see at least a year or two of both colors? When I hear about iris changing color, I get the impression from the person that the irises appear to completely change color in one year.
Or maybe people just don't pay that close attention to their irises from year to year? Thinking
OFallon, Missouri
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Dewayne47
May 17, 2020 9:27 PM CST
Thanks all for the input....I am not saying that the color white iris is not a beautiful flower ...I do enjoy them each spring...sadly they get very tall and when the stem opens up to all four into flowing buds they tend to fall over..I should stake them up but with so many I keep wishing that one spring one would be the original pale yellow...I did purchase a deep yellow/ orange plants from this lady in California..this being the second year in the ground I do have several yellow iris around my patio ...thanks again
[Last edited by Dewayne47 - May 17, 2020 9:31 PM (+)]
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Name: tfc
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 17, 2020 9:46 PM CST
Well, I've had 2 TB irises change colors and I know that I didn't do it. (No money and no paintbrush.) One changed last year and instead of yellow, it's yellow and white. The other was a dark purple and now it's purple and white. These were planted in 2016 (I think.) Who knows.

If I have my terminology correct, the 'falls' have retained their original colors. It's the 'standards' that changed.

Apologies for hopping into someone else's question.
OFallon, Missouri
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Dewayne47
May 17, 2020 9:59 PM CST
Thanks/tx_flower_child ....
Glad to see others with same mystery of the iris..
Peace of mind is well worth it, knowing that this change is happening to others...natural has its own way of giving us color..thanks for your attention ...OFallon , Missouri
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
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grannysgarden
May 18, 2020 6:37 AM CST
The genetics in a rhizome is set from its beginning. It may be paler some years or a darker hue in others but the color of the bloom cannot change. Once it blooms the bees, and other insects, go from bloom to bloom collecting the pollen. The iris will then set a seed pod. If you are not diligent in cutting each and every seed pod, often called a bee pod if the insects did the pollinating, they will mature, pop open in summer, and scatter the seeds among the iris clump. No irises seeds will be true to the parent plants. The seeds will be a mixture of all of the genetics that your original iris came from. Each seed in a seed pod will be different. Some of these seeds will be fragile and not be able to thrive in an established clump but some will be hardy and if they are more hardy than the parent plant they will take over and your parent iris will be crowded out. How quickly this occurs depends on the tenacity of the parent plant and that of the seedling.

It is possible that you had a white seedling among the original clump you dug and it had not matured enough to bloom. It is possible that a seedling from a bee pod has grown in your established clump.

When I was an active Master Gardener for my state one of the most frequent statements I heard from gardeners was "do not plant yellow and white irises near each other as they will all turn white". The gardeners learned this from long experience. It was very hard to convince them of the habits of the iris. The truth is an irises genetics are set from the time the seed is created and cannot change.

I hope this rambling explanation helps Dewayne. Smiling

Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
OFallon, Missouri
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Dewayne47
May 18, 2020 8:07 AM CST
Thanks grannygarden....
I will take your advice and keep my yellow and white iris in separate locations...always good to ask.. Thank You! Thank You!
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
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grannysgarden
May 18, 2020 8:28 AM CST
You are welcome Dewayne. Most importantly, cut off those bloom stalks when they are through blooming and toss those bee pods in the trash. Thumbs up
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?

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