Irises forum→Planted backwards!? How do you plant your Irises?

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Name: Kim. hnybee09
Jamestown NC (Zone 7b)
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hnybee09
Jul 25, 2020 8:27 AM CST
So apparently I have planted all my Irises backwards I think. Been moving, and planting Irises for years and literally just heard yesterday that you are supposed to plant them with the heels facing the sun so that the fans provide the rhizome with a bit of shade in the hottest months. Is there any truth to this? I have mine all planted with the rhizome facing out towards the sun.
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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lauriemorningglory
Jul 25, 2020 9:24 AM CST
I've never heard this before. I've heard of planting three in a circle with heels facing out, so that wouldn't help with providing shade. I don't think it will be a problem. We'll see what others say.
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
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Rebekah
Jul 25, 2020 10:21 AM CST
It Kinda sounds like an old wives tale. I mean there are some places where irises benefit from being planted a bit deeper because of the intense heat. I suppose you could experiment but that's not a hard and fast rule.
Lauri I've read the same, facing irises a specific direction so the don't over crowd each other quickly.
[Last edited by Rebekah - Jul 26, 2020 11:39 PM (+)]
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Name: Derylin
Louisville ,Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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KyDeltaD
Jul 25, 2020 10:48 AM CST
I plant mine in rows facing one way.
Heel in back, rhizome in front sunning itself.When I walk by to view ,the rhizome is facing out toward me.
Sometimes the dirt winds up covering the rhizome over time.
If you look at an iris ,you can tell which is the back and front.
I have always planted them this way for 30+ years.
I don't plant mine in a circular pattern.However,it would make sense to plant them to best see the bloom, rhizome out front.
Others, may do it differently.90 's temperature has never bothered mine .
100's for days ,I can't speak to.
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
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Rebekah
Jul 25, 2020 11:03 AM CST
That's mostly what I do. If I plant them in a group I angle the crown away from the other irises so there more room to grow directionally.
Name: Kim. hnybee09
Jamestown NC (Zone 7b)
Irises
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hnybee09
Jul 25, 2020 11:26 AM CST
That is how mine are planted, in rows with all the rhizomes facing out. Except of course for the ones I bought at various garden centers that came potted. I saw someone asked in an Iris group I am of a member of, and a few people answered to plant them opposite of what I had been doing. My thought was in the end it is going to grow whichever it wants anyway so what's the difference Hilarious! But I had to check and make sure I wasn't going to inadvertently cook all the new Irises I planted with too much sun.
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
Jul 25, 2020 4:45 PM CST
I thought that I read somewhere that the rhizome is supposed to have sun shine on it... Confused (Rarely do we get days in the 100s.)
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Jul 25, 2020 6:01 PM CST

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The idea that iris rhizomes need to be exposed to the sun is a commonly repeated myth. I suspect it was started by iris nurseries as a means of preventing their customers from planting irises too deeply and killing them, prompting them to demand replacements or refunds. A lot of people think bearded irises grow from bulbs and plant them accordingly, several inches deep like a tulip or daffodil. Telling people that the rhizome needs exposure to the sun is a simple way to encourage them to plant it close to the surface.

All that being said, the direction you plant them in is of no consequence what so ever.
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
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Rebekah
Jul 25, 2020 8:20 PM CST
"Planting rhizomes 12 to 24 inches apart is the norm. Close planting results in immediate effect, faster clump formation, and more color but makes dividing clumps a necessity in two to three years. The photo to the below shows iris being planted in groups of three. Notice that each of the rhizome "toes" face inward towards each other about 8 inches apart as they are planted." (American Iris society, planting and spacing)



Thumb of 2020-07-26/Rebekah/e6acf4
(The American Iris society)

What say you Kent? Or is it not really that big of a deal in your opinion?


[Last edited by Rebekah - Jul 25, 2020 8:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Jul 25, 2020 8:32 PM CST
I have always thought that if you point the toes inward in the triangle that increase will come on the heel and leave an empty center. I plant in the triangle with the toes all facing forward and the clump fills in. Did that make sense?
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
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Rebekah
Jul 25, 2020 8:40 PM CST
Lol sooo wouldn't just slightly off setting the outward facing crowns be perfection? I mean that would prevent a bare spot in the middle allow them each to fill in the space without to quickly over crowding each other? I say this in jest but really technically that's what I did. Sticking tongue out

This might be over thinking it a bit but I figured it was an experiment.
[Last edited by Rebekah - Jul 25, 2020 8:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Jul 25, 2020 9:32 PM CST

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Paul2032 said:I have always thought that if you point the toes inward in the triangle that increase will come on the heel and leave an empty center. I plant in the triangle with the toes all facing forward and the clump fills in. Did that make sense?


Agree completely, Paul. Planted the way that diagram shows, the three plants of each variety will grow away from each other leaving a big hole in the center and rapidly intermix with the neighboring varieties. Seems like it would be better to either a) point the toes outward as you say; or b) plant the rhizomes much closer together with the toes almost touching.

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