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Apr 25, 2021 12:25 PM CST
Lake Village, IN zone 5b
All of my iris are healthy and happy except this one. Someone please tell me what is ailing it and if it can be remedied. There is such a wealth of knowledge on this site that I know you'll have an answer for me. Thanks.
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Apr 25, 2021 1:58 PM CST
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Amaryllis Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Maryland Organic Gardener Irises Herbs
Hellebores Growing under artificial light Container Gardener Cat Lover Garden Photography Bulbs
First of all you need to clear away all of last years leaves, encroaching weeds, and any other leaves or mulch because they may hold borer eggs, which may be hatching out right about now. These things also promote rot, as do borers. I always make sure all old leaves are cleared away from my iris no later than March, because borers can be a real problem here otherwise.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
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Apr 25, 2021 3:38 PM CST
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Irises Butterflies Bee Lover Bulbs Cat Lover Region: Nebraska
Hi FarminginPink! Welcome!
Daisy's advice is good---clean up all old foliage and nearby vegetation. I always do a late fall cleanup. It looks like there is a little fungal leaf spot. I don't do anything to treat for leaf spot, so others on the forum will have to answer that.

I wonder if there is some rot going on. Anyone else want to chime in on that?
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Apr 25, 2021 4:16 PM CST
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Vegetable Grower Keeper of Poultry Irises Keeps Horses Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Wisconsin Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I've never had leaf spot look like that, nor have I had it this early in the season, it usually appears toward the end of bloom season here. Not sure what's going on with that. Follow the advice given by Daisy, then I'd try giving it a bit of fertilizer. It could be a virus of some kind, I'm not sure though. Some of the new leaves don't seem to have the spots.
Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,"
Avatar for FarminginPink
Apr 25, 2021 5:47 PM CST
Lake Village, IN zone 5b
Thank you Daisy, Laurie and Tom for the housekeeping advice. I absolutely will clean up the debris around it. Then do you think I should dig it up to check the condition of the rhizomes? And do you use any kind of mulch at all with your irises Shrug! or just bare dirt?
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Apr 25, 2021 5:58 PM CST
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Vegetable Grower Keeper of Poultry Irises Keeps Horses Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Wisconsin Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Mulch will have the same affect as the dead leaves around the iris. Holds too much moisture and can cause rot. I wouldn't dig it up, it's already being stressed by what ever is causing the spots.
Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,"
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Apr 25, 2021 7:05 PM CST
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Amaryllis Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Maryland Organic Gardener Irises Herbs
Hellebores Growing under artificial light Container Gardener Cat Lover Garden Photography Bulbs
Yes I have always read that one should never have mulch over the rhizomes. I make sure the mulch stops at least an inch away.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
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Apr 25, 2021 7:15 PM CST
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Amaryllis Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Maryland Organic Gardener Irises Herbs
Hellebores Growing under artificial light Container Gardener Cat Lover Garden Photography Bulbs
Yes, I have always read that one should never have mulch over the rhizomes. I make sure the mulch stops at least an inch away. I also plant the rhizomes level with the ground and with usually about 1/3 of the spine of the rhizome showing above the dirt. Doing it this way, I never lose irises due to rot, despite Maryland's hot, humid, rainy weather. I planted 17 new irises last summer. Every one of them has survived. In dryer climates, it may be possible to plant them deeper.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
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Apr 26, 2021 8:00 AM CST
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Try Naturalizing perennials! :)
Amaryllis Region: Nebraska Lilies Irises Hostas Foliage Fan
Daylilies Garden Photography Bulbs Butterflies Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers
looks like those white spots could've been from frost.
Not only people give others signs, but plants do too.
Last edited by SonoveShakespeare Apr 26, 2021 8:46 AM Icon for preview
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Apr 26, 2021 8:03 AM CST
Lake Village, IN zone 5b
Thanks again for the advice. Thank You! Daisy, I can't imagine having the room to plant 17 new iris but how exciting that would be!! Ian, it could very well be frost damage. We had 28 degree morning with snow a week ago but it had already looked puny before that. And all my other iris were unfazed. But this is the only plant I have of this variety so perhaps it is more vulnerable.
Last edited by FarminginPink Apr 26, 2021 8:10 AM Icon for preview
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Apr 26, 2021 10:15 AM CST
Name: Lilli
Lundby, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
Welcome! to the Iris Forum FarminginPink!

Would it be possible for you to take a close-up photo of those marks on the fans of your iris? That would make it easier to see what is going on. I have had something similar on some of mine, but I can't be sure unless I can get a closer look.

When mine are damaged by frost, they get brown tips and sometimes funky blooms, not spots. How about you Tom @tveguy3 or anyone else in cold zones?
Of course I talk to myself; sometimes I need expert advice!
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Apr 26, 2021 10:40 AM CST
Name: Wheezy
Cincinnati (Zone 6a)
Bee Lover Dog Lover Frogs and Toads Irises Region: Ohio
I have plenty of spots, but they aren't white. So... I'm curious
The Allergic Gardener salutes all of you wheezing on your hands and knees in the garden for love of your flowers.
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Apr 26, 2021 11:24 AM CST
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Vegetable Grower Keeper of Poultry Irises Keeps Horses Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Wisconsin Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I had 4 days of temps in the teens and none of the affected leaves have spots, Frost damage will usually make the tips turn brown, like Lilli mentioned. Did anyone spray anything near them? Looks like a splatter of something.
Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,"
Last edited by tveguy3 Apr 26, 2021 11:30 AM Icon for preview
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Apr 29, 2021 6:44 AM CST
Lake Village, IN zone 5b
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I hope this clarifies. The damaged streaks seem to be turning translucent and then dying away. Thank you for everyone's interest and sorry about the delay; it's planting season and I was in the field.
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Apr 29, 2021 7:25 AM CST
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Beekeeper Region: Illinois Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I, too, suspect some sort of "spray damage". I think, if it were mine, I'd dig it, check the rhizome / roots over, clean things up good, and replant in a different spot. It's unusual that only one plant is affected...you would think if it WAS spray damage...frost damage...or some such, ALL the plants in that area would show it. If it is a disease....whatever kind....I would want it "out of there", before it spreads. Without knowing the cause, I think removal would be wise.
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Apr 29, 2021 7:27 AM CST
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Garden Photography Cat Lover Irises Region: North Carolina Peonies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
It looks like the leaves are rotting. Remove the soft, translucent leaves before it spreads to the leaves that are still green and let the area really dry out. Also check the rhizome to see if it has gone soft. If it is all mushy then it has soft rot and will need to be removed.
"The chimera is a one time happenstance event where the plant has a senior moment and forgets what it is doing." - Paul Black
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Apr 29, 2021 8:45 AM CST
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Try Naturalizing perennials! :)
Amaryllis Region: Nebraska Lilies Irises Hostas Foliage Fan
Daylilies Garden Photography Bulbs Butterflies Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers
I tip my hat to you.
FarminginPink said: Thumb of 2021-04-29/FarminginPink/3166e3


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I hope this clarifies. The damaged streaks seem to be turning translucent and then dying away.


@FarminginPink Were these iris perhaps cut in the fall and submerged in puddles of water by melting snow? After a huge snow storm, there were times in the spring I would have iris in flowerbeds submerged in 3" to 4" puddles of watery slush, causing some of the leaves I cut down in the fall (mainly the outer leaves) to become mushy and translucent. When I saw those irises in puddles, my instant thought was "they're going to rot". Surprisingly they didn't rot, wind and sunshine dried them right up.
Not only people give others signs, but plants do too.
Last edited by SonoveShakespeare Apr 29, 2021 8:47 AM Icon for preview
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Apr 29, 2021 7:46 PM CST
Lake Village, IN zone 5b
Again, thanks for all the input. My ground is pretty high and dry, never any ponding. And I farm all the acreage surrounding my yard so I know it wasn't spray damage (I know what the fields get sprayed with and when). I think I will dig it up as suggested, inspect, and if deemed salvageable it will be isolated from any other iris. Thanks again to everyone who has helped try to figure this out. Thank You!
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Apr 29, 2021 8:08 PM CST
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Irises Region: Ukraine Garden Procrastinator Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: California Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals
Pink ~ Let us know what you find when you dig it up.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Last edited by evelyninthegarden Apr 29, 2021 11:54 PM Icon for preview
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May 1, 2021 9:24 PM CST
Lake Village, IN zone 5b
Evelyn, the rhizomes were firm, no sign of rot, but very small with a lot of root mass. This was (foolishly) ordered off Amazon in 2019 and was so tiny when it arrived that I was surprised that it even survived its first few months. Perhaps it is genetically inferior making it more fragile to weather extremes and it was actually freeze damage. I moved it away from my other iris but I'm not ready to give up on it. Time will tell. Maybe next year I will be posting a pic of a beautiful bloom from it. Grin

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