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Apr 26, 2013 8:51 AM CST
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Procrastinator Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plays in the sandbox
Tender Perennials Tomato Heads The WITWIT Badge Region: Utah Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
I've grown iris successfully for a number of years, mostly bearded but also some Siberians, Spuria, Louisiana, and Aril-breds....but never Japanese. I had even heard comments from iris friends that they can't be grown here. The main problem is that our soil is alkaline as is our water. Japanese Iris prefer neutral or acid soil. And then on one of my frequent nursery visits I spotted Lion King in bloom and found it so beautiful
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I couldn't resist and bought a plant. As I always do I looked at all the plants and found one not yet in bloom but with 4 bloom stalks coming
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I thought that watching it bloom would be worth the price and if it survived that would be an extra bonus......it came through a very cold winter looking greatThumb of 2013-04-26/Paul2032/e14365
I've added some sulfur to the soil, some organic matter, and water with dilute mir-acid, and hope it blooms. I'm so enthused that I ordered 4 more this year. Can I grow Japanese Iris in Utah...I quess we will see.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Apr 26, 2013 9:26 AM CST
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Irises Region: Northeast US Region: United Kingdom Region: United States of America
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Mir-acid should help, but as you water it will diminish.
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Apr 26, 2013 9:33 AM CST
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Procrastinator Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plays in the sandbox
Tender Perennials Tomato Heads The WITWIT Badge Region: Utah Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
I plan on using it at perhaps 1/4 strength all season. I think I am OCD when it comes to plants.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Avatar for crowrita1
Apr 26, 2013 11:18 AM CST
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Beekeeper Region: Illinois Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I'll watch this tread with intrest, Paul, as I would like to try them. I always thought of the JIs as a water garden plant....Arlyn
Last edited by crowrita1 Apr 26, 2013 1:42 PM Icon for preview
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Apr 26, 2013 12:13 PM CST
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Procrastinator Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plays in the sandbox
Tender Perennials Tomato Heads The WITWIT Badge Region: Utah Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
PollyK has a good article on growing Japanese on the Iris Parent page and also a good one on Gardening Ideas. I will keep you informed.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Apr 26, 2013 1:18 PM CST
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Irises Region: Northeast US Region: United Kingdom Region: United States of America
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
JI don't mind wet 'feet' but grow fine in regular acidy garden soil. they don't like standing in water during the winter.
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May 23, 2013 5:14 PM CST
Plants Admin Emeritus
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Aroids Irises I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Vermiculture
Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Composter Plant Identifier
Good luck Paul. Have you tested the ph of that bed? As I understand it sulfur treatment can take a while to take affect so the Miracid should help a lot. I supplemented with Espoma Holly-tone only because I had it. Given the numbers, 4-3-4, it's probably not very cost effective for hungry JI. Is sphagnum peat readily available to you? That might help as well as an acidic soil amendment.
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May 23, 2013 7:04 PM CST
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Procrastinator Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plays in the sandbox
Tender Perennials Tomato Heads The WITWIT Badge Region: Utah Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
I added the sulfur about a month ago and will add some peat. Am watering with dilute miracid. I'll take a picture of the plant tomorrow. It looks happy.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
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May 23, 2013 7:53 PM CST
Plants Admin Emeritus
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Aroids Irises I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Vermiculture
Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Composter Plant Identifier
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May 23, 2013 8:05 PM CST
Name: Mary Ann
Western Kentucky (Zone 7a)
Birds Irises Hummingbirder Hostas Keeps Horses Farmer
Daylilies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Region: Kentucky Region: United States of America Celebrating Gardening: 2015
It's a beautiful Iris, Paul -- I hope it works!!
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. (www.tut.com)
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May 23, 2013 8:07 PM CST
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Rescue dogs: Angels with paws needi
Dragonflies Dog Lover Bookworm I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover
Plays in the sandbox Butterflies Region: Texas Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member
Will be watching for updates.
It’s okay to not know all the answers.
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May 16, 2015 4:00 PM CST
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Region: Utah Bee Lover Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Photo Contest Winner 2018 Photo Contest Winner 2019 Photo Contest Winner 2020 Photo Contest Winner 2021 Photo Contest Winner 2022
I see no updates...I fear the answer is a resounding ''no, Japanese Iris don't fare very well in our alkaline state"...

I want some, but have been reluctant to try any because I think it would turn out about like the blueberries that I tortured for a while until they died.
If the answer is yes, though, please tell us!
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May 16, 2015 5:15 PM CST
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Procrastinator Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plays in the sandbox
Tender Perennials Tomato Heads The WITWIT Badge Region: Utah Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
I couldn't grow them. I amended the soil with organics and peat moss. Worked in some ground sulphur which is acidifying. Watered sometimes with Mira-acid. Kept them moist. They are barely hanging on to life and haven't bloomed. In my experience the answer in no.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
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May 16, 2015 5:31 PM CST
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Garden Photography Cat Lover Irises Region: North Carolina Peonies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Add manure, don't over acidify when feeding, keep them moist, give them some shade (all day hot sun is taxing for them), and expect to wait 2 or 3 years before they develop enough to bloom. They don't give instant results like many bearded iris.
And never ever get them close to lime as that will kill them.
"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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May 16, 2015 6:34 PM CST
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Sempervivums Lilies Hybridizer
Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Pollen collector Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Paul, don't add any more acidics to your soil around them. In the fall top dress with composted steer manure (I get it in bags at big box store-- I think it has other barn sweepings in it too). Report back next year.

If the rhizomes get too congested, growing on top of each other then that is not a good thing and they decline. I have had this happen many times before I even see a bloom. I pretty much have it figured out now.

Another option is to try a large container and a good potting mix thus avoiding the native soil.
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May 16, 2015 6:52 PM CST
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Region: Utah Bee Lover Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Photo Contest Winner 2018 Photo Contest Winner 2019 Photo Contest Winner 2020 Photo Contest Winner 2021 Photo Contest Winner 2022
Thanks Paul
I do understand, and I am sorry.
Lestv said:
And never ever get them close to lime as that will kill them.


So a container then, and bottled water from somewhere else Sighing! Rolling my eyes. Hilarious!
We are pretty darn limey out this way...

from http://extension.usu.edu/files...

a soil with a pH of 8 is ten times more alkaline than a soil with a pH of 7
SOIL PH IN UTAH
In 1999, 92% of the soil samples submitted to the Analytical Laboratory at Utah State University had pH values above 7. The majority of these samples fell in a pH range between 7.8 and 8.2. The high pH of soils in Utah, as well as other western states, is primarily the result of thousands of years of soil development in a low rainfall environment. This lack of rainfall has allowed large amounts of calcium carbonate (lime) to accumulate in western U.S. soils.
THE EFFECT OF LIME ON SOIL PH
In Utah, soil lime contents range from 0% to more than 50% by weight. Each percent of lime translates into approximately 20 tons of lime per acre-foot of soil. Lime acts as a buffer, maintaining soil pH in the alkaline range. Buffers like lime continue to resist a change to pH even when
acids are added directly to the soil. The buffering capacity of lime in Utah soils was recently demonstrated in a field experiment where sulfuric acid was repeatedly sprayed on the surface of a soil containing 38% lime. Soil pH was measured daily in the surface inch of soil (Figure 2). Each time acid was applied, soil pH dropped but rapidly rebounded due to the buffering capacity of the lime.
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May 17, 2015 5:49 AM CST
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
Very interesting, Dirt.
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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May 17, 2015 7:20 AM CST
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Beekeeper Region: Illinois Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I'm curious to see how mine makes out, too. Paul's adventurous spirit inspired me to try a JI. My approach was a "tad' different.....I excavated the soil from an area about 4' X5', to a depth of about 1', lined the hole with a plastic" liner" (actually some heavy gauge plastic tarping), and refilled with my "soil mix" (1/2 peat, 1/4 composted manure. 1/4 topsoil, but in this case, I used "river muck" instead of the topsoil). Our water here, is also quite sweet, at least the "deep well" water, but I always use from our "shallow well" sandpoint for watering plants, and with that area of the garden mulched, fairly well with pine straw, rain, even in dry situations and a full sun situation ,seems to keep my artificial "bog" damp. It's just an experiment, to se if a Ji and a couple La's will make it here, and, so far (the plants were put in last year) the foliage is healthy, and they seem to be growing fast ! The "divisions I got were 'nice sized" (at least I think so!), so, we'll see what happens !
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May 17, 2015 8:28 AM CST
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
I know the LA's will love it. They are southerners and if given half a chance they will adapt. Just remember that when you talk to them try and use some of that southern drawl you must have learned when visiting the south years ago. It will make them sit up and take notice. smiles
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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May 17, 2015 9:16 AM CST
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Procrastinator Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plays in the sandbox
Tender Perennials Tomato Heads The WITWIT Badge Region: Utah Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
As I remember I followed our late Friend Polly's advice......
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah

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