Irises forum: Could use some advice

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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Apr 23, 2015 6:18 AM CST
I received some Iris fans several years ago. I planted them in my 4' X 8' raised beds. They came up last year but not all of them bloomed. The ones that did bloom were white. I will add a pictures later if I can find one. Earlier this spring I checked them and the older part of them were beginning to rot. Yesterday I dug them all up. My question is do I keep only the fans that are not soft? Do I let them sit a few days before planting them to let the parts harden where I separated them from the older part of the plant? Thanks for any advice on what I should do.
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Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Apr 23, 2015 6:52 AM CST
Well, the fast answer is "yes. trim of the old soft, (or rotten)parts of the rhizome. Then, I would dip the rhizome end (and about the bottom 4" of leaf) into a solution of 1 cup household bleach, and 9 cups of water....let them soak for about 2 minutes....shake 'em off. let them dry, and then replant. Ideally, the BEST time to dig, divide, and re plant is about 2-3 weeks AFTER they bloom....this gives them plenty of time to root in, and grow new increases before winter, so they are "ready to go", when spring arrives. Spring division will REALLY cut into the bloom this year....but, in some cases, it IS needed! I'm having to dig ,and treat a lot of mine now, because of disease.
It is "normal" for the old, spent part of the rhizomes to dry, get hollow and sometimes sort of 'soft and mushy'....the mother rhizome blooms just once, and soon after, starts to "die"....by this time the newer "daughter" rhizomes (the increases that started last year) have grown to a size where they will become "mothers " themselves...blooming, producing increase, and then, in turn, dying themselves. There are several "articles" on digging and dividing" as well as on diseases (to help you see if the "rot" you are seeing is the natural decay of a spent mother rhizome, or if it's a serious disease.
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 Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Apr 23, 2015 6:53 AM CST

Moderator

In irises, a given section of rhizome only blooms once. After it blooms, it never even produces leaves again. Future blooms will come from new sections of rhizomes, or "increases" as the are commonly called. The old rhizome will (gradually or rapidly, depending on your climate and conditions) rot away. In short, what you were seeing was normal with irises and, as long as the rot wasn't spreading to the increases, nothing to be very concerned about.
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Apr 23, 2015 4:45 PM CST
Thanks, Kent and Arlyn, I did not know that the mother rhizomes die after the bloom and make babies. I can see now that is what happened. I cleaned them all up and cut out the soft, mushy parts and it was like that where the bloom had been last year. How long will I be able to keep them out of dirt? I cleaned up my garden area today where I want to plant them but I did not get them put in today. Should I soak them in water before I plant them? Thanks for any help you can give me.
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
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Zencat
Apr 23, 2015 5:51 PM CST
Mine got left on the patio for weeks while I was sick last year. I gave them a soak with the hose twice a week until I could plant them. Iris are surprisingly tough.
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Apr 23, 2015 7:52 PM CST
Thanks Celia. Hopefully I will get them planted tomorrow afternoon.
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
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Zencat
Apr 23, 2015 8:04 PM CST
Are they in the shade while they wait?
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
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irisarian
Apr 23, 2015 10:08 PM CST
You could soak the roots in water, but not the rhizomes. they are a food storage stem.
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Apr 24, 2015 8:21 PM CST
Yes, Celia they are in the shade inside my garage. Right now we are having a couple days of rain so I will get them planted as soon as I can. Thanks, Lucy, I plan to soak the roots in water but not the rest of the rhizome. Thanks for all your help.
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
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Zencat
Apr 24, 2015 11:48 PM CST
Let us know how they do.
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Apr 25, 2015 5:54 AM CST
Will do. I have many places where I want to plant them. They are all NOID but they will still be beautiful.
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
Image
Zencat
Apr 25, 2015 7:49 AM CST
Some of my favorites have no name. Smiling

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