Irises forum: Deadheading spent blooms

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Name: Kim
iowa (Zone 5a)
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kimmer
May 13, 2015 8:48 PM CST
Just was wondering if I should cut off spent blooms or not. Kim
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
May 13, 2015 8:51 PM CST
I usually snap them off....it looks a little better, and ,if you don't ,they sometimes mess up the next bloom. That said, I usually fall WAY behind with dead heading Sticking tongue out
Name: Kim
iowa (Zone 5a)
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kimmer
May 13, 2015 10:00 PM CST
Thanks Arlyn! Smiling
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
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Henhouse
May 13, 2015 11:12 PM CST
Is there a trick to snapping them off? I've tried, but I don't seem to have the knack for it. I cut them off and leave a couple inches.. When that stub dries up, they do snap off ok..
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Name: Marilyn
Central California (Zone 9b)
Region: California Bee Lover Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers hot summers Composter
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Moiris
May 13, 2015 11:48 PM CST
Sherry, I think Arlyn is talking about deadheading the blooms and it sounds like you are talking about cutting off the stalks. Both are different issues...and I'd be interested to hear from others about when and how they do these chores. I know that deadheading and/or cutting the stalks conserves energy that the plant might use developing bee pods...and it definitely looks better with them removed. But I would like to know from those of you with more experience about what you think is the best way and best time to do this clean-up work.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
May 14, 2015 2:35 AM CST
When I dead head them, I am careful to use two hands, I have lost some buds, especially on the ones with double sockets.
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Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
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grannysgarden
May 14, 2015 4:03 AM CST
Tom is right. If you are deadheading blooms be very careful just to remove the spent bloom. Otherwise you may be removing a developing bloom in the same socket. I like deadheading spent blooms because I do not like them distracting from the new blooms but like Arlyn I don't always keep up with this chore. It helps to keep clippers in your pocket when you go about the garden. That way you can make clean cuts and not break off the entire socket. As for the entire bloom stalk........ I think bloom stalks, when finished blooming, are very ugly in the iris garden. Once I can cut them off my garden looks like a happy place again.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
South central PA (Zone 6a)
Irises Region: Pennsylvania
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DaveinPA
May 14, 2015 5:33 AM CST
I find that bending the spent blossom end away from the stalk works pretty well if I grab low enough to take off the "bee pod" next to the stalk. The spent bloom is often hard to get off without grabbing that stiffer area below it as it is often too soft.

As to removing the entire stalks after blossoming I try to not leave the rhizome with an open wound on top which can hold water and cause future rot. Often I just cut the stalk down to just below the leaves leaving it harder for water to cause problems to the rhizome.
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
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Zencat
May 14, 2015 8:54 AM CST
I have gotten pretty good with snapping them off. This year, everything looks pretty good now. Last year, I just let everything go and had to play catch-up.
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
May 14, 2015 9:49 AM CST
I snap them off. If there is another bloom in the socket I break off the spent bloom with my fingernail, then snap off the remaining lower part (the pod) after all the blooms in the socket are spent. At that point the pods snap off easily from the stalk. I take off the first faded bloom because they often get stuck on the second bud otherwise.
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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
May 14, 2015 5:42 PM CST
Dead heading prevents bee pods & when a stalk is finished bloom especially on the larger irises, I cut it so that water doesn't go down the stem & cause rot.
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
Bulbs Foliage Fan Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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Henhouse
May 15, 2015 12:14 AM CST
I'm pretty good at snapping of spent blooms (one-handed w/ few casualties).. Joe Ghio was taking about snapping off spent stalks at one of our recent meetings, and I was cutting a lot of stalks yesterday, so that's where my brain went. I'll have to ask him what his trick is.
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.

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