Irises forum: The Iris

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Name: Mary Hughes
Hill Country New Braunfels (Zone 9a)
Life long Reg.Nurse
Aug 10, 2016 4:17 PM CST
Hello there you Iris experts! I've been trying to learn how to grow "successfully" some Irises. My mother grew them like the true artist she was. Of course I wasn't interested in plants so I didn't learn a thing. I have some Irises in our yard that the last owner planted. We've lived here for 5 years and I've watered and fed them, with them only blooming once. Please, give me the basics for getting them to grow and bloom. If I'm ever successful I'd like to try some others. We live here in New Braunfels Tx. Oh my last question, is it true that it routinely takes up to 3 years to bloom after they're planted. Thx, Mary H.
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b)
Aug 10, 2016 4:23 PM CST
Hi, Mary! Welcome! I'm new to irises as well and am learning massively from the iris forum on this website. You might want to go there to find what you can find! I have many that were planted this year, and I'm expecting blooms next summer. I think that depends on when, where, and how they're planted as well as how strong the root structure is to begin with, but you can find out WAY more than I know as a newbie!
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
Plant Database Moderator Region: California Cottage Gardener Roses Irises Clematis
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Aug 10, 2016 5:32 PM CST


Hi Mary, I moved your thread over to the Iris Forum so all the iris enthusiast can give you some pointers. I do know that if they are too crowded the blooms will diminish, they do need dividing.
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Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Aug 10, 2016 5:33 PM CST
Welcome! !
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
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Aug 10, 2016 6:17 PM CST
Welcome! Mary, Many irises bloom the first year, especially if you have a long growing season. Here in Wisconsin, about half will bloom the summer after planting, and most of the rest will bloom the next year. And yes if the rhizomes get too crowded, they won't bloom well, so they need to be dug up and/or thinned out some.
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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 Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
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Aug 10, 2016 7:41 PM CST
Hello, Mary, and welcome to the iris forum. Are your irises planted near large shrubs or trees. If so it is possible that over time the trees or shrubs have grown to the point that the irises are not getting enough sun in order to bloom. Give us all the information you have about your plants and we will give you more suggestions than you can imagine. Smiling
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Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
Aug 10, 2016 9:51 PM CST
Welcome! Mary Welcome!
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Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Aug 10, 2016 9:56 PM CST
Welcome! from me, as well!

If you can post pictures of the locations of your irises, that would help, too. Also, are they tall bearded? Or something else? If you don't know that's okay. A lot of good people here can help you! Thumbs up
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
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Aug 11, 2016 4:53 AM CST
Welcome! Mary!

If the irises have been in the same spot for over 5 years, I would suggest that the first thing you should try is to dig them up and divide them - but it does depend on what kind of irises they are, so I agree that we need pictures! Smiling
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Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Aug 11, 2016 8:05 PM CST
After 5 years the rhizomes may have gotten buried a bit too. If the rhizomes are too deep they don't increase well and that delays bloom. Do post pictures so we can see what you have!

And Welcome! Welcome!
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Utah (Zone 7a)
Aug 11, 2016 8:39 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome!

Do you know what kind of iris they are?
Are they bearded or Ensata?

If you can send us a photo of the plants and there location we can give you better advice.

If they are bearded iris...

Here are the basics. (It looks like you are in 9a. A very warm place.)

1- Make sure they are getting direct sunlight. Generally the rhizome likes to be above the surface but if they are too hot then just barely beneath the surface for you. They bloom better if direct sunlight kisses the rhizome.

2- Each rhizome needs a little space so they don't start to grow on top of each other.
3- The rhizomes like to be on the dry side of life but keep the roots covered and deeply watered periodically. Don't over water.

4- put some triple phosphate on them in early spring. Don't fertilize them heavily with nitrogen.

If they are Ensata they want to be very damp and receive rich sunlight with the rhizomes just underneath the soil level,

[Last edited by SpringGreenThumb - Aug 11, 2016 8:42 PM (+)]
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Utah (Zone 7a)
Aug 11, 2016 8:40 PM CST
Also keep the leaves and dead foilage cleaned out. Hurray! Hurray!

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