Irises forum: Iris

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May 23, 2017 7:09 AM CST
I planted a HUGE variety of Iris. The first 2 yrs. they were beautiful! This yr. they all came up purple and a purple I never even planted. How is this possible? Please don't tell me they don't change color. I know what I planted and what I have now.
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
May 23, 2017 8:47 AM CST
A big question!

Have seen this discussed on-line several times, but I've never seen any noticeable colour change in any of the irises I've planted and maintained over years.

I'd wonder whether all of the variety of irises were purchased as named plants/cultivars and, especially whether they were each in flower at the time of purchase (e.g. correctly labelled); also, whether there were already iris rhizomes in the flower bed in which they were planted. Related are the facts that some irises are much more vigorous growers than others and that any bee-pollination of iris producing seeds which drop into the clump will not produce identical offspring.

Be interest to hear if others have had real or apparent colour change experiences with irises.

This seems a good reference:

[Last edited by SunnyBorders - May 23, 2017 8:57 AM (+)]
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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May 23, 2017 9:00 AM CST


Moved to Iris Forum.
And that was an excellent article, great explanation!
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[Last edited by Calif_Sue - May 23, 2017 9:04 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1451766 (3)
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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May 23, 2017 9:07 AM CST
I don't question your experience but I have grown iris since the 1970's and visited many gardens and have many iris friends and have never experienced this???????????
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
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May 23, 2017 9:17 AM CST
I have had this happen when an overlooked bee pod, a seed pod pollinated by bees, comes to maturity and drops its seed among my prized irises. This spring I found a lovely bright yellow iris growing in the middle of a lavender clump. I gently dug about and lifted it out. It had three fans and was not attached to anything else so I think I got it all. Seeds that come to maturity without pampering are usually the hardiest irises and can overcome another variety if not kept out. One little iris seedling, a yellow and white, came up in a clump of brown/green irises. I liked it so much I have planted it so that I may watch it grow and decide if I want to name it.

The question of irises changing colors has been brought up often and I think since the color and form are genetic I don't think it is possible.
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Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
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May 23, 2017 9:37 AM CST
I think that link in Charlie's post covers it quite well! Thank You! I tip my hat to you.
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Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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May 23, 2017 9:39 AM CST
Clksdd38, can we see pictures? I agree with what the others have said. Iris can change slightly in different soils/climates/situations but not the basic form or color.

Also, Welcome! Always nice to see new members. Thumbs up
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
May 23, 2017 10:47 AM CST
Hope this is not going off topic, but it could be a similar situation.

I have more experience and more confidence dealing with garden phlox than with irises. They work more reliably in our garden and with the way we garden.

I have pictures documenting the change in colour of a garden phlox (a 'White Admiral') and have long been inclined to believe that the change in colour of that plant was the result of the plant itself reverting back in the direction of the wild type of that phlox (viz wild Phlox paniculata) which is wishy-washy pink/magenta.

The commonly held view about such colour changes in garden phlox is that seedlings sprout up within/around the plant and replace the original plant itself. And there's no doubt that when seedlings occur with garden phlox the colour is commonly in the direction of the wild phlox.

After years of struggling to accept that commonly held view, I now feel it really is the correct explanation for the colour change I documented with pictures.
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography Cat Lover Seed Starter
May 23, 2017 6:35 PM CST
The Tempo Two iris catalog has a section containing commonly asked questions. It states that irises cannot change colour. The author of this catalog, Barry Blyth has decades of experience in breeding iris and is a credible source of information.

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