Irises forum: Iris transplants

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Name: Tara
Tulsa (Zone 7a)
Jul 16, 2017 7:56 PM CST
I was given two bags of iris from a friend that divided hers and I found a box full marked free on the side of the road. I had good intentions but they've been sitting for weeks. Is it too late to plant or to save the bulbs? I don't want to waste time planting if it's hopeless but I don't want to throw away what might still be viable. What should I do?


Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
Jul 16, 2017 8:50 PM CST
I live in a very dry area, so maybe some will chime in that lives in your area. That said, I would plant them unless they are soft and smelling (rot). Two years ago I dug up some NO ID white irises and forgot about them. They baked in our hot sun all summer long. In the fall, when I found them, some of the smaller rhizomes had died. The larger rhizomes were planted and they lived and grew. Irises are tough. Thumbs up
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
Jul 16, 2017 8:51 PM CST
Sorry I forgot so say Welcome! to the iris forum.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
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 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 16, 2017 8:51 PM CST


Assuming they are bearded irises and rhizomes haven't gotten mushy, they should be fine. Many of the beardless types won't do well if the roots are allowed to dry out, but bearded irises will tolerate a great deal of neglect.
Name: Tara
Tulsa (Zone 7a)
Jul 16, 2017 9:06 PM CST
I do believe they are bearded. The rhizomes are mostly dry. I believe there are some mushy ones in there. Should I go ahead and plant or would it be best to store them?
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
Jul 17, 2017 2:39 AM CST
Welcome! Tara!

If the rhizomes are firm, I would soak the roots for a day or two and then plant them and remember to water them in. They should be just fine!
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
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
Jul 17, 2017 4:59 AM CST
Welcome to the iris forum Tara. I live in middle- ish AR and if I were you I would sort through them, discard any that are soft then plant the others now. The rhizome, that is the fat part that looks like the bulb, should be planted half in and half out of the soil. We call it 'like a duck on water' with his back and leaves above and his roots and belly below the soil. In other areas it is done differently but in our zone they grow best if planted like this. I would water them for the first week or so, never letting them stand in water, and soon you will see little green leaves beginning to grow on one end of the rhizome. Once established they will, for the most part, take care of themselves. You may or may not get bloom next year as they are using their stored energy to survive while out of the soil. Bearded irises are not like bulbous spring plants as they do not go into an extended dormancy and lose their leaves. So planting them right away will be a good thing. Glad you joined us!
Who plants a seed beneath the sod and waits for growth believes in God. ~~Unknown
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography
Jul 17, 2017 5:32 AM CST
Welcome! Tara.
I agree with Bonnie and Lilli. I would discard the mushy ones and plant the others now after soaking the roots (just the roots, not the rhizome). Water them regularly until they establish, but don't water them excessively.
Name: Tara
Tulsa (Zone 7a)
Jul 17, 2017 9:51 AM CST
Thanks for the advice everyone! I'm going to clear a space by my other irises and get them in this week.
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jul 17, 2017 12:41 PM CST
Welcome Tara! Hope you get lots of joy from your irises. Smiling
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: daphne
san diego county, ca (Zone 10a)
Jul 17, 2017 4:56 PM CST
Welcome! tara
Name: Charlotte
Salt Lake City, Utah (Zone 6b)
genealogist specializing in French
Irises Region: Utah Hostas Bulbs Heucheras
Jul 19, 2017 6:02 PM CST
Welcome! Tara
South central PA (Zone 6a)
Irises Region: Pennsylvania
Jul 20, 2017 2:34 PM CST
Welcome Tara.
Good advice given. Hope they nicely surprise you next season with at least a few blossoms. Bonnie's explanation of planting works well here. Only in a very hot dry environment should the rhizomes be completely covered with the soil/sand to help keep them cooler.

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