Irises forum: Cause of Iris leaf browning?

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Name: Richard
SFBA (Zone 10a)
Region: Maryland Irises Dog Lover Birds Bromeliad Region: California
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lilpod13
Sep 19, 2017 8:22 PM CST
I'm use to seeing mild tip browning, but this year I have a couple of plants where entire leaves have turned pale tan-brownish in coloration. I was wondering whether this is a watering problem, or perhaps excessive heat/ sunlight exposure since this year was a bit of a scorcher? Thanks for any tips on what may be causing this problem.
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
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Zencat
Sep 19, 2017 9:02 PM CST
Iris need extra water in high temps. My iris leaves look horrible by this time of year. Lots of brown tips and whole leaves lost. Not to worry though. Your plants should be fine. Can you get us a picture so we know for sure something else isn't going on?
(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
Sep 19, 2017 9:12 PM CST
Most of my NoID irises leaves are completely dried up and gone. Some of my named beds leaves are mostly brown right now. Once the rains come, they will send up new green leaves. If you said the leaves had a dark brown color, then I would worry.
Name: Timothy
eastern oregon (Zone 7b)
Irises Bulbs Region: United States of America Region: Pacific Northwest Plant and/or Seed Trader Dahlias
Garden Photography Salvias Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hybridizer Region: Oregon
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TBMan
Sep 20, 2017 7:29 AM CST
... browning tips are a signal that an otherwise healthy iris plant is re-allocating resources down to its lower bases and rhizomes. Also the iris is developing new anchor roots that will take over the nutrient and water support for the new fans. Once these are fully developed to start the process, the browning and leaf fading should ease a bit. This is a natural occurrence at this time of the year.

The degree of brown tipping can vary from variety to variety -- I have a healthy clump of "Cool Charlotte -- Blyth '12" that looks like its moisture starved, but such isn't the case. If the brown tips start progressing down the leaf or take on a decided reddish hue with a yellow border, then other issues are at work. But just browning on the tips isn't anything to worry about.

Sun scorch problems will manifest themselves on the sunward side of the leaf fan but the shadowed side will be a regular green.

Also as the iris clump continues to re-direct the starches and sugars down towards the rhizome at this time of the year, outer leaf fans will be sloughed off (turn brown/tan) to prioritize energy towards the center of the fan where the plant metabolic activity is still taking place and active rhizome development is going on.
Name: Richard
SFBA (Zone 10a)
Region: Maryland Irises Dog Lover Birds Bromeliad Region: California
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lilpod13
Sep 20, 2017 10:35 AM CST
Too late to take photo last night, but here is my beloved Adoree looking oh so sad. It's the only iris in the front that looks like this, which is the cause of my concern. Best wishes and thanks to all of you that have graciously taken time to respond. Much appreciated! R



Thumb of 2017-09-20/lilpod13/cc658d


One last point, I added fertilizer a couple of weeks before the plant took a sharp decline in health (0-10-10), but I don't think that's the culprit since I have a couple iris in the backyard that also went downhill and they weren't fertilized. Interesting that the iris most affected are Blyth cultivars?
[Last edited by lilpod13 - Sep 20, 2017 1:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Timothy
eastern oregon (Zone 7b)
Irises Bulbs Region: United States of America Region: Pacific Northwest Plant and/or Seed Trader Dahlias
Garden Photography Salvias Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hybridizer Region: Oregon
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TBMan
Sep 20, 2017 6:20 PM CST
.... another idea you might consider -- if there's a garden center or nursery near you (not a box store or one associated with a chain) ask for a liquid root stimulator that contains Indole-3-Butyric Acid. Rootone is too strong for this application, so don't use that. If the product DOESN'T contain the above hormone, don't use it/purchase it. Basically since your Adoree is in a pot, a weekly application, according to the directions on the label should aid in helping the plant re-develop a healthy root system. I've used this technique on recalcitrant varieties with good success -- no 100% but good enough that I can recommend this idea with confidence to you. :)
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
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IrisLilli
Sep 21, 2017 9:44 AM CST
I'll risk stating the obvious and probably repeat myself (and others) but remember that irises in pots need lots of water compared to irises in the ground. In summer I water mine daily and our summers are not particularly hot.
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln NE (Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis Irises
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SonoveShakespeare
Sep 21, 2017 2:38 PM CST
Yup I know what you're talkin' about. A few of mine did that last year, and I had to saturate the flower bed with WATER every day for about a week. If iris leaves get to the point where their leaves turn brown, sometimes, if you gently pull the brown leaves off, there are new leaves underneath the dead ones. My stepmother has a patch where she left irises abandoned for a few years, and now there are dozens of clumps. But most of them don't have brown leaves, cuz I've been weeding and helped water them too. Most of the irises in that patch are those common purple ones and yellow ones. The others are newer ones. I also heard from my dad that after about a month, when you transplant or plant irises, they don't need much water. And If their leaves turn brown, don't worry, the iris leaves will come back fresh and new next spring with lots of blooms Smiling Smiling Smiling

Unless you transplanted them and didn't water them. Then they probably wont grow back.
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln NE (Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis Irises
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SonoveShakespeare
Sep 21, 2017 2:41 PM CST
Wait you talkin' about pots??? Never mind. I didn't read the whole thing clearly. I am sorry. :(
But with pots, you need to water them a lot or else they won't do well. But in the fall, you have to transplant them or else they will die and not come back ever. I think it's because their roots freeze. I can't quite remember.
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln NE (Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis Irises
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SonoveShakespeare
Sep 21, 2017 2:44 PM CST
Or is it both potted and not potted irises???
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln NE (Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis Irises
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SonoveShakespeare
Sep 21, 2017 2:45 PM CST
I'm pretty sure it is both.
Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
Sep 21, 2017 4:27 PM CST
I sure think depends on where you live, (how cold you get) some of my irises have been in pots longer than I want to admit. *Blush*
Edit changed it to think.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
[Last edited by iciris - Sep 21, 2017 6:31 PM (+)]
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Name: daphne
san diego county, ca (Zone 10a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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shizen
Sep 21, 2017 6:29 PM CST
some of mine will be in pots forever. Sticking tongue out Hilarious!
Name: Richard
SFBA (Zone 10a)
Region: Maryland Irises Dog Lover Birds Bromeliad Region: California
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lilpod13
Sep 21, 2017 6:35 PM CST
What I've learned about potting irises versus in the ground: In my locale, irises thrive in pots and do fine over winter. In fact, the problem I have to address is that it's difficult removing the rhizomes and they need thinning by the second year when grown in 14 inch diameter/ 7 gallon pots). My pots are pricey and appear to be of a synthetic material prone to cracking so I have to be extra cautious when digging up and thinning the rhizomes. I put them in pots because there's a wall separating our yard and the neighbor's property and planting in the ground would make it difficult for the plants to get sufficient sun exposure. Thus far, the 'pot experiment' has been successful and a few members this year received rhizomes from those plants and I was thrilled/ relieved that my rhizomes were given good feedback.
(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
Sep 21, 2017 11:46 PM CST
What do you use to dig them up Richard? I find this curved spoon useful in digging out, or thinning out increases. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0009W0YCS/

@janwax Jan recently bought one too and has been using it.
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
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IrisLilli
Sep 22, 2017 5:10 AM CST
Irises do well in pots in winter here. All the new rhizomes I receive later than Sept. 1st go in pots and are planted out in spring. (if I have a bed ready for them Whistling )
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Richard
SFBA (Zone 10a)
Region: Maryland Irises Dog Lover Birds Bromeliad Region: California
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lilpod13
Sep 22, 2017 5:11 PM CST
Rob,
I like that tool you suggested, I'll have to order one and see how it goes.
As for how I dig up rhizomes, I'm the last person to give advice on how to dig out the rhizomes, but my method is crude and old fashion. I start by using my hands to pull the top layer of soil from around the outer circumference of the soil line inside the pots. I use a garden trowel to dig down and pry the rhizomes out and often can snap off an outer layer of rhizomes from the central clump. I sometimes need to remove a clump from the pot and usually it's a slow 30 minute process hand digging and gently trying to pry the clump out without applying too much pressure to the pot in order to avoid cracking the composite material. Digging up rhizomes from the ground is so much easier and faster, but the ones in the pots grow faster and more prolific in my experience.
[Last edited by lilpod13 - Sep 22, 2017 5:14 PM (+)]
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Name: Timothy
eastern oregon (Zone 7b)
Irises Bulbs Region: United States of America Region: Pacific Northwest Plant and/or Seed Trader Dahlias
Garden Photography Salvias Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hybridizer Region: Oregon
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TBMan
Sep 22, 2017 8:46 PM CST
IrisLilli said:I'll risk stating the obvious and probably repeat myself (and others) but remember that irises in pots need lots of water compared to irises in the ground. In summer I water mine daily and our summers are not particularly hot.


your advice was duly noted, im sure -- Smiling

[Last edited by TBMan - Sep 22, 2017 8:49 PM (+)]
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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
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IrisLilli
Sep 23, 2017 11:06 AM CST
Well, if nothing else I have reminded myself to water the pots more often - not that I plan on having any irises in pots next year of course... Whistling Hilarious!
You don't know if it will grow until you try!

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