Irises forum: Growing Irises

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Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Nov 27, 2017 1:38 PM CST
Now I have combined all my Iris beds into one.
I have old school purple and yellow ones Sharon put in two beds on a hill but those are hers.
I have old school in mine, which seem to be tough as nails but of the dozen, or two, I have bought in spring the past twenty years, if I am fortunate, four will still be around come spring.

What is the trick to making them survive?
I have sandy clay here and they do not get dry.
When I had them in clay down south the same survival rate applied there.
These are the big German type.
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Nov 27, 2017 9:01 PM CST
Your irises may be staying too wet then. Rhizomes of bearded, or German, iris are happier when dryer. You may want to mix some more soil into your clay. And put furrows between the iris rows to create more drainage.

I am sure others on here who live in your northern climate will have good advice to give as well.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Deer
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Nov 28, 2017 2:17 PM CST
Very good suggestion from Leslie.

One thing that comes to mind is that it might be beneficial to provide a bit of winter protection once the soil has frozen in the beds. I've often seen spruce branches recommended for this purpose. Unless of course there is plenty of snow, in which case you obviously don't need to do this.

Depending on what your problem is, early treatment can be most beneficial. As long as there is a firm piece left on the rhizome, there is hope. Cut the bad part off and treat with some diluted bleach or similar. Wait too long and this window of opportunity is gone.

I'm also thinking that a bit of additional info about your problem might be good. Are the rhizomes watery and smelly come spring or is it a dry rot? Maybe you have a picture? What methods have you already tried to solve this problem?
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Nov 28, 2017 2:56 PM CST
``I removed all from the clay garden mainly because I got tired of fighting quack grass as the quack grass had a main root down over eight inches and I never get all of it no matter whether I dig or spot poison.

Up here in the sandy clay, I removed all the ones in the truly wet area and put in a dry well as the rain spout drops there.
The soil is the type you pour a gallon on it and it is gone within two seconds after pouring.
It is just annoying that even ones that last three years and are in a good area you do not know if they will come up the next year or not.
Now as next year the ones down South just go moved up this year and , for me, transplants rarely bloom the year after being moved but Sharon can take the ones I toss out, purple and large Yellow ones, put them in the ground willy-nilly (She is not the best at following gardening rules and at times I have to fix her chinese-fire-drill) but with stuff like this she does great.

I have never actually checked t he rhizomes.
I have looked at them, and they appeared solid, I tapped on them but do not dig them out as then it probably will not bloom the next year.
If I find a soft spot, I cut that off often with a clean knife.
Due to laziness, I used to leave the plastic marker in by the rhizome so I knew what was what but when the other half started digging, and I am guilty of this to a degree, she pulls them out and has no idea where it really was.
She has put tulips in that area recently but even years she did not do that if it lasts and blooms three years it is a rare one.
Now up here also there is a quack grass problem, and she just pulls the top off which makes it worse, therefore; I have in the past four years twice dug up the area infested with quack grass but again where that might be one reason for no bloom for one year, there are too many years they just went away.
I will see if I can get my digicamera working, I keep saying that but I hate the d--- things, and put some pictures up next year.

[Last edited by RpR - Nov 28, 2017 5:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Nov 28, 2017 6:23 PM CST
The product Grass B Gon can take care of your quack grass problem without affecting the irises or peonies or daylilies. I could not garden here without it. It works best when sprayed on while it's actively growing. It takes a while to kill it, but it will die.

The shorter the growing season, the less likely an iris will bloom the year after transplanted. Often taking a couple years.

You might have better luck growing the intermediates and MDB's in your zone. They tend to do better in colder climates.

Good Luck! Smiling
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great

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