Irises forum: Standard dwarf question

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Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Apr 22, 2018 8:32 AM CST
I don't think any of my dwarf iris grow the height they are supposed to. I am reading 10 inches tall or so on most, but mine bloom 3 or 4" tall, barely out of their foliage. I think Baby Blessed does grow taller for me, taller than I expect a dwarf to grow. Should I be fertilizing or something?
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
Apr 22, 2018 9:29 AM CST
They may need to be divided & reset. SDBs are between 10 & 15 inches tall. MDBs grow up to 10 inches. After bloom you may want to lift & redo your bed. Have they been in place for a long time?
(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
Apr 22, 2018 10:56 AM CST
Even in new beds, my SDB's tend to bloom short. It may have to do with our warmer winters and our very hot summers.
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
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grannysgarden
Apr 22, 2018 11:58 AM CST
The main reason for a plant to bloom is to create a seed so that the species will live on. Sometimes a plant does not have much energy so it will produce a bloom but not have enough energy to produce any stalk at all. Usually a plant that is lacking energy will produce short stalks.

It may be that they have suffered environmental stress to the point of thinking they are in danger of dying and produce a flower in order to make sure they do not go extinct. I know this sounds like i think plants worry about what's in fashion and who to vote for.... Blinking but really..... it is just the survival instinct all things natural have. Smiling

The environmental stress could be a freeze occurring when the plant was just coming out of dormancy or even a severe drought the summer before when they used all their energy to survive. It could be overcrowding so that there is not enough nutrition to go around or that they are planted by another plant that is using most of the available food.

Producing short, or no, stalks occurs in my garden to newly planted ones or some of the newer more ruffled varieties. The older ones, hybridized 40 years or more ago, do not tend to do this.

Whatever the reason it should not be a characteristic of any iris and will not likely repeat itself the following year. However, with the weather we have had for many months anything may be possible. Smiling
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Apr 24, 2018 3:26 PM CST
I can see it being a cold issue because these iris tend to bloom while temps are all over the place. Most of what I have are not crowded, I think they just do not like it here. They just do not multiple well, and sometimes skip blooming for 2 or 3 years. Glebe brook, Boo, and Stitch Witch bloom well and multiply every year, just short. Little Sighs, Blueberry Tart, little Annie and half a dozen others just bloom every few years. Intermediates and tall beardeds grow nearby, multiply like crazy and bloom well. It has just occurred to me, I have always planted dwarfs like other bearded iris, partially above the ground. Maybe they should be buried? Would the do well in pots?
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
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grannysgarden
Apr 24, 2018 7:04 PM CST
SDB's like what other bearded irises like. I don't know what is happening with your little irises. It sounds like they get the same treatment that the taller medians are getting. It is a puzzle. I grow MDB's in pots because they require moving out of sun in the heat of summer and to the north slope for the duration of winter but the SDB's should be performing for you like your IB's are. Confused
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Apr 25, 2018 6:25 AM CST
Sdb iris seem to struggle for me. Or maybe I should say, they are hit or miss. Boo is really good, even too good. I have a huge clump, it always blooms no matter how cold it gets. I think I only have 1 MDB iris, Dappled Pony, it does not bloom every year either. At least when it does bloom, it is the height I expect though. I can try potting it up. I did not realize it needs summer shade. Thank you for the advice, I do appreciate the help. I love the tall bearded iris, the intermediate may be my favorite because they don't fall over, but I really like the unusual patterns on these SDB iris
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
Image
grannysgarden
Apr 25, 2018 6:49 AM CST
I agree that the TB's are gorgeous but require more care such as staking and some of the newer beautiful huge blooms do not stand up to this areas spring storms. Still they are the main show. Smiling The IB's are sturdier due to their stature and do not require as much care. The hybridizers are coming up with more patterns and color all the time. Thumbs up The SDB's are fun and just magical. They are my favorite. They are sturdy and the variety of color and patterns are increasing every year. I hope your SDB's start doing well for you. It is so nice to have blooms for a month before the TB's get started. Smiling Thumbs up
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
Apr 25, 2018 12:25 PM CST
no they do not like being buried. they are also rhizomes, not bulbs.
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Apr 25, 2018 6:23 PM CST
Well, I scattered a bit of fertilizer over them, maybe that will help. I never fertilize my other iris, just add compost when I divide them. I do have a couple of clumps that I will divide up, maybe that will help them. I appreciate all the help.

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