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Sep 30, 2018 11:47 PM CST
Name: bron
NSW-Qld border Australia
18 yr old in my subtropical garden!
I live a couple of miles from the east coast of Australia, almost exactly on the NSW Qld border. In May I bought some inexpensive irises hoping they might bloom. The foliage is nice anyway. and I plant them between my daylilies which have rust.

I would love to know what bearded irises do well in Florida or Georgia.

Before choosing plants I searched this and other sources for vigorous and/or reblooming cultivars. Price and appearance (and fragrance) were also criteria. We have long hot and often humid summers here. We get only one or two slight frosts a year. Alarmingly for the whole of Australia the last few years have been more than 2 degrees Celsius warmer than long term averages. I sometimes think I should not try and grow anything here. But with enough water here we can still grow daffodils (but not tulips), hellebores, even raspberries and wasabi. We can grow paw paw (papaya), mangoes, bananas and passionfruit (but not rhubarb and almost certainly not cashews). Our "winter"is the best time to grow tomatoes and vegetables.

When I got my irises I first put them into pots, mostly small. I kept them watered as we have had little rain but they were growing well. Some I bought last year grew well but gradually regressed as I thought then that I should not water them. They were in clay/shale subsoil, but at the top of a slope. I am now watering them more and will try and resurrect them.

I can only plant out when the ground is moist enough to dig, and I have materials to improve the "shale/soil". I mulch close up to the plant with wattle leaves or monterey pine, often on top of cardboard which suppresses weeds and keeps moisture in and extreme heat out.

Around the spring equinox I watered well, and when rain was forecast, I sprinkled a little Citrus fertiliser around all my established plants. My ground is not even heavy soil, but mostly is shale subsoil. They removed a hill here and used it for fill. So I dig a foot down, then into the bottom of the planting hole I pile lots of green manure and compost. I know that doing that can result in pooling that can rot plants. But the water soon drains away here or is siphoned out by wind or sun. I do make sure they are not planted much below the very surface.

In the last month I have so far had first ever blooms on:
Tay Daum Thumb of 2018-10-01/bron/783ede and
Stairway To Heaven
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Oct 1, 2018 12:29 AM CST
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Irises Region: Ukraine Garden Procrastinator Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: California Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals
Bron ~ Welcome! to the Iris Forum!

Sheer determination you have! Maybe someone that lives in the South can answer your question better. (I live in northern California, in which we get snow in the winter, and sometimes in the spring. It stays pretty hot and dry throughout the summer.) Good luck! Crossing Fingers!
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
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Oct 1, 2018 2:25 AM CST
Name: daphne
san diego county, ca (Zone 10a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Welcome! to the iris forum, bron.

we do have some forum members who live in your hemisphere, although, i am afraid i don't know how close they live to you.

i live in southern california about 1 1/2 - 2 miles from the pacific ocean. we are not considered the most ideal growing climate, but i've had moderate success in getting my irises to bloom. i've had to work hard at it. we have very sandy soil, and have a monsoon season with bouts of high humidity, and our summers have been relentlessly hot (especially these last couple of years).

while i've noticed that the irises i bought 2 years ago have declined a bit, i think the remedy is to add more compost. i may have to dig the iris clumps sooner than 3 years because my soil is nutrient starved.....i am presently, working on this matter by digging up older clumps and filling back with more compost and worm castings. it's a work in progress. Hilarious!

i don't know if we are considered subtropical, but i am able to grow plumerias, anthyriums, cordyline fruticosa, phaeleonopsis, and other orchids not usually grown outdoors (other than in hawaii or in the tropics), passion fruit vines and many other plants without the aid of shelter with the exception of very cold winters.
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Oct 1, 2018 6:35 AM CST
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Beekeeper Region: Illinois Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Welcome!
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Oct 1, 2018 3:04 PM CST
Name: Monty Riggles
Henry County, Virginia (Zone 7a)
Oops. The weeds took over!
Irises Region: Virginia Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Garden Procrastinator
Welcome to the iris forums, Bron! Welcome!

I am not in the south south (Virginia here), and I do not have very much experience, unfortunately. What I can say is make sure to your best ability to keep water puddles away from soaking the rhizomes for extended periods. It's rained bunches here and I have seen rot due to puddles. I guess just my two cents. I'm certain there are others with better advice to give than I can.

I have to say, Tay Daum is gorgeous! I have just recently planted Stairway to Heaven and I am stoked to have it! Good luck with your quest, Bron! Welcome once again! Welcome!
AB Iris 'Saracen Cinnamon' faithfully blooming early. (May 2022)
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Oct 1, 2018 5:53 PM CST
Los Altos, CA (Zone 9b)
Irises Region: Ukraine
Welcome! Bron. Congratulations on Stairway to Heaven blooming! It is a lovely iris and a
tough one.

I hope some of our forum members who live in hot humid climates can advise you. The members who live in inland valleys of California deal with very hot summers and have to be careful about
watering in the summer, since hot and wet leads to rot. I think drainage would be your main concern.
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Oct 1, 2018 5:57 PM CST
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Rescue dogs: Angels with paws needi
Dragonflies Dog Lover Bookworm I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover
Plays in the sandbox Butterflies Region: Texas Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member
Hi, Bron, good to see you over here!
Welcome! Welcome!
It’s okay to not know all the answers.
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Oct 1, 2018 7:01 PM CST
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Garden Photography Cat Lover Irises Seed Starter
Hi Bron,

There was a recent post on the Victorian Iris Society fb where someone in Rockhampton has "Puff the Magic" and "Taffeta Tantrum" growing well there
https://www.facebook.com/photo...
He also mentions that he grows "I'm Wicked" on someone else's post
https://www.facebook.com/photo...
Are your weather conditions similar to Rockhampton? If so, I can ask him what other irises grow well for him.

At the end of the bloom season I will have several clumps to divide and I am happy to send you some for the cost of postage if you are interested.
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Oct 1, 2018 7:05 PM CST
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Garden Photography Cat Lover Irises Seed Starter
and Welcome! to the iris forum Smiling
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Oct 2, 2018 5:39 AM CST
Plants SuperMod
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Region: Australia Cat Lover Bookworm Hybridizer
Orchids Lilies Irises Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Photography
Welcome! Bron! There are a few Aussies on here.
Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
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The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
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Oct 2, 2018 10:23 AM CST
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a semi-retired studio potter.
Dog Lover Region: California Organic Gardener Daylilies Irises Hummingbirder
Dahlias Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Welcome! Bron!
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Oct 2, 2018 2:28 PM CST
Name: Leon
Indiana (Zone 5a)
Light is the shadow of God!
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: United States of America Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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Welcome! BRON
Even a fool, when he shuts his mouth, is counted (as being) wise.Proverbs 17:28
MY BLOG
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Oct 2, 2018 4:05 PM CST
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Garden Photography Cat Lover Irises Seed Starter
Thank You! for the acorn Debra Green Grin!
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Oct 3, 2018 3:36 AM CST
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Rescue dogs: Angels with paws needi
Dragonflies Dog Lover Bookworm I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover
Plays in the sandbox Butterflies Region: Texas Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member
You are welcome, Robin. Smiling
It’s okay to not know all the answers.
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Oct 3, 2018 5:55 PM CST
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Dog Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers
I'm late, but Welcome! Bron.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
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Oct 7, 2018 5:45 AM CST
Name: bron
NSW-Qld border Australia
18 yr old in my subtropical garden!
Tay Daum blooms were huge and lasted a long time.

Stairway To Heaven opened up and was also pretty big.
Thumb of 2018-10-07/bron/423348

Nearby, Living The Dream got bigger and better
Thumb of 2018-10-07/bron/3d5723 Thumb of 2018-10-07/bron/e2346f

Then along came Pride And Prejudice. The bud got soaked in some much needed rain so others may be a bit less coppery. Thumb of 2018-10-07/bron/e68ee7

Then out came Dah Dah which might have been bigger with more water. I sure like it. It is both blue and violet, a bit like a dutch iris near it.
Thumb of 2018-10-07/bron/7bad53 Thumb of 2018-10-07/bron/9f0fa0
Last edited by bron Oct 7, 2018 5:52 AM Icon for preview
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Oct 7, 2018 6:21 AM CST
Name: bron
NSW-Qld border Australia
18 yr old in my subtropical garden!
Thank u all for the welcome, encouragement and info.

shizen said: :

we do have some forum members who live in your hemisphere, although, i am afraid i don't know how close they live to you.

while i've noticed that the irises i bought 2 years ago have declined a bit, i think the remedy is to add more compost. i may have to dig the iris clumps sooner than 3 years because my soil is nutrient starved.....i am presently, working on this matter by digging up older clumps and filling back with more compost and worm castings. it's a work in progress. Hilarious!


There are many parts of Australia where bearded iris are easily grown. Grosvenor, Taylor and perhaps many others have registered many stunners. Maybe the Pryors only hybridise Louisiana and Virginia iris.

Daphne, it sounds like we have similar climates but very different 'soil'. Similarly to you, I am digging up and improving the ground in which my iris and daylilies are planted.
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Oct 7, 2018 10:14 AM CST
Name: bron
NSW-Qld border Australia
18 yr old in my subtropical garden!
UndyingLight said:Welcome to the iris forums, Bron! Welcome!

..... keep water puddles away from soaking the rhizomes for extended periods.


Thank you Monty. I think that meeting the plant's needs like that one requires different tricks in various gardens. We can have long periods of dry, but it can also rain lots. I thought that my shale like 'soil' would keep the roots of my plants moist for a long time. So I was extra careful that I did not plant my TBI lower than the ground around them. They appear not very deep rooted and the sun and wind here means they need water when it doesn't rain. Without heaps of grass clippings underneath, and compost around plants, my ground dries rock hard.

Hope you have some nice blooms next spring +.
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Oct 7, 2018 3:49 PM CST
Name: Monty Riggles
Henry County, Virginia (Zone 7a)
Oops. The weeds took over!
Irises Region: Virginia Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Garden Procrastinator
Thank you, Bron. Hopefully you can get some rain though, because irises do need that sometimes. Whistling I, on the other hand, wish the rain would stop. It has been clear for the past couple days, but it has rained in incredible amounts this year. Glare

Hopefully, your iris bloom season will be great as well! Big Grin
AB Iris 'Saracen Cinnamon' faithfully blooming early. (May 2022)
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