Irises forum: Bearded Iris not blooming

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Name: Marci Strode
Kansas City,MO
Dec 8, 2018 9:21 AM CST
New to Iris, planted numerous healthy plants in 2017--got a few blooms the first year; but this year absolutely nothing! Keep the area well watered but not soaking & fertilized with a "bloom producing" fertilizer, gets plenty of light. My other perennials bloomed like gang busters, so I'm not sure what I did wrong. I really want to add more, but hesitate to do so until I figure this out! Thanx.
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
Dec 8, 2018 11:51 AM CST
Marci ~ First of all, Welcome! to the Irises Forum! Hurray!

Where do you live, and how often are you watering?
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Monty Riggles
Henry County, Virginia (Zone 7a)
Oops. The weeds took over!
Irises Region: Virginia Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Garden Procrastinator
Dec 8, 2018 1:03 PM CST
Welcome to the iris forums, Marci! Welcome!

From what I'm hearing, it is possible you're either overwatering, overfertilizing or snippets of both for your irises. I second Evelyn with the question of how much you're watering them.

Depending on how much, some of your irises may have been poised to rot, and even some succumb to it. Usually, an iris of the bearded kind....are they the "bearded iris?" that look like this?

Notice the fuzzy looking things on the petals that fall(That's how you know it is a bearded iris!). nodding

If not, you might have other beardless varieties, particularly some that need a lot more water than you'd guess, but it sounds like you have bearded irises. If ya do, bearded irises usually only need "thick" watering for a few weeks, or until they've set in. Then they're really drought tolerant and don't need water so much as even every two weeks. I say, water them when it hasn't rained in...a week at least, and I've known the optimal fertilizing time is six weeks before the bloom (roughly April-May for blooms, so March at the latest), and right after the blooming period so that the rhizome (the fancy term for a long rhizome) can set in place increases and further blooms.

I hope this helps you - I am sure there are plenty more experienced iris veterans that can help too. Hey, if you stick around, pretty soon you might be hoarding irises because you've gotten addicted to them.... Whistling
SDB Stop and Stare
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
Dec 9, 2018 4:55 AM CST
Marci, which growing zone do you live in. If your winter temps remain too high, that can affect bloom on the irises, especially the miniatures. Another thing I might suggest is to test your soil for nutrients and acidity. Then amend the soil as needed rather then just adding randomly. There are many irises that need a couple years to settle in before blooming it seems, especially where the growing season is short. Hang in there, I'm sure we can support you through a good bloom season. Smiling
Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,"
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Dec 9, 2018 8:44 AM CST
My guess is they were planted "too deep".

You stated they were planted in "17, and you had "a few blooms, the first year", so, were they planted in the spring, and had a few flowers in that first summer ? Or, did you plant in the summer, and had a few blooms in the fall ?
"Too much" water, would have caused a rot problem, maybe, but shouldn't have affected bloom, and, as to fertilizer, unless the soil they were planted in was very depleted , to begin with, there should be enough "go power" in that soil for two-three year's worth of bloom (IMHO), so my thinking is, if it ain't water, and it ain't food, it's either sun exposure, or planting depth. You said they get "light", and they need at least, one half day of sun....and more is better....and that "sun exposure" needs to be available all growing season, spring, summer, and early fall.

If the rhizomes are planted "too deep" (and except for a few areas of "severe climate", the very top of the rhizome should be visible, after they are planted) the increases (which are where "next years" flowers will come from)have to "grow towards" the soil surface, and depending on "how deep" , that can take a few years!
Name: daphne
san diego county, ca (Zone 10a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Dec 9, 2018 6:48 PM CST
Welcome! marci. growing zone is an important place to start to help you.

exposure to sun, is another important factor. depth of planted rhizomes, and then kind of soil, such as sandy or clay. after that, nutrients and water. you got some good advice from tom, get the soil tested to add nutrients accordingly.

kind of soil is important, too, because it will factor into how much or how often the irises need irrigation.
Name: Lilli
Lundby, 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
Dec 10, 2018 4:48 AM CST
Welcome! Marci! I think you have enough advice to start on, but don't hesitate to ask more questions. The good people here like to help! Smiling
You don't know if it will grow until you try!

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