I have never harvested iris seeds before,so I need a lot of input about the process. How long do they need to stay on the plant? Also do they need to be refrigerated or can I plant them right into a pot?
These are bee pods on a couple of my favs and I would like to try iris from seeds.
Thanks for any suggestions.
I don't know how everyone else does it, but I plant all the seeds that I have from a particular cross in a five or six inch azalea pot in the fall and let them sit outside on my walkway so they can do the "freeze/thaw" thing all winter. The seeds won't germinate without it.
They will sprout in the Spring, and when the seedlings are a decent size, I move them into rows in my garden. But if it's a cross that I think has potential, I will often keep the pot with any ungerminated seeds for another year or two as they will continue to germinate.
The seed pod needs to stay on the plant until the pod turns dry and starts to crack open on its own at the top or sides. You can help it the rest of the way and collect the seeds:) The seeds are pea-sized, and are a very dark brownish-black. Sometimes, however, you will go to help it along and collect the seeds, just to find that the seed pod is really a 'balloon' and doesn't have any seeds inside at all:(
IndaShade is right, leave them outside in a pot for the fall/winter. This will help it shed any chemical inhibitors that keep it from sprouting at the wrong time. I don't know if squirrels like to eat iris seeds (I would think not, since so many parts of the iris are poisonous, at least to us), but just in case they do, you may want to put your seed's home somewhere protected, or get some food that squirrels like, so they won't be tempted to eat the seeds. Hope this helps, and good luck!
I just heard a lecture by Barry Blyth. He cuts the stalk off at the base once it ha finished growing and then sticks al his seed stocks in the grown in one place so he can keep track of them all. By the way, he said he has ove 14,000 seedlings this year. Obviously, he knows what he's doing.
Caitlin, that's what I do. I use old black nursery pots or azalea pots filled with potting soil. I just mix the seeds into the potting soil, water to start, and put them out on the walkway for the winter. They get all the rain and sometimes are covered with snow.
blomma, just out of curiosity, why do you close your containers? Of course, who am I to argue with success? I vaguely remember some of my seed sowing efforts in closed containers outdoors and how they turned into "stew". I need something that can hold its own until I remember to look at them!
blomma...Fun to see your seedlings. My seedlings are just 6-7 months old. They germinated in the house in Jan and Feb 2011. Lined them out May 2011. I'm weeding today but just took a break for lunch so looked at the computer. I'll take a picture of the weeded bed.
Lucy...I am hoping to have my TB seedlings bloom in one year. I gave them an early start, planted in well prepared soil, and water every few days...we will see. These seedlings mid-July. I'll take a new picture tomorrow. Each time I water I can almost see them grow.
My seedlings are growing and many have increase coming. We probably still have two or more months of good weather and I will continue to water for at least 6 weeks and then let them begin to go dormant and look forward to spring. Hope I have seedling pictures to post 2012.
The 3" of rain has started to make pods soggy. I was able to rescue one of my crosses yesterday. The seeds were a good tan & didn't seem to be affected. Small green worm in one of those pods. It certainly not living to grow up. Had not managed to attack a seed.
The pods are large and changing color. I think the seed are probably already mature but will harvest as the pods start to brown. We usually do not get bad weather before mid-October. Should be alright. Interesting that yours are ripening before mine as I would guess my bloom is a little earlier than yours. Years ago I gave some iris to a sister-in-law in Kemmerer,Wyo and they bloomed there several weeks later than mine.
Harvested two more seed pods yesterday, Jerilee X Cheap Frills and Glamour Pants X Fashion Diva. The second pod had 60 seeds. It's fun to imagine what each might produce. It rained here during the night so I got up at first light and weeded my seedlings. They are looking great. I went to take a picture but my battery needed charging so I will take one tomorrow and post. Some are huge and have several increase. Hybridizing iris teaches patience as we wait for each developement. They will be a bright spot next spring.
Leave the pods on the stalk until they turn brown and start to split. You might want to put an old nylon stocking on the pod as insurance. When pod is fully dry, or seeds start popping out, pick the pod. Put seeds on paper towel for a few days. Toss the ones that look too small or pale.
Plant seeds in 4" pots, keep them damp but not soggy. I don't know your weather, so if you have snow/freezing temps, put them in a glass-covered wooden box-bed. If all goes well you should have seedlings come spring.
When seedlings are 4-5" high, transplant to larger pots or ground. A 6" pot is OK for about a year; larger is better. I grow some in 15" tubs, wide and deep, and change them every other year. If you have nurseries nearby that grow trees you might be able to buy used tubs for a lot less than retail tubs of the same size would cost.
Be sure to keep a record of your crosses and label the pots. For the bee pods describe them by their location in the garden.
I rather not say this, but you need to know some cultivars are genetically unable to breed with each other. If this is the case, the seeds won't germinate.
I've posted some pictures of my seedlings on this thread. They germinated in the house in a sunny window in January, were lined out into the garden in May, and here is one of them blooming just in Oct...just 10 months from seed to bloom. Here it is, nothing special but still fun to see in Oct.
Oh boy, is it ever. Those buds are just teasers before they open. I expect to have many bloom next season, both irises and daylilies. Will only start 16 iris crosses this year for lack of room. Got to keep the suspense going LOL!
We, (DH & I) do iris seeds only. I am not sure if he had any last fall. We have had 2 days of rain which the snow seems to capture & hold. Just as well as the ground must still be frozen. Snow has disappeared from part of a couple of beds.
Dutch iris are a bulbus iris. They are the ones you see in florist arrangements.
Siberian irises are rhizomes, but beardless like spurias. Siberians like an acid soil. They can take more moist spot but don't need any difference condidions than the beared, except for more acidity in the soil. I don't have any pictures but I would guess that a Goggle search would find them.
dutch irises being bulbus, are registered in the Netherlands.
When the top of the pod starts to crack open is when to pick it. Put it in an envelope for a few days to finish drying.
Then scatter the seeds on a paper towel for a few days. Store them in the coolest, dry area in your house in a container, but not in refrigerator.
In August plant them in 4 inch pots, and leave them in a shady spot outdoors, keep moist but not soggy. Let them winter over if you get frost but not freezing.
If you do get freezes, put the pots in Zip-Lok bags, into your refrigerator vegetable bin--but not in freezer.
After your last frost date, set them back out in the yard in a sunny spot, again keep moist but not soggy.
Don't fertilize pots, but enrich the soil that will be at the permanent place or in the tubs. Follow directions on the fert. label, or use 2 TBS well mixed before transplanting. Be sure to label the seed pots, and the transplant spots later. (Use waterproof labels--I learned the hard way!
When the first leaves are about 4" high, it's time to transplant them to their permanent spot, or to a large--12-15" tub. For the tubs, the plants will need transplanting every 2nd year. For the permanent spot, they will need thinning or transplanting every 3rd year. They won't bloom well if too crowded.
If necessary they can grow for one year in a 6" x 8" pot --or a 2 lb. coffee can--be sure to put drain holes in the can--I've used a hammer and screwdriver to do that--my own screwdriver, that is, not my husband's!
They probably will bloom, but might not.
Only 2 tsps fert. well-mixed before planting
in 6" pot or coffee can.
Again keep the transplants moist but never overwater; probably once a week would be enough depending on your bloom season weather. Water the ground, not the leaves, so they won't get leaf spot. Look online for pictures of leaf spot and how to treat them.
Some cultivars will rebloom; if budstalks show color, in the fall, before heavy frost they can be brought to vase to bloom in a sunny window.
Ah, I see the difference. I read about some seeds that need that fluctuation, unlike Poppies I guess. Although they lay on top of the ground and in spring the temps surely fluctuate, especially morning to evening. Thanks. I think I will give it a try this fall.
Course, you are growing bearded iris right? That is sort of a lost cause up here. I keep trying though. I just checked out my "iris hill" as I call it. First dirt to come through the snow. I already see the tops of some BI from last year and they are already looking rotten. Will just leave them there and hope they can pull through.
I envy your lovely iris beds. I tried a couple of years to cover the tubers. Once with leaves. When the snow melted it went to ice and I couldn't get them off the tubers. Lots of rot that year. I have them in a bed that comes out from the snow first of all my beds, full sun, on a little hill sort of mound under a chokecherry tree but the tree is trimmed up the trunk about 3 feet so no shade from that. I have lilies, tulips and lots of non bulb type perennials in this bed all doing well. Daylilies one step down. I will just keep them clear of debris and let them soak up the sun and see what happens. The ones in the front beds that I have to shovel to get clear of snow (next to driveway and walk) are huge plants and very healthy. I don't cover them at all. And we don't suffer heaving of plants hardly ever. I have peonies, daylilies, tulips, etc in both of these beds.
Thanks for the tips and reminders. I hope this year the ones out front, both TB and dwarf will bloom this year. Three bloomed year before last and were huge and beautiful (Las Vegas and some light whiteblue ones). No blooms although huge plants. This year I was going to stick with a 10-10-10 on all beds. They are so mixed with different flowers that it seems the safest mix.
Well, that's kind of what I thought. I think the nursery uses 10-10-10 just to get their seedlings started good. I will pick up a summer fertilizer, water soluable. I guess as long as the second two numbers are twice the first number more or less, it should work.
I've had good luck hitting them with MG, as a foliar spray, right after bloom is over. I read some where that if done then, it helps them recover from blooming stress, and handle the "dormant" period better. I don't know if that's really so, but it sure seems to help mine !...I think I read that in Rocky Top Iris catalog...but I have an old man's memory !!(not too good !!)...Arlyn
Probably any good fertilizer addition to the bed would help, certainly aged manure is great. Keep good track of the seedling# for each parent as you give them when registering a plant, but have to work back to the name. My last registration of a BB was from 2 seedlings. the grandparents were name varieties so they had to appear also.
seedling # as parent, then those parents named.
I make up a # for the cross, then number the seedling. My seedlings crosses start with L to make them distinctive from those of DH which starts with a numeral. Then the year of cross, cross # & later seedling #. Everyone has their own system. So this years one success is L13-EB. The cross is E & B means border iris/ seedling # not there as yet--will come with planting in the ground. As I make the cross the # is written in my seedling book. If it doesn't take, that is indicated there as well. A lot of no takes this year. What ever numbering system works for you is best to do.