iris culture question

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

Because I had shoulder surgery, I kinda let my gardens go. My iris were covered up with weeds and I am working on them now. They look pretty pitiful. Since it is normal to add a little fertilizer when planting iris at this time of year, should I add a little fertilizer to the existing ones now? They need a boost but I don't want to overdo it.

Lyndon, IL(Zone 5a)

Hi,! I'd say a light dose of 5-10-10,or similar, wouldn't hurt a thing...Arlyn

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I ferted all my iris when I planted the new ones in late Aug. I use Ozmacoat the slow release brand.
We had an awful spring and many iris didnt bloom so I figured a little fert would be a nice treat to hold them until next year.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Good. I was wondering the same thing. I have 10-10-10 but I guess I want the first number (N) to be lower.

South Hamilton, MA

It would help but 10 as the first # is still acceptable.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Will add it to the list. I think the iris and daylilies take up much more nutrients than I thought and if it is insufficient they don't bloom. Plants are huge, but no flowers this year.

Lyndon, IL(Zone 5a)

Hi, Pick up some "triple phosphate(0-45-0) and mix 50/50 with your 10-10-10, then use the same amount( by volume} that'll give you 5-27-5, and should be about a perfecy mix....Arlyn

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Good heavens. I all but flunked chemistry. lol. I will have D mix it for me. Thanks so much. I think I have the triple phosphate just wasn't sure how to use it.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Oberon.I never got as far as Chemistry.Good to know I have company.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Oh yeah. And we won't even mention the math classes. Sad, really sad.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Just give me a good art class and some english lit.

Lyndon, IL(Zone 5a)

"A rose by any other name, would smell as sweet." but it would do better if you fertilize!...Arlyn

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

lol. Aren't we the literary bunch.

South Hamilton, MA

Iris are heavy feeders. Good luck with it. Families should be a mixture of literature & science so things can get done.☺

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I'm lit and Damien is science, or at least math. An engineer.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Me ,, I use a little triple phosphate sprinkled lightly around the iris, Only I flunked iris chemistry ,and science math ,so what do I know?, about nothing mostly ,, lol

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

We all respond to beauty,thats whats important.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

The stuff I value the most I learned here. My world has shrunk since I retired and I must say I am much more relaxed and happy. I will mix up the stuff for my iris. We had a heavy frost and 30-32F last night. Time to cut down peonies.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Mary: I completely agree about life after work. My connectins on the garden websites are important. I am so happy not to HAVE to do anything.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Yes. I think that is it. Not having to do things except as you perceive the priorities (for the most part.) The thought of having to make a meeting just sets up my hackles. I know it is from so many years of not controlling my own personal life; always putting work above all else. Stupid. But in a time when the only way to be acknowledged in the workplace was by being "super woman" it seemed the right thing. The craving for approval is a terrible driver. I still get a little tweak when someone I know gets a promotion or I by pass a really good job I know I could do well - better than well. But I now realize what the cost would be. I could not resist the call to excel, give more than required, all in the name of (whether I knew it or not -- and I do NOW) being admired. Sad. So I am happy to shut it all out, enjoy my garden and pond, my daughter and husband. I really don't miss that world.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I agree.I was self employed artist for 30 years.Its necessary to have high standards and always push yourself to create new work.
The whole lifestyle was great with the exception of commissions.I gave up doing them because there are so many people who didnt really want what they ordered,some just liked pulling my chain.
I learned how to state the terms in such a way that they didnt walk all over me for anything.
The part I dont miss is the outdoor art festivals especially in bad weather.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Wow. What a life. Can't imagine that. I was an accountant, controller level. About the antithesis of what you did. I don't have a creative bone in my body except for designing databases and spreadsheets. For me, that is like working cross word puzzles. I could so it as a hobby. But don't ask me to match colors or patterns. I do counted cross stitch but can't do crewel work. Just can't get the feel for it.

Danielsville, GA(Zone 7b)

I believe my ground could use some lime.I pklan to fert. also, but this is for sure, I will need to dig, and replant.
Glad to know I wasn't alone this spring. I thought the thickness of growth was the reason for lack of blooms. Mike

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

that's what I have heard from a lot of different places. If we are still talking iris, if the clumps get too big the flowers get sparser. I get sort of tired of digging up the clumps and breaking them apart. I think come spring I will do the fertilizer thing and if I don't get good results I will plan to break them up in the fall.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I've seen many people say they divide them six weeks after bloom. It gives the irises time to make new roots before winter.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Good point. Too late for this year by a bunch. We now have about 2-3" of snow. And I still have to climb into the pond to do cleanup and pull pumps. Yuk. that same would also apply to dividing up daylilies? I have the same problem with them. The fans are triple in some cases. Well, I will give them the same shot in the 'roots' as the iris next spring and then if no obvious results, out comes the knife.

South Hamilton, MA

Irises are usually divided every 3 yrs. Siberians certainly, or the clumps get so big you can't do anything with them. Next summer certainly divide if they have been in the ground for a long time.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Mary - double and triple daylily fans are fine. Why divide them unless you need the space? I have many with 40, 50 and more fans and they're spectacular in bloom.

Some TBI's form huge clumps in a shorter time than others. Every three years is excellent advice while some can wait a bit longer. This one gets divided every two years.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Those are both beautiful. I especially love the daylily. the colors are so vibrant and sharp. Mine are sort of mushy and the form is not sharply defined.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Mary. Irises seem to be portrayed more true to color than all the phony daylilies I've bought in my time.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Such as what I can keep from rotting and that have bloomed (BI) I agree. To me they look like orchids of the north.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

Mary, have you considered trying Japanese irises? They should be hardy in your zone, and I have two customers in Alaska that grow them successfully. Talk about looking like orchids!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I have tried a few times without much success. But then I didn't try very hard. A friend here has sent me a few to try again. One bloomed and it was just gorgeous. I have planted in them a variety of spots all over the yard to see where they like it the best. Next spring will be the answer. I have hopes as I really like them and the bearded iris are really iffy here. I have had them bloom and even returned and have huge fans but no flowers this summer. I suspect, lack of fertilizer, lack of sun, too much rain -- pick any one, while we had all three. Next summer I will fertilize in the spring, then again when they bloom and again in the fall. I think that's right.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

And mulch the Japanese really heavily, up to about 4 inches of mulch. My customers are in zone 3, so it would seem you would do OK. I'm surprised Anchorage is z5, are you in some special warm pocket?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Yup. a nice little warm micro-climate. I always worry about rotting the iris if I cover them too much. Are you sure it would apply to us. We get several feel of snow to cover them.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

Bet I get more snow than you. So yes. Now, I'm talking about beardless irises, like siberian and Japanese, not bearded. I don't mulch those at all. But mulch around the iris, not right on top

My friend Dee that owns Snowpeak iris throws a whole shovelful of steer manure on top of her sibs and JIs before winter.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Wow. Well, the Japanese current is kind of nice but we still get 3-4' that stays all winter.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

We get about 200-300 a year, and have about 6' that sticks. Good insulator.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

200 to 300 feet of snow?? Holy Cow. I know you guys get hammered but my gosh. Sounds like Valdez. When you drive by houses down there you will see doors on the second floor with no steps to them. They are there because they get so much snow that they end up using the upstairs doors to get out on the snow as the ones down below are snowed in a good part of the winter.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

No, inches. Sorry. Good grief, no. However, we do have houses from here up to the Adirondacks with the upper doors. But we haven't had to use that for many, many years. I can remember in my childhood we used to get much more snow. We had an upstairs door, and I remember Dad going out it just once. The logistics of the upper door just amaze me. Like where do you start to shovel something like that?

How much do you get in your area?

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