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Advice on Bearded Iris

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
by kathyg on November 10, 2005 12:08 PM
I have lived in my house for 15 years and my bearded irises have multiplied quite a bit. We need to move soon and I was wondering if I could take some of my irises with me? I would need to pull them now (before the ground freezes - I live in NJ) and would not be able to transplant them until the spring. I was wondering if I could just put some of the rhizomes in a box or pot with dirt or is it better to store them in a bag without dirt? These flowers were the first thing I planted when I moved into this home and I am hoping to be able to take some with me to the next. Thank-you for any tips.
by Patty S on November 10, 2005 05:49 PM
I don't know what the "rules" are about Iris, but I know 1st hand that they'll take a beating, then hit the ground running again, whenever they get back into the ground!

When we moved here 2 years ago, there was so darned much Bearded Iris EVERYWHERE, I thought the previous owners must have been nuts or something! I dug Iris up, hand-over-fist, & thought I'd never see the last of them! (It was easy! Most of them didn't even have dirt over the tops of them! That looked awful, but hadn't stopped them from blooming PROFUSELY!) I dug them up even before the flowers had died off, not knowing or caring if it was the right time or the right way to do it... I just wanted them GONE! [tongue]

I had buckets & buckets of Iris that I'd dug up, & they sat around getting totally neglected for a couple months (because I kept forgetting to take them to the dump)! Several people heard about my "garbage Iris" & said they wanted some, so I managed to finally get rid of them! [wavey] The following Spring (this year) I heard from each 1 of them & they couldn't thank me enough... said their Iris gardens were gorgeous!

Bordering our property line there was a massive row of Iris, more than 100 feet long, almost hidden among the tall weeds of the adjacent field. I didn't pay much attention to them until this year, but when Springtime came, although they were only a little taller than the weeds, the sight of them upstaged the tacky looking overgrowth in the field! I had to admit that they were so beautiful there, I decided to leave them alone & try to clean up the area around them, instead of pulling them out like I'd done with the ones around the house & in the yard! (I don't think I could live long enough to dig them all up anyway, so its a good thing that I decided to like Iris!) [dunno]
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(These were taken from almost the same spot, 1 facing east & the other facing west... I should have taken pictures when they were all in bloom! It was breathtaking!)
I've started cultivating the hillside above where they are, & have moved some of them around because although there are a variety of colors out there, they aren't very scattered around, color-wise. I've got a pretty good start with the first 50 feet & plan to do the other 50 feet next Spring.

Anyway, last fall before I'd decided to leave them alone & fix up the hillside above them, I dug up 20 or 30 plants for my sister, & just dumped them in a box with whatever dirt came up with them, & put them in the garage. She had planned to come for a visit (from 400 miles away) but didn't make it until January... & the Iris was fine! The little ones (which must have been 1st year starts within the shoveled masses of Iris root) were reaching for light (of which there was very little, in the garage all winter), but they were fine! She took them home & planted them as soon as the ground was workable, & the older ones bloomed for her! (The little ones will probably bloom next year.)

So all I can tell you is that Iris seem to be pretty hardy & I don't think they care what you do with them, as long as you put them back in the ground before they get dry & shrivel up... which apparently takes a LONG time! I would guess that they should be in some dirt, or wrapped up in newspaper or something to keep the moisture in. (not plastic though, because the roots hold their moisture in, & you don't want mold to get started.) I didn't water any of the 1's I dug up... could have been dumb luck, or could have been that I had inadvertently done it right, or it could be that with Iris, it just doesn't matter! All I know is that mine all survived just fine!

I'm sure someone will come along here with a more intelligent approach than mine! [thumb] Good luck, & have a HAPPY move! [grin]

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by TheGardenerGuy on November 10, 2005 10:26 PM
What gorgeous iris! I remmeber when i was out in Oregon for school..what beautiful iris they have.. [Smile]
Hopefully someday mine will look that nice! Im just starting my bed here in cold IL.. [Smile]
Greg

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In the midst of the storm..I find the greatest Peace. I don't know what tomorrow holds..but i know Who holds tomorrow. [angel]
by melcon6 on November 10, 2005 10:32 PM
quote:
could have been dumb luck, or could have been that I had inadvertently done it right, or it could be that with Iris, it just doesn't matter! All I know is that mine all survived just fine!

The luck o' the Iris!

I love them! Not sure about storing them , but I imagine you could store them in some peat.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY CINDY!!!!!!!
by neko nomad on November 11, 2005 01:12 AM
Ah, if only I had the problem of too many irises-- I don't think that'll ever happen, though.

Patty S's remedy just about covers it; keep your plants in a box-- something like a plastic litter tray would work fine -- cover with loose dirt,and they should keep in your unheated garage nicely.

The object is to keep those rhizomes DORMANT until it's time to set them out.
by TheGardenerGuy on November 11, 2005 11:57 AM
Would the same be true for daylilies?
I plant many of daylilies and iris this spring and might move this winter...
Would they make it? I spent alot of $$ on them and dont want to leave them.

Greg

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In the midst of the storm..I find the greatest Peace. I don't know what tomorrow holds..but i know Who holds tomorrow. [angel]
by kathyg on November 11, 2005 12:12 PM
Thank-you for the advice (and the pictures). Mine have been beautiful and about the only thing I have been able to grow in the sandy soil I have (especially since I do not have a green thumb). I hope the ones I take will survive the move - if not, at least I saved the new homeowner the aggravation of figuring out what to do with all the irises!!! I started with about 5 or 6 plants which filled in the flower bed on the side of my house and I moved some to all along the back of the house. I figure these ones won't be missed since the new owner don't even know they are there. Thanks again.
by comfrey on November 11, 2005 12:18 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Patty S:
Most of them didn't even have dirt over the tops of them! That looked awful, but hadn't stopped them from blooming PROFUSELY!
I don't know about how to store the irs roots, but I am sure you can take some, Iris are very hardy. But you might look at this: moving and storing iris

And here is care & Transplanting:
Dividing and Transplanting Iris Plants

As far the dirt over the tops of them...In order to bloom the top parts of the roots need to be exposed a small amount in order to bloom.

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by obywan59 on November 11, 2005 01:03 PM
Yup, Iris rhizomes are tough! I once dug a few up, intending to transplant them shortly. I was too lazy even to find some dirt or potting soil to put them in. I just grabbed a glass jar to put them in and filled it half full with water to hold them temporarily. Well, I could never seem to find the time to get them planted. Every now and then, when I noticed they were getting dry, I'd put some more water on them. They sat in that water for 2 or 3 months on the screen porch, before I finally planted them outside. There was a little bit of rot on them, but they survived and did fine.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by Patty S on November 11, 2005 06:34 PM
Kathy, I say take them ALL with you! Even after I uprooted all those Iris when we first moved here, there were still baby Iris poking thru in those spots, this spring! (I have a hunch that the new homeowner will STILL have Iris, even if you think you've gotten them all!)

It's been said here, that the definition of a weed is anything that grows where you don't want it to! Well, that being the case after what I was dealing with the 1st year I was here, I think Iris must be in the weed family ! [shocked] Ha ha! ...But, who could ask for lovelier ones, huh?! [flower]

Thanks Comfrey, for the links! Seeing how many babies were on the ones I'd dug up, & as crowded as the Iris are across my hill next to the field here, I think that since I decided that I like Iris after all, I should thin them out a bit & give them all a little more elbow room to grow! Wouldn't it be something if they'd take over that ugly field next to us?! (DREAM ON!!) Anyway, since I'm thinking about doing that, it might behoove me to look & see how to do it "right"! (Hope that doesn't mess me up, cuz the way I did it when I didn't care, worked just fine!)

I didn't get a snapshot of the yellow ones, or the pale purple ones with the brown streaks, but here's what's coming up out there, so far:
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I'm thinking that I should go buy some new colors!

Hey, TheGardenerGuy, if you ever have occasion to travel through Oregon, give me a holler & stop by...(I-5 runs right through town, so I'm not "out of the way!) ...I'll let you borrow my shovel & you can have a hay day, digging up as many as you want! All you'll have to do is toss them in on top of your spare tire & make sure to get them out of the trunk before it freezes, when you get back home! (That invitation is open to anyone else here, as well! I don't think I could give away so many that I'd ever run out!)

Low maintenence, deer resistant, green thumb not required... who could ask for more?! I think I've died & gone to heaven here! (And I used to think that Montana was "God's country"! He sure gets around!!) [thumb] [clappy] [Wink]

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by comfrey on November 12, 2005 07:43 AM
Here are some of my freebie Iris, someone dug them out of their yard and had them in a burn pile, a friend of mine seen them and ask if they could have them, and they brought me a car trunk full, there are other colors that were including in this bargin also.
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