Can you plant an iris in a whiskey barrel?

wvchiarianApril 9, 2014

I have seen posts on planting iris in containers but I was wondering if anyone has used a whiskey barrel and planted just one or two iris in it. I am new to this, my grandmother grew iris for years and recently died so I want to continue on her tradition of her favorite flower but I don't have my own house to build a flower garden so I was wondering if it would be possible to use a whiskey barrel and have a successful growth of a bearded iris. Any hints and tips would be appreciated!


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iris_gal(z9 CA)

First drink all the whiskey. Then drill holes in the bottom. Fill with good dirt. Or 1/3 bad dirt and 2/3 potting soil. A nice draining friable mixture is what you're after. Mix in some bonemeal if you have it. Plant the bearded with the top part of its rhizome showing. Water in thoroughly to settle the soil.

An excellent choice if it is 18+ inches deep and at least 12 inches diameter. Then I would use 1 tall bearded. What are the barrel's measurements?

The biggest detriment to container planting for beardeds is their determination to travel. When they're butting up against the edges you must replant and often they sulk for a year. Steer clear of any that are labeled as vigorous. IB's (intermediates) are as beautiful and may take longer to overrun their space. Full sun of course. Let the top 4 inches of soil dry before watering again. They do not like moist soil. A more elegant flower does not exist for me.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:25AM
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thank you so much for the advice...the measurements are 26" diameter by 16" high. Should I only plant one iris or can I plant more than one? My favorite are the bearded iris which is what I want to grow but I would like more than one iris at a time...I can't wait for us to have our own home so that I can plant an actual garden and have many iris growing. I REALLY want to pass down the tradition of growing iris to my children as my grandmother did for me.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 2:44PM
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Would I be better off planting dwarf iris instead? I am sorry for all the questions but my grandmother had a series of mini strokes and wasn't able to teach me the ins and outs of growing she is gone and its to late. I should of listened to her when I was younger but I was being a stupid teenager and wasn't thinking about the long term and what it meant to me.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 2:54PM
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I just pop in on occasion and am certainly not an iris expert but I have grown them in CA and NC and found them to be very forgiving and easy to handle. That is a nice big barrel and while the iris will grow outward, you can snap off the center area and move the edge plants back to the center in a year or two. So, while one plant might be best, I suspect you could put three in there (fans toward the edge) for the time being.

It wasn't clear from your post whether you might still have access to any of your mother's iris. If you do, the barrel would certainly keep them going. When I moved 9 years ago, I had planned to take some of mother's iris, but in the rush (and thinking it a bad time of year) I forgot to dig any up. On a day like this, I remember my error. However, the thoughts of the old iris will stay with me even though the plants are gone. I hope yours stay with you in your heart.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:53PM
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Yes I still have access to her iris, she just passed away on Dec. 31 so my mom and aunts are still in the process of clearing out her house. I never thought about getting any of her plants but then again I don't even know how to do it. I am brand new at the gardening thing completely...I always just enjoyed my grandmothers beautiful flowers but never slowed down to learn about everything which I desperately regret now. Can I even get a piece of hers this time of the year? I thought they had to be planted in the late summer/fall. I would love to have at least one of hers to carry on, that would be amazing.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 10:18PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

26" diameter is wonderful! I would be tempted to put 6 TB's in there if they were ones I wanted to save. If buying I would do 3-4. Yes, dwarf iris do take less space. Go with your heart. You will then be thrilled every time it blooms.

Were your Grandmother's all the same? If different colors are they in separate locations for you to get a piece of each? How many colors? etc. etc.

If the soil is diggable, you can dig up pieces like those marked with a circle. Now. The 2 X's are dead mother rhizomes. This clump has a bad growing pattern. Some do, some don't. In need of serious clean-up.

One piece is enuf to start a clump. That piece will be broken off its mother and should be left overnight for the cut area to dry (callus). A raw cut put into soil immediately is vulnerable to rot. The rhizome will look like a small potato. Leaves may not be visable yet in your zone?

This link has much better pictures and explanations.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 1:28AM
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She had so many different colors that I honestly can't count them. They were spread over about five different flower beds. Thank you for the picture and link, it helps me understand it a lot better. Hopefully this time next year I will have a piece of something she grew growing in my garden.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 2:11AM
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Sorry, I misread and now see you are dealing with your grandmother's plants. You now probably know enough to get you going. I just wanted to point out that I was serious when I mentioned that they grow easily. Many years ago when I did my first serious clean up and dividing of some very old and barely flowering iris (that then flowered like gangbusters with new space and some bone meal), I threw the excess rhizomes in a couple of out of the way piles. They grew without any care and may still be there now. Admittedly, that was easy growing California conditions. Last year, now in North Carolina, I thought of those piles and threw some of my excess plants into the woods. I just noticed that many of those plants appear to be growing well. They may not flower because some will be in too much shade but they are growing without the touch of human hands since they hit the ground.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 7:34AM
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Its ok chase045, I appreciate all of your alls help...iris_gal had an amazing idea with getting pieces off my grandmothers flowers so I spoke to my mom and we are going to get them at the end of this growing season and plant them at my mom's house, she has plenty of flower bed room, so that when I get my house I can get a piece off of them. That way I have a piece of my grandmother's hard work living on, one of her all time favorite things which means more to me than anything. Plus she has such a variety of them that I wouldn't have to buy any. When I asked my mom if we could do it she sounded so happy which warms my heart because she is having a really hard time since loosing my grandmother. She took care of my maw maw, even cooking her dinner every night, so she has a big whole in her life since my grandmother left us so I think my mom and i doing this will help her out even more than it will help me. Again, thank you all for all of your all's help and knowledge. I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 2:08PM
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