Stunted (?) Irises

frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)May 10, 2009

I have a garden in the form of a quarter circle with an area of about 50 sq.ft. It gets the full So. California sun all day.Rose bushes are planted along the straight sides. Bearded irises are planted in the interior. They are not thriving.The initial planting was about two years go. The leaves are there and they are green but not of a size I think that are characteristic of healthy irises. This spring I have gotten just two flowers and these are curiously formed. The first stem started out perpendicular to the ground as would be expected but then proceeded to bend over in an arc until it was touching the ground. The flower formed with the stem in this position so that it appears that it is coming directly from the ground. The stem of the second flower was similarly deformed. It started out straight and perpendicular to the ground but about half-way up it bent over for a few inches and then resumed growing perpendicular to the ground. The net effect is to produce about a 3" offset between the upper and lower sections of the stem. The blossom developed normally.

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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Any chance of pesticide spray drift?

Are others in your area successful with bearded iris?

Are these iris rebloomers?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 3:47PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I'm in So Cal too, and I had that happen to my Ecstatic Echo. My mom's Ecstatic Echo from my plant did the same thing this year, so I thought it might be genetic.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 5:04PM
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frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)

Yes and Yes to your last two questions, iris_gal. Re: pesticides, I do use it on the roses but certainly not directly on the iris. I suppose there could have been some carryover to the iris but this would have been a very small amount. Another consideration is that _all_ of the iris plants are affected equally even those near the circumference of the quarter-circle, well away from the roses.

hosenemesis: do you see any common link between my experience and yours with the Ecstatic Echo?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 8:33PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Hi frangeb, did you see the new link about iris stems deforming and bending into an S or U shape? I am wondering if there isn't a disease that irises get... I'm going to do some research.
Renee

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 12:58AM
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frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)

I presume you're talking about "Iris Blooms Committing Suicide" by sis1945. That note has drawn other contributions from eractuse2, terry94705 and cassieinmass who apparently have had similar experience. There doesn't seem to be any common thread. I'm in Long Beach, CA and the last rain here is just a legend. I thought that perhaps it's too dry here but today the humidity was 78%. That of course doesn't tell me what it was when the stem decided to take on the appearance of a croquet wicket. But it doesn't seem that water, either too little or too much, has anything to do with producing the bendy stems. My garden gets full sun and the soil is dry down at least 1 1/2 inch below the surface but the leaves of the plants are not withered (although they're not very tall, either) and the few blooms that occur are not distorted. There are 22 "hands" in the garden and this year I've gotten exactly two blossoms.

Anybody got any other ideas??

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 1:55AM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

I've never heard of a disease causing this. I have seen rebloomers put out very short as well as bended stems. The commercial grower said weather conditions caused it some years.

I've also heard of tall beardeds not performing well in zone 10 in Florida. Not sure we've had anyone from L.B. area on this forum before. Keep us posted on how your other iris perform. It would be good to have a list of those behaving this way in zone 10.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 3:18AM
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frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)

I think the iris season in Long Beach is over and to show for the season I got exactly two blooms both of which had deformed stems as previously noted. I don't expect any more iris activity but if it occurs I will promptly post the fact in this forum and if I should get an undistorted bloom I'll also SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 1:42AM
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happyday(WI4a)

Have you tried watering them?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 6:54PM
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frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)

??!! Yes. Regularly.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 1:11AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

frangeb, I don't think people in some other zones have to water their gardens. At least they don't have to water year round like we do.
Renee

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 2:02AM
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frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)

You're right! I should have thought of that! I lived for many years in St. Louis where if water is a problem it's because there's too much of it. Iris does very well in St. Louis. One spontaneously seeded itself under a disabled car in my sister's back yard last year and this year it bloomed!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 12:56PM
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