Iris mother garden

plantgnome(6b//7)May 16, 2012

Has anyone ever had a garden using just the mother plants to breed new baby iris plants

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Not sure what you mean, but a few years ago there was an article in the AIS bulletin by Don Spoon that described a breeding experiment like that.
Start with 2 Iris in the center of your garden, cross both ways. Plant the seeds in the next circle around them. In subsequent years cross with the best Iris in the current outer circle (moving outward with each generation)...

If you have a big enough field then you would see the results of successive inbreeding bringing out recessive genes from the original parents.

Probably not what you were asking :)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 12:37PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Do you mean to propagate irises through seed rather than rhizomes? I'm not sure what you mean by "mother plants." In hybridizing, the terms used are usually pollen and pod parent. One plant provides the pollen, and the other produces the pod with seeds.

Most of us do not try to produce new kinds of irises, so we just allow the rhizomes to multiply, then divide.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 2:44AM
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I did not mean producing new kinds of irises, I just meant moving the main rhizome (mother plant) after removing the offsets, the one that had already produced a flower, and replant it in a different area to continue to produce more offsets. I was not aware that the main rhizome dies off after producing its offsets. I am relatively new at iris gardening. Sorry for the confusion. Dumb idea I guess.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 6:55AM
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Nancy zone 6

No, really not a dumb idea. I have done exactly that when I have to move an iris & not a lot of rhizomes with it. Don't do it much now, but when I didn't have many iris I did it a lot. I remove the offsets & lots of times you can see little nublets where new rhizomes are starting. Takes a couple of years before these grow big enough to bloom, but they will. Even if you don't see anything, they may go on to produce a rhizome or 2.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 8:14AM
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Thank you-I was beginning to feel rather silly asking that question. I think I will do it to increase my new Iris garden without spending a fortune on new plants. Gosh, creating new gardens has cost me tons of money-this will be my first all Iris garden (with a couple of oriental poppies here and there)and most of the better websites that sell irises have minimum purchase requirements. sheesh.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 8:34AM
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sure I did this a couple of years ago when I moved my iris around. if the mother rhyzome still has roots on it go ahead and replant it. it will give you new baby plants. just because you dug up the mother to take the babies off of it doesn't mean it's done being a mother, unless it doesn't have any roots left on it. those are probably done. it doesn't hurt to try though. give them one more year to try. if they don't have any new babies on by next may, then they are probably done. if yu don't try, then you won't know. & you could be throwing out some good babies if you don't give a chance. good luck.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 1:24AM
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Thank you everyone for your help and encouragement I will prepare an area to plant the mother rhizomes after removing the babies and see what happens-will be dividing the few I have in July.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 7:45AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Yes- sorry I misunderstood your question. Sometimes you get more irises from a rhizome that has already bloomed.

If you have a local iris society, they sell rhizomes for very little money, sometimes two or three bucks apiece. No shipping!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 4:42PM
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thats okay-I guess I didn't word it right. I can plant the rhizomes correctly-but using seed-no way, LOL. I'll have to check out that iris society idea. That would be great. I love the fact that there are so many different color combos on irises-too bad they don't bloom longer. Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Don't feel bad. I totally knew what you meant. I'm new to this site, so I don't know all the proper lingo. I saw where someone posted about throwing that mother rhizome away because it was through by producing babies & blooming. I was kinda wondering too, because I didn't want to throw it away if it could still produce babies.
I didn't know about the iris society selling them for $2-3 a bulb. Will have to check that out too!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 7:20PM
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Thank you Kay, I'm glad your in the same boat as I am-I figure whats the worst that could happen-not get any new babies-nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
good luck to you in your iris gardening.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Nancy zone 6

A few years ago I had some iris I divided & moved. I didn't need them so I tossed the mother rhizomes into the back fence row. I had read then that the mother rots after blooming. I have a LOT of iris growing back there in the fence row. They bloomed some this year, but don't do well because they are in almost total shade.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 9:27PM
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Hey there-I am getting more interested by the hour-now after reading your experience-I am positive that I'm going to create that "mother" garden.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 9:31PM
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