Another iris changing colors question

alison(6b/OH)May 20, 2009

I was pleased to see other people have had this problem, altho' my case is a little different.

I have *two* populations of iris that are completely changing color, in gardens at work and at home. None of these are new beds, and they're not even changing in the same way!

10 years ago I bought yellow irises, (Banana Cream? Banana Split?) for a garden at work. They were spectacular. About 5 years ago, construction forced me to move them to a new bed nearer the building. They were still spectacular. And so happy that I've divided them several times, given them away to friends, taken them to swaps, etc.

This year I noticed onee set of buds looked very dark. When it bloomed the falls are a great grape and white zebra pattern, and the standards are a pale lavender-yellow that looks almost grey. These are on stalks coming out of the same clumps as the yellow flowers.

Having a similar experience in my garden a few miles away at home. A dozen years ago a neighbor gave me some beautiful iris that are such a dark brown-red they look like chocolate, with a hint of gold at the beard and throat.

They grow in a 6 inch wide bed along the alley, aand have done so well that when the neighbor lost all of hers, I was able to dig her up a bunch and re-gift them. 4-5 years ago I had a siberian iris in there, but it only lasted two years, and last year didn't even send up foliage. This year, the choclate iris have been coming up fine -- and I got two stalks of some new golden brown iris coming up!

Weather wasn't any weirder than usual for Central Ohio in the l;ast year and a half. I've done nothing in terms of fertilizer or digging in these beds other than to subtract iris. I also noticed this morning that my Wild Spice rugosa rose, which I had assumed is on it's one roots, has three red flowers among all the white.

I'm stumped. Am I running a sanctuary for mutating plants?

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iris_gal(z9 CA)

I can verify from personal experience that a piece of rhizome no bigger than the end of your pinkie can grow in time to blooming size, if it contains an 'eye'.

A vigorous cultivar can overtake a weaker growing cultivar --- but all it takes is one small piece to survive.

Bee pods do exist and their seeds can bloom given time.

I thought I had eradicated an old floppy white. Haven't seen a bloom for 5 years plus. This year a rhiz bloomed some distance away --- yes, that dumb ol' white.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 3:52PM
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mike_g_(Zone 5b OH)

You have a better chance of winning a lottery than you do having an iris change colors. Slight variations because of weather or growing conditions can happen. From your examples no way. It is a different iris. How it got there could be from many reasons.

Got to watch for those that chunk iris rhizomes out the car window.

Mike G

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 9:37PM
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Hmmm... drive-by plantings? I knew this was an interesting neighborhood, but I never thought to look for that!

I should be pleased about the two-fer, but it does make me a bit iffy about giving people starts now, since I'm not sure what I'm actually giving them.

Altho' the blooms are smaller than the chocolate, I rather like the honey-yellow flowers and I think I'll leave them there.

My choice would be to dig up the purples and give them away, but some of the folks at work really dig the zebra stripes, so they'll probably stay. I'll be curious to see if anything odd crops up in the other three clumps of Bananas.

Thanks, folks!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:55AM
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