Iris blooms committed suicide!

sis1945(z6)May 11, 2009

I have several clumps of an old lavender iris. They were full of bloom stalks and suddenly nearly every one of them became limp and fell over in an upside down U shape. Some of the flowers on the lower part of the stem are OK. The stem goes on to shrivel and the flower dies. Only one or two stalks per clump are not affected. Nothing has been sprayed or put anywhere near them. We have had a lot of rain. I noticed this last year too, but only a few stems were affected. I'm ready to compost the whole bunch of them. I have many other iris, but none are afflicted in this way. Anyone seen this before? sis

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eroctuse2(z5 SE Michigan)

It concerns me to hear of your situation, because several clumps of historics at my old garden had drooping and snaking stalks, too. I've been growing iris for around a decade now and I don't remember seeing them do it before. Now, I wonder if my blooms will wither away as well.

This isn't the most afflicted clump, but I didn't take photos of the others, with the tips facing the ground they didn't seem all that photogenic. I'm used to a nice "S" curve in the older, more wiry stalks, but not like the worst ones.

I'd be interested to hear what more experienced irisarians think is going on, too.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 4:24PM
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terry94705(SF Bay)

Uh oh. I have the same problem. Last year I had one plant that developed a withered stalk and succumbed to gravity. This year I had 4 plants, including one far away from the other three. In 3 cases branches and/or the main stalk couldn't hold the weight of the bloom. (Although one plant managed to remain straight despite the main stalk being withered. See photo.)

I dig plants for our local iris sale each year, so I would like to know if this is a disease or insect damage. If it's a disease I will destroy the plants before it spreads.

I posted a question at iris-photos/hortnet but was ignored (even though I always respond to their photo requests when I have something). This is my 4th or 5th year with iris and I've never heard anyone mention this malady.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 10:50PM
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terry94705(SF Bay)

I should add that my blighted iris were not historics --all were intros from 2000 or later.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 10:53PM
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We have had nearly 6 inches of rain over the last week or so. Has anyone else had a lot of rain associated with this problem? My clumps are very large and need divided. I am not going to put the effort into doing this just to watch the stems fall over next year. Mine are going to be dug and thrown over the hill into the woods. I would compost them, but I don't want to harbor this malady in my compost.
Does anyone have a book on iris culture? sis

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 8:20AM
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I dont know abotu the water. My father has a huge clump outright LIVING in the middle of a stream, it was froma old clump that fell into the strem during erosion and stayed where it landed lol!!! Hes too lazy to go get them out and they keep blooming and coming back each year, I dont know how they do it,, but they do.... I dont know whats afflicting your irises, but good luck with them!!! - cassie

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 3:51PM
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eroctuse2(z5 SE Michigan)

I think mine were actually just too dry. I just hadn't realized how dry the old garden was. Here are the same stalks I posted above after heavy rains:

And here are the stalks that were actually pointing at the ground:

When I think back, I do remember that 'Immortality' had stalks that flopped down like that years ago and watering it brought them back, too.

Now, it doesn't sound like our issues are related.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 1:20AM
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