Holes in iris rhizomes - throw out or plant?

peegeeJune 23, 2013

First time on this forum - This morning accidently hoed up some rhizomes, and am concerned over tiny holes, like ground black pepper-sized dots all over the underside of most. One with the fewest spots has a sprout, so I moved it to a different area and shallowly planted it. The rest I covered with water and left in a pot outside until I can find out if the holes are from pests and if so if I should discard them. Some looked a little withered, but when I broke off a section, was surprised at how fresh the inside looked. Reading some on this forum, I think the water is a mistake, but still need advise. Thank you all!

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If they're firm, not mushy or spongy or rotten, I'd plant them.

the way I gauge mushiness, sponginess, & rottenness:

If I can bend the rhizome really easily, that's mushy.
If I can squeeze the rhizome easily, that's spongy.
If my thumb or finger goes through the rhizome & gets squishy stuff all over it...that's rotten.

If the end is shriveled, I break it off & plant the firm part.

I've found that those small holes are sometimes the relics of old roots that have died & disappeared, not harmful at all, but the rhizome has a better chance if there are at least some roots or some green showing..

You might dip them in a 10% bleach solution & let them dry before you re-plant, just as an extra precaution.

Bottom line is, if you don't plant them, you know you won't have irises;
if you do plant them, you might have irises.

I wish you the best luck, & have fun!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 12:52PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Agreed. They are probably holes where the old roots were. They may be old rhizomes from plants that have already bloomed, if they have no green leaves. I throw those away and only plant the rhizomes with roots and leaves.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:44PM
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njiris(z 5 NJ)

A healthy rhizome should have the consistency and firmness of a fresh potato. Anything softer is garbage.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 1:03PM
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Thank you thank you all! Mine are definitely not spongy. The remainder, not including the one with a little shoot that I replanted right away, show no greenery and seem a little shriveled. As stated, one that I broke off the end was fresh inside, though. My biggest concern was replanting elsewhere next to a health grouping and having bugs infect the other plants. I had no idea holes could have been roots, not bugs! I will dip in a bleach solution and then plant as an experiment, and won't expect them to grow - but will be sure pleased if even one makes it! Again, many thanks!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 12:15PM
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The tiny black holes are where the roots were and have now died off,its no big deal so don't worry about it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 6:13PM
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Gretchen Wood

I have holes in mine and I still plant them and they come up every year. I split my iris's as much as possible to prevent over crowding. I also found a vacant lot where a house was and my friend and I have dug some up and hope to get the rest and I will plant a pattern with them. At the lot the house was old and the iris's have been in the ground many years. I can't wait to plant and see them bloom.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 10:59PM
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