Iris Mother Rizomes
Hi this is Bill and I should have known better.
As we prepared beds and began planting I looked on ebay and found someone selling 25 mixed color Iris for $12. I ordered 2 bunches and they arrived looking like no iris I had ever seen just a rizome no roots and no plant on all but a few. Those with a leaf or two have just sat and have not grown. The others we planted out of desperation not sure what if anything was going to happen. After a while most of them have put out shoots in fact most have 2 or 3 shoots and one has an incredable 6 tiny plants jamed together. What if any way is the best way to handle these little irises.
For the ones with 2 or 3 plants I just expect to let them grow to a point where they can be safely seperated. But several have plants very close together and there are a couple with 4 and the one with 6 little plants crowding each other the ones with 2 have grown some and now have defined fans even if they are only 6 to 8 inches tall. The one with six has very small plants with 2 or 3 leaves and they are only about 3 to 4 inches tall.
After spending a week on the list and reading every post that did not say please identify. I beleve these were the left over Mother plants from dividing some of the rizomes, and are pretty beat up looking. Some did not come back and are still just lumps in the dirt all but a couple grew roots but so far nothing green. I used no fertilizer as these are in a new bed filled with compost to 4 inches and tilled into the soil then a top dressing of compost was put on top and the iris planted just below the compost. As the compost has broken down the rizomes have raised and some have had new soil added to keep the rizome from just sitting on the surface.
After this lesson we have ordered several times from internet growers and have only ordered Dykes and other award winning plants. Seemed like a safe bet for a couple of newbies. Hard to goof with a major award winning iris. The last purchase we made was for a dozen Daughter of Stars planted to form a clump. I guess it is late in the season for sellers and we recieved half of these as two plants and a mother rizome for a total of 18 plants and just planted them that way.
My question and I read the entire forum and then did several searches for posts with the word mother and another word and read those but did not find a post that addressed how to handle the mother rizome some recomended leaving one plant with the mother some said compost some said plant and hope for the best. One mentioned breaking the mother into several smaller pieces but no recomendation seemed to meet with agreement. For those we have with plants next to each other or those with 4 or more little plants is segmenting the mother a possible solution to the overcrowding of plants on one rizome or do we just break off one or more of the little irises for discarding. What do we do these will be very crowded plants fairly soon and definatley by next year.
So far most of the mother rizomes we purchased are growing new plants but I expect it will be 2010 before we see any blooms to see what mixed colors meant.
Bill in Texas