Replanting Irises

pink_warm_mama_1(Z4 Maine)July 2, 2012

I know that irises must be replanted at least 6 weeks before frost time, but how soon after blooming can irises be dug and replanted? TIA

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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Most people say it's nice to wait a month to six weeks. You want the new plants to be nice sized so that they will take off well. I do it when I have the energy :D

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 11:44PM
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We moved onto 5 acres in SW VA a little over two years ago. Only recently did I spot a "treasure trove" of irises. Only a few of them bloomed this spring and I have attached a pic of the bloom. I want to identify this bloom. I think that I have two other varieties based on the swords. I dug them up�they were along the edge of the road, but on our property. I�m planning to put some out and dry others. Any recommendations? I have 235 or so. Thanks for any help anyone can offer. I know very little about irises, but am eager to learn.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 8:53PM
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Sorry. I'm not able to upload the pic.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 9:04PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Hi Lily!
Uploading pics here is a PITA.
Do you know what kind of irises you have? Some really hate to dry out at all, and others will last for a while in a cool spot, but are better planted right away.

The easiest thing to do if you have a picture is to provide a link to your photo in the box below the message.

If that doesn't work, you have to upload the photo to a service like Photobucket, then save it, then hover your mouse over the photo and copy the html code. That is the only code of the four that will work here on Gardenweb. After you copy that html code, you can paste it into the message box here, and a bunch of code will appear. Preview your message, and the photo will be there.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 12:48AM
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Thanks so much for your reply! You answered my main question, which is whether to put in ground today or dry out and wait til later to put in ground. We have a raised bed that my husband is constructing with lots of rich, organic stuff. It is 4 x 10. Would it work as a holding area for 235 irises? I know that it doesn't meet recommended spacing, but could it work until next spring? I'm hoping to get them out today. Please offer any advice or a link if that works better for you. Many thanks!!!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 8:50AM
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I have a website under construction. I will try to get pics on there for id of one bloom. From the swords, I appear to have at least 3 different varieties. I think that the one that bloomed this year is a Siberian, but not sure. My immediate issue, however, is to get the rhizomes in the ground. Are the tops of the rhizomes actually supposed to be at surface level? How short can I cut the swords?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 8:56AM
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Hello! I decided to let my rhizomes soak overnight and put in ground today. Any suggestions...please! I am putting them in a 4 x 10 raised bed, spacing about 5 inches on center. I know this is too close, but I am expecting to just overwinter them here and transplant in the spring.

I will be checking my email for any advice. thanks.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 9:38AM
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cecily(7 VA)

Hi Lily, I'm in northern VA, near DC. My soil is heavy clay so I plant bearded iris with the top of the rhizome exposed. I've had neighbors who buried the rhizome and it rotted. When I transplant iris, I cut the fans back to about the size of my open hand, that way they don't fall over and the garden looks tidy. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 12:26PM
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Hi, Cecily! I was relieved when I got your reply. I had harvested about 235 rhizomes and found advice on the web--one said to cut to 3-4 inches; the other said 6-9 inches. I split the diff and cut to about 6. Then I read that you should leave as long as possible. Yikes!!! I was afraid I had ruined the whole batch through my "diligence".

We are having a major storm here so I probably won't get to continue until tomorrow. I'm about 20% done.

What do you think about my using the 4x10 as a holding area until next spring? I don't have space prepared for them for a permanent location.

Thanks again for your helpful reply. And, yes. It helps!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 3:42PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Lily, the Siberians, Japanese, and Spurias cannot be allowed to dry out at all. I'm not sure, so check on this, but I think they need to have the rhizomes buried. I believe Siberians and Japanese irises like richer soil, but I cannot grow them here so I really don't know much about them or how much foliage to trim.

Bearded irises (tall bearded, standard dwarf bearded, arilbreds, etc.) should NOT be soaked in water because it causes them to rot. If you are soaking bearded irises pull them out of the water now and let them dry off in a cool shady spot. They should be planted with the rhizome tops at the surface of the soil, because they need good drainage. They do not like rich soil and should not have high-nitrogen fertilizer applied to them.

For tall bearded irises you should leave as much healthy foliage as you can when you transplant them, but most people cut off the top of the foliage because it causes them to flop over and come out of the ground. You're fine with 6 inches. Three inches is awfully close to the rhizome, and I would not recommend it. Instructions are at the top of this forum under FAQs, if you need more info.

Your holding area is a good idea. It will work just fine. Good luck, that's a big project!


Here is a link that might be useful: Gardenweb Iris Forum FAQs

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 7:12PM
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I opened your email last night. I immediately went out and took the remaining irises out of the soak. We had a huge rain and windstorm starting about 3PM. The 20% or so that I had already got in the ground are so disturbed that I'm going to remove them and start over.

I very much appreciate your additional information. I will be absolutely crushed if I lose these wonderful plants! I'll get them all in today and hope that they stay put. It was quite a driving rain/wind so I don't think I'll have a problem this time. The soil is quite light with lots of organic. I don't know if it is naturally high in nitrogen, but I'll be sure not to use a high nitro fertilizer. Thanks.

It is a big project, but I am glad that it is finally in process. I spotted the irises in the spring and have been waiting for the appropriate time. I didn't want to wait any longer because they are on the edge of the road, and they get run over by road work.

Thanks for the information and for your encouragement!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 7:10AM
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Finally got my iris pic uploaded to my in-progress site. I'd like anyone's opinions on what type of iris this is. There was a log cabin on this property; then a farmhouse dating back to the 1930's. I suspect the irises have been in place and neglected for many, many years.

this was the only bloom that I got, but I have three different types of swords. I guess I won't know until the others bloom. (:-))))

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 2:18PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I think that may be either a Louisiana iris or a species iris. This sort of iris does not like to be dried out.

The foliage of bearded irises is pretty distinctive. It is usually a blue-green, the leaves are about 18-24" tall, they are wide with no ridges, and the rhizome is not striped yellow and black but is a plain brown. See the link below.

Louisiana iris foliage is tall, green to yellow-green, and the rhizome is long and looks sort of striped. See this site:

Link to tall bearded iris rhizome photo below.

Someone with more knowledge may chime in.

Here is a link that might be useful: tall bearded iris rhizomes

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 3:37PM
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