Do you mark your iris? And how?

helianthuslunaria(7b)September 19, 2013

Hello, I'm curious as to whether you guys out there mark your iris, or keep a record of what's where, or simply remember. For someone who's just starting out like me, doesn't have large beds with many of a particular variety, I'd like to mark them to know who's where.


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Nancy zone 6

About the cheapest method is cutting up a mini blind into the size you want & write the name on it. If you have a lot, it does look a bit like a miniature graveyard. You need an industrial permanent marker, a paint pen, or grease pencil. I prefer the grease pencils. I did see where someone collected large pebbles-big enough to write one- and shellacked over them. I thought that was a cute idea that wouldn't stand out like the mini blinds. Of course, there are sites you can purchase nice plant labels. It never hurts to take a photo of your flower bed in case something mysterious happens to your tags. Mine constantly disappear. Maybe I accidentally pull them out while I'm weeding, but I really think it is the garden gnomes stealing them.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 3:52PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I use little copper tags on wire, but my clumps are pretty well established now so I know what is where. I also have a map with photos in case the tags get lost.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:40PM
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I guess I am just the "map keeper" person! I draw out diagrams of all the iris when planting them and also put tags in the ground. But,the labels can disappear sometimes. ( I think the cats play games and move them around). So, I can always refer back to my notes!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 2:34PM
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I've just written on the tops of the rhizomes the initials of the iris with a Sharpie. Mostly I do this when they bloom if I am digging them up that fall. It lasts long enough for that.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 11:58PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

I keep a map of all the plants. Not just the names of the iris, but the varieties of fruit trees as well.

The labels that seem to last are the ones that are aluminum with the name embossed into them. You can make them out of soda cans, but the easiest is to just buy them.

What works best is to attach that tag to a wooden stake next to the plant. The stake will rot away in a couple of years and have to be replaced, but the tag itself is indestructible.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 11:58AM
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My iris seem to get 'mixed' & I at times lose one or more varieties when I divide them. I started planted each variety in the bed divided by edging as well as making a map & photo of the different varieties where they grew. Getting 'lazy' & not keeping the iris contained, I over the years soon lost some when I dug & divided & got too many of other varieties!! I would label a flower stalk hoping that would help but in the fall that stalk dried & seemed to disappear! My inattention!
The iris I had way too any of one color, I either gave away or tossed in a rubbish pile... those iris seemed to love being abused & having their 'bottoms' on top of the soil & I soon had another vagrant iris bed in bloom! I guess they do not like to be planted deep at all?

My niece lives out in the country & wants to have some plantings that the rabbits will leave alone! Do the rabbits leave iris & daffodils & tulips alone or should they be protected with chicken wire like her tomato plant?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 3:42PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

A neat way to move the tags as the clump takes off in different directions is to use bamboo stakes pushed thru a punch-hole in the end of the tag (ie, mini blind, cut bleach bottle). I seem to have better luck keeping them in place this way. The tag lays on the ground and the bamboo alerts me to where the label is. Black paint pen lasts best fo me.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 5:46PM
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bear_with_me(8 Pacific NW)

I used wooden sticks - like tougue depressors or ice cream bar sticks, marked with a sharpie. Don't do that! They rotted away in less than a year!

I bought metal stakes online and used a permanent laundry marker. That seems to be lasting.

There are aluminum labels that make indentation when written on. Those would not fade, but require a stick to tie them to. I like those but I like the metal stakes better.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 11:58AM
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Matthew Condon - Indiana.Matt - IN, Zone 5/6(Indiana Zone 5/6)

I have tried many of the above labeling options and have never really been 100% satisfied. I have been looking at new options myself (as spring will be here to label my irises while I know what they are). See the link below for stamped spoon labels. You don't have to use silver spoons...just go to Goodwill and get the really cheep ones, but if you know what you are looking at you can fine silver spoons at Goodwill for the same price as all the rest.

I have a lot of different varieties and I'm also an artist, so I would be more likely to justify the investment in some of the tools involved with this one. For someone who only has a few varieties, it might not be worth the money to invest in the letter stamps. I'm not sure if I would use the spoons in my garden, but I really like the stamping could use the stamps on all sorts of metal labels.

I too have lost varieties do to having a mixed iris border at the beginning. Over the years, I have been trying to drastically separate out each variety, giving lots of space between each, so I don't accidentally loose more.


Here is a link that might be useful: Stamped Spoon Garden Labels

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:00PM
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I recently found several crates of unglazed 8 x 8 floor tiles that are terra cotta color. I found an industrial paint marker at home depot that is weather, fade and abrasion proof to write the names or info on the tile and then stick it in the ground half way. Cheap and I am recycling

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 12:21PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i use the mini blinds also ... but pens dont really work forever ...

but a plain old pencil will.. half life of carbon is a few million years ...

however.. you have to roughen the surface of the blind.. with some sand paper or steel wool ...

also... do both ends... it will last longer under ground ...

and place it tilted in a bit.. to keep off the weather ...

or win the lotto and go buy bulk plant tags ... lol.. i use eon industries rose markers.... with brothers ptouch labels ..


    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:15AM
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I spent a couple years frustrated with tags. The white plastic ones broke easily. None of the permanent, super permanent, industrial strength ink, paint pens, etc. seemed to last more than 6 months. I was doing a lot of crawling around the gardens repairing tags. I wanted something more permanent. I finally ordered 1000 "Paw Paw Everlast Heavy Duty Rose Labels". Then I ordered a Brother P-Touch Labelmaker and Industrial Strength 1" black on white tape. After applying the tape to the tags, I sprayed the tags with polyurethane spray. Ths is the only thing that has worked. I am extremely happy with the results!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 8:28PM
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I have used many, many methods to keep track of my iris cultivars over the years. Mostly I have bought labels, both copper and zinc, on metal legs. I have the option to 'indent' the name of the plant on the tag or use the marker they supply with the tags. I do both. I indent the name and then go over it with the marker. This has lasted for several years now and I am buying more. On the use of permanent markers on vinyl blinds, they seem to fade in one year but the old number two lead pencil has not faded ever. It stays clear either in the sun and weather or underground in the wet and dry. I also keep a binder with diagrams of each bed indicated by its name and direction it is planted and list all cultivars. This has proven extremely helpful when a maintenance person got his big boots tangled in the top of the tags and pulled them up.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 3:20PM
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