Too late in zone 8 for planting?

Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)October 30, 2009

A member just contacted me about getting some irises and she is in zone 8. Since I'm not familiar with that zone and the winter temps, will she be able to just plant them in the ground and then should they make it?

I know they likely would not survive here in my zone, just planted out, due to the many freezes and thaws.

So is it too late to plant in the ground in zone 8? I don't know what state she is in, as it isn't in her profile....sigh.


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It should be fine. I plant in October and I'm in zone 7. Right now our nights are cold but it gets in the 70s during the day.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 2:49AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Thanks. I think she might be new to iriss, and didn't want her to waste her time and $$ (and my time and irises), if they were doomed to heaving and maybe rotting for her.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 6:17AM
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I am in zone 8, and our coldest night so far has still been in the mid-fourties. We are supposed to be in the 80's all weekend.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 6:19AM
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I,m zone 8 and its been wet and cold. We had our first frost about a month ago. Interesting to hear the different weather patterns withen the same zones. I think she would probly be fine as long as she does something like stake them with landscape fabric staples. I have done that off and on for years to keep the flowers from pulling the whole plant over in our high winds. It also keeps them from heaving.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 2:12PM
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That is weird, Madeyna. It is actually 90 degrees here right now. We have not even come close to a frost yet (nor is there one in the immediately forcast). Where are you located? Perhaps a redo of the zones is in order if there is that much difference in the same zone?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 4:38PM
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The USDA and Arnold Arboretum zone systems aren't much use west of 102 deg. longitude in the United States. According to them, Phoenix, AZ--where I live--should be the same climate as Tacoma, WA! In the western United States, the Sunset Western Garden Book zones are much more accurate and useful. The National Garden Book zones look potentially useful, too, but I'm not qualified to judge how well they work in the east.

Oops! When I checked my message, I had overrun the space for the climate zone. I live in Sunset zone 13.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 5:26PM
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USDA hardiness zones have nothing to do with climate as a whole! They are based only on average winter low temperatures - first and last frost dates, annual rainfall, summer heat and humidity play NO role in these zone designations. That's why you will see similar zones in locations as diverse as Georgia, Texas, Northern California or the Pacific Northwest -- they only share a somewhat similar winter temperature range.

The Sunset zones are only helpful if you are using the Sunset books - very few growers or wholesale suppliers of plants utilize these zone designations and seldom ever publish them or tag their plants with them if they do. And FWIW, the Sunset books tend to be on the extreme conservative side as far as their zone ratings are concerned.

My experience in MY zone 8 climate is that you can plant fully hardy plants safely any time of the year as long as the soil is workable - I've installed entire landscapes in December and January. Most iris species are extremely hardy, durable plants and I would not hesitate planting them now.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 6:49PM
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Wow, lots of very interesting stuff. I was really kidding about the whole rezoning thing, but it just seems so weird to have such different experiences. Guess I still have plenty of fruitful gardening months ahead.

a Grateful Newbie

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 9:25PM
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I,m in washington state about 40 miles from Portland OR. within sight of the Columbia river. I also live up on a hill so we get those really high cold columbia river winds. I don,t get the whole zone thing. I lived down below this hill for 15 years and had a much longer growing season yet it was still the same zone. I had to relearn gardening for hear.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 11:50AM
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Where I live in California, we can have snow on the ground and then be in the 70 again in a few days. I live in the mountains of California and my sister lives in the valley and there can be a 20 degree difference between our houses. If the valley is fog in my weather can be in the 70s and hers can be in the 50s. During the winter I carry a coat in my car because of this (it's hard to put on a coat when it is 70 at your house). When it rains it all depends on which way the storm comes from if we get snow or not.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:40PM
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I have some irises from a friend in a bag outside for a few weeks. Lots of events have occurred since she gave them to me so they didn't get in the ground. We've not had a freeze here (east of Charlottesville) yet. Temps have been in 50's for past few days but going back up to 60's and then 70's again. Is it better to put them in the ground or let them dry out and put in newspaper? I'd love to have them in since we could benefit from the bloom next year. Please inform?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 12:37PM
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I'm in zone 7 also. I would definitely plant them. Better to have them in the ground, growing roots! Otherwise, you run the risk of them drying out too much over the winter and dying.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 10:12AM
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