Bearded Irises now Lower in Ground

ejr2005(Eastern MA)December 9, 2012

I'm pretty new to bearded irises and bulbs in general. Last year I planted several bearded irises and took care to keep the bulb mostly above ground. A couple of them never bloomed but they appear to be alive - maybe next year.

I recently looked at them and realized that the bulbs are now mostly or all underground. Its late in the year here in MA and the ground will probably soon be freezing, though right now it's in the 40's and 50's.

Should I do anything now?

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Because it's so late in the year, I'm thinking you'd best wait. (Patience can be a gardener's best asset, and it's always in short supply.) If you lift the rhizomes now, there's not going to be enough time for them to develop a root structure before winter sets in in earnest. That said, if you lift them when they break dormancy, you risk losing the next bloom cycle. Perhaps the best alternative is to wait until they have bloomed in the spring, then raise them onto a new mound.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:16AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Don't worry about them. A number of growers now plant their rhizomes with a bit of soil over the top.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 8:32PM
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ejr2005(Eastern MA)

Thanks for the info. The other day I looked closer at them. It looked like their rhizomes (now I know the proper word) were all about 1/2" to 1" under soil. In the spring they were all above ground.

I didn't lift them but I did take some of the soil off the rhizomes. Hopefully that will make them happier this winter. I was surprised at how much lower in the ground they all were.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:00PM
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Its perfectly fine to have a thin layer of dirt over the rhizomes but if in doubt take a hose and spray the dirt around the rhizomes away.

That way you don't disturb the roots. When planting a new plant I don't worry about it if they are a bit under the dirt because the roots will gradually push the rhizomes up.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 7:06PM
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