How to amend clay for bearded irises?

glitterglass(7a)September 27, 2008

Hi there,

I have posted some messages in the Iris forum as I prepare to plant Irises for the first time in my garden and I ran into a roadblock when one member told me that Bumper Crop, my usual go-to for amending the soil in my Washington DC brand red clay, is high in nitrogen and thus a potentially disastrous choice for irises. I have a special no-Nitrogen fertilizer from the grower and I've added gypsum to improve drainage, but it is also recommended that I add compost. Aside from the gypsum I have added nothing yet to the bed.

My question now is what sort of compost I should use for irises, and if there's a way to find one with low nitrogen content. I checked the Leafgro site since it produced locally and widely used here, but it provides no information.

If anyone has any insights on how they treat their soil, or if they have any experience with irises, I would love love to hear from you.

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks so much!

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rhetrx(z7 MD)

I used Leafgro and some peat moss for my iris beds, and they all seem happy after the first 18 months. I'll actually have to start separating some of them next year.

The real trick with clay soil in my area is to amend far enough away from the intended bed that you don't end up with a miniature lake when the rains come. Some iris like wet feet, but not everything does....

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 9:26PM
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