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Texas - How far south?

Posted by rblegend z7 5b NJ (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 8, 07 at 15:26

We are thinking of moving to south Texas- Like San Antonio,maybe even Corpus Christi.
They have such mild winters - anyone know if TB's will grow there?
Rae Ann
Yes I will ask Texas iris society also - but wanted to here from any texans!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Texas - How far south?

I lived 48 years in Texas and know a little about growing conditions there. I lived in the D/FW area.

Years ago there was an article in the Bulletin of the AIS that stated that bearded irises generally would not perform well south of Interstate 20 from Georgia to California.

In some areas that may be true, but in others it most definitely is not. Witness the 2008 AIS Convention will be in Austin, TX, and it is about 200 miles south of I-20.

San Antonio is kinda iffy. I sent a friend some TBs to SA and then saw them in bloom two years later. Most were IB in height with big flowers. They were out of proportion. I have heard that conditions may vary, and some years after a cold winter, they achieve normal height. As far a I know, there has never been an iris society in SA. The nearest one was in New Braunfels, about half-way between Austin and San Antonio.

Corpus Christi definitely not. It is on the coast and is just too hot and humid.

I used to sell TBs to a lady in Houston. She didn't want them until mid to late November. She planted the in November or December and they bloomed in late February or early March. Few could survive the summer in the garden. She would dig them up and hang them from the rafters in her garage until November. Some survived that treatment and she replanted.

So it would be a lot of trouble growing them within about 100 miles of the Gulf, but again there are pockets where there is success.

If you are determined to move to Texas, move to the hill country west of Austin. There you would have the elevation you need and would be close to the amenities of Austin.

SA can be scalding hot and CC has hurricanes.

Most of Texas is also noted for it ice storms - even SA.

Walter Moores (who hasn't seen much snow or any ice in 22 years in north central MS. Our last snow to amount to anything was in 1996).

RE: Texas - How far south?

Mr Moores - thanks for your reply! I was hoping to hear you chip in! I did not realize that AIS convention 2008 was in Austin! Thats a funny story about iris south of I-20!
Yes iris need that winter hibernation!
Thanks again
Rae Ann

RE: Texas - How far south?

Bearded iris grow fantastic here in the Dallas area. I've got some intermediate bearded that are blooming their heads off right now in my garden. But when I visit people south of Dallas, I see Louisiana iris, not bearded iris. So the south of I20 thing might have some truth to it.


RE: Texas - How far south?

Thanks for your great replies.
Just in case your interested - I posted this same question on "Gulf Coast Gardening' post - here is some interesting replies!
Mr Moores -one lady lives in Rockport (near Corpus)- read her replies!
Iris are amazing!
Rae Ann

Here is a link that might be useful: Gulf Coast Iris Question

RE: Texas - How far south?

Rae Ann,

I grew tall bearded irises in Orange, Texas and they did wonderfully well. Orange is in the Golden Triangle of Texas, which includes Beaumont and Port Arthur, near the Gulf. I-10 runs through Orange and the city limit is the Louisiana state line. It was hot and humid there, but it also had about a ten month growing season. I really miss that long growing season since I moved to Oklahoma.

My irises were evergreen, but they bloomed when they were supposed to. Beautiful, big irises! And I did not have to dig them up, ever. The only time I dug them up was when I wanted to share them with friends and when I moved, I brought them all with me.

Besides the ones I bought, I traded for irises from all over the country and they all grew really great in southeast Texas. I hope this information helps.


RE: Texas - How far south?

I think there's an east/west divide as well as the I-20 north/south divide.

Seems like I read something about I-35 being on the border of 2 different types of soil, but I'm not sure.

I'm about 7 miles south of I-20 & about 5 miles east of I-35 in the Dallas area, got a yard & garden full of irises, & some oldies have started to bloom:
Crimson King is in full spate.
There's one yellow one, may be Imperial Gold (Gold Imperial?), may be something else.
Iris albicans, the white cemetary iris, has just begun to bloom.

I'll have irises coming & going through May.

Near the end of May, first of June, Crimson King will re-bloom.

Corsicana, where I grew up, is about 60 miles south of I-20 & it's quite a bit east of I-35, & my grandmother & my aunt had beautiful irises.

The foliage stays green all year, withering after new foliage emerges in late winter or early spring.

The first Louisiana iris I saw was at the Dallas Iris Society sale several years ago, & there was one, *one*, person with Louisiana iris.

Nobody else knew what they were, & they were buying the tall beardeds, so she offered me a handful for a very low price.

They've outgrown their plastic pool, & I've thinned them several times & given starts to several people.

For those "pocket" areas south of here where irises thrive, you might post on the Texas Forum.

Lots of people from lots of different areas post over there, & they're a helpful bunch.

Best luck; I hope you get to have your irises!

RE: Texas - How far south?

Rae Ann,

I accidentally posted something on the Coastal Garden site.

You might want to go there to read it or perhaps you know how to forward it here. I don't know how to do that.

Walter Moores

RE: Texas - How far south?

I'm in West Central Texas....250 miles west of I-35 and 60 miles south of I-20. Have grown bearded iris for many years. Crimson King has been blooming for a couple of weeks.


RE: Texas - How far south?

If TB iris are not supposed to do well in our area (50 miles NW of Houston), they sure don't know it. They are evergreen for me and bloom beautifully. The ones I have are in raised beds with amended soil and receive morning sun. Hope this encourages other Texans to try them out.

RE: Texas - How far south?

I am in Austin, and some years my irises bloom, and some years they don't. I live west of I35 on limestone. You definitely have to amend the soil, and use raised beds. A great source for Texas irises is Argyle Acres. They are online, and have pictures. I remember when I was in college in Sherman, 60 miles north of Dallas. The irises were growing where they had been untended for years around old homes by the thousands. The scent in the spring was heavenly.

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