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Lace Handkerchief Iris

Posted by lady_pennywort Z8PacificNW ( on
Fri, May 26, 06 at 14:29

Hello, I have never posted on this forum before because I have had only one Iris in my garden in the past and never had any problems with it.

My question is this. I recently purchased a "Lace Handkerchief Iris" from a nursery online. When I received the plant it was planted in dirt and had a small fan of leaves, and a root system, but no rhizome that I could feel or see. I know Iris are supposed to be planted with the rhizome at or just below soil level, but there wasn't one on this plant, so I just planted it as I would any other perennial. For a month or so nothing happened and the leaves began to brown a bit on the edge - then just recently I noticed it was putting out a new fan of leaves. I started thinking about that rhizome thing again and doubting myself - I thought there must have been one and maybe I just didn't feel it. So I carefully dug it up with the thought that I would reposition it and plant it carefully. But I still feel no rhizome - just roots. And in the process I realized it is actually growing a second, new fan off to the side.

I searched for Lace Handkerchief here and got no results, I'm starting to wonder if maybe this isn't truly an iris?
Is anyone familiar with this?

Thanks so much in advance for your help! If I left out any pertinent information, please let me know.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Lace Handkerchief Iris

This is a species of I. tectorum variegata. It is a bulbous iris and does not have a rhizome. Very nice picture. Let us know if it does well for you.

Ann in Montana

RE: Lace Handkerchief Iris

It sounds to me like Iris japonica which is often sold here as "Lace Handkercheif" although I know of no such registered variety. if you look at the flowers they do remind one of a laced handkercheif.
It DOES have a rhizome, as does Iris tectorum. It is just that the rhizome is very thin and nothing like the size of a bearded iris. Bearded irises are the ones that we are often advised to plant level with the ground, although this is not good advice in all conditions of soil or climate.
Not all rhizomatous irises should be planted this way. Spurias, for example, have very large rhizomes and prefer to be 4 to 6 inches under the surface.
By the way, you are very unlikely to have Iris tectorum vareigatum, which seems to be as rare as hens teeth. You MAY have I. japonica vareigatum. Are the leaves cream and green or just green?

RE: Lace Handkerchief Iris

The leaves are cream and green.

Thank you so much for the information. It's a very tiny plant, so I doubt that it will bloom this year. If it should, I will come back and post a picture.

Thanks again!

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