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leaves wilting normal? And best soil type for iris?

Posted by seagreen_turtle Z5 MI (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 15, 07 at 18:52


I checked the F.A.Q. and did a search but couldn't find the answer to these two questions (hope I'm not asking the same questions):

1) is it normal for tall bearded iris leaves to flop over somewhat at this time of year (hot and no rain for a couple of weeks but I do water them sparingly)?

I am so afraid of overwatering that I might not be giving them enough water.

This is my first year with irises. I've been a serious gardener for about three years but no iris 'til now.

2) what is the best soil type for growing iris? Loamy and rich? Sandy? Is clay out of the question? The soil I have in my iris bed is not rich-looking like it is in other parts of my yard. Should I amend it? I sure want to take care of my irises and have been promptly removing old, dead leaves. Is peat moss and a rooting hormone a bad idea if I plant an iris I bought in a pot? I planted rhizomes last fall but have also bought some potted ones recently.

Thaks in advance for your help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: leaves wilting normal? And best soil type for iris?

Peat is bad for bearded iris. Japanese like acid but not beardeds. Neutral to alkaline is their preference.

I have clay and the beardeds struggle with it. Difficult to put down deep roots. I amend with organic material, adding bonemeal or bulb food (low in nitrogen). Good drainage is imperative to prevent rot. For my soil and climate, I soak the beds for several hours and not again until the top 5-6 inches of soil is dry.

During summer the iris are tired after their spring display. It's normal for them to look a bit ratty. New foliage will appear later. In zone 5 they may lose all leaves before winter???

Rooting powder is not needed. The new rhizome has all it needs to grow. It is like a storage tank. Pot culture is not very successful for beardeds - maybe a 1/2 barrel. The rhizome travels to new destinations and quickly outgrows a 12" pot. Plus their roots can grow down 18"+ (tall beardeds). After 2 years expect to redo the pot with new soil and new divisions. Maybe after 1 year for vigorous ones. Standard bearded dwarf iris or Miniature bearded dwarf iris (SBD & MDB) would be a possiblity.

Thankfully bearded iris are forgiving. If you have good drainage the winter rains shouldn't rot them. Iris borers may be the biggest enemy?

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