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New to Iris Gardening, Need Advice

Posted by dpc5555 5a (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 14, 11 at 21:33

Hi all,

I just decided to plant a bed of irises in my yard and need some tips on choosing varieties.

I live in 5a (Milwaukee). I know most of the bearded varieties do well here and should be planted in the near future.

I'm not clear about the Dutch, dwarf and reticulata varieties. I know they can be grown in zone 5, but have read on the forums here that they can be finicky.

Would it be worth my while (and money) to try with any of these? Or are the bearded irises a safer bet? Are there any specific cultivars of these that are particularly robust?

Do they follow the same planting schedule as the bearded rhizomes? I noticed most online sellers don't ship until September, which may be late for my zone.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: New to Iris Gardening, Need Advice

It is certainly not too late for bearded iris in your zone be they Tall, intermediate, border or dwarf. There are many, many cultivars to choose from and I have never seen an iris that I really don't like. I am in Canada so I can't really suggest growers here as this time since I think it may be too late to ship from Canada if in fact they do ship to the US. That being said, there are many reputable iris farms in the US. Off the bat I can suggest Nola's Iris Gardens and Solaris Gardens. Links below

IMO beardeds are the way to start and add the others as you learn more about them. Bearded iris are rather tolerant of abuse even though I have no idea why anyone would want to abuse these awesome So I say, go for it and enjoy yourself! A word of warning: Irises are very much like potatoe chips. You can't have just a few.......:)

Ginny Garden Certified Iris Addict

RE: New to Iris Gardening, Need Advice))

OOps! Solaris is daylilies. Sorry. I meant to put the link to Mid America Gardens

RE: New to Iris Gardening, Need Advice

Hi there,
Why don't you take a look at the irises grown by the IrisLady in her iris display garden in Canada? She is in a colder zone than you, but I imagine anything that does well in her garden will do well in yours.

I order from all sorts of growers, including Schreiner's, Stanton's, Rockytop, Cooley's, Napa Country, Sutton's, Wild Iris Rows, and Blue J. I have had excellent assistance from all of them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Iris lady's Canadian iris garden

RE: New to Iris Gardening, Need Advice

Thanks for the advice all!

I can already see the potato chip analogy at work - I only have room right now for about 5-6 irises, and choosing is very tough! I had a similar situation with daylilies - too many choices, too little space!

For now I may stick with bearded, because honestly I like the big bold look best anyway.

Thanks for the list of online sites and the link to Irislady - that's quite a collection!

One more question - I know that they say to plant bearded iris six weeks before frost. How much leeway do you have with that? In other words, will planting too late kill the plants, or just make them grow less full next year? We usually get a frost somewhere in mid October (sometimes later, rarely earlier, but it could happen). If I planted still in mid September, would that be pushing it too much?

RE: New to Iris Gardening, Need Advice

Not in my opinion but you should mulch them with straw or leaves or pine needles. I have planted them later than that here in zone 3 and I have well over 500 iris varieties. The most important thing is that they have good drainage. They don't like wet feet or freeze and thaw stuff happening in the spring. If they are dryer, they are happier. Irises are pretty tough little plants. Just for example, check out the pics I posted on the thread titled, "What would you do if you received plants that looked like this?" which is back a few posts on this forum. Those rizomes sat in the garage all fall, all winter and did not get found until June! Have fun with your choices or a new addict will be

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