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japanese iris in this area

Posted by philipw2 7 MD/DC (My Page) on
Tue, May 17, 11 at 10:47

I suddenly want some japanese iris for my yard. But when I went to check things out at the iris forum, there seemed to be agreement that japanese iris (or JI as they call them in the iris forum) do not do well in zone 7. They have to be transplanted every 3 years or they become buggy, exhaust the soil and have other work-inducing downsides. However, I noticed that, although the complainers were zone 7, they weren't our zone 7.

So what has been the experience of people in this region with japanese iris?

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RE: japanese iris in this area

I tried some small starts a few years ago, in an area that probably had too much shade and competition for them. They are supposed to tolerate shade better than other iris, though. Also, it's my understanding they like moisture, and although I have heavy clay soil, the spot I planted them in gets quite dry in late summer. In any case, they disappeared, as so many things do in my heavy clay soil and shady garden.

If you really want some, I would acquire some full-sized ones already well rooted and actively growing in pots, and then place them in a site which is entirely to their liking, and without any serious competition. In other words, plant tham at the season they prefer, at the lighting and moisture level they want, and with the soil type and drainage they prefer. They are sold here in local garden shops, so some must be having success with them.

If you have a site with good drainage and full sun, you might consider bearded iris instead. They will do well as long as their corms are not planted too deeply. I had to place mine on top of the soil and stabilize with rocks to keep them from rotting.

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