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Fri Apr 3, 2020, 07:12 PM

Question for iris officionados regarding soaking white iris rhizomes

A neighbor thinned out her white iris border and gave me nearly a hundred rhizomes with foliage for replanting. I had planned to put them in the ground tomorrow but it's been raining cats & dogs here past couple days, and forecasted to rain through next Thursday. I soaked them since Wednesday thinking to keep the foliage green till Saturday. Now that it may rain nonstop this weekend, my question is how long can i soak the iris without killing them? Or should i put them in buckets with dirt till i can plant them. I don't want the foliage to dry up?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Reply Question for iris officionados regarding soaking white iris rhizomes (Original post)
onetexan Apr 2020 OP
2naSalit Apr 2020 #1
onetexan Apr 2020 #4
2naSalit Apr 2020 #7
onetexan Apr 2020 #8
msdogi Apr 2020 #2
onetexan Apr 2020 #5
OregonBlue Apr 2020 #3
onetexan Apr 2020 #6
OregonBlue Apr 2020 #9
WhiteTara Apr 2020 #10
onetexan Apr 2020 #11
WhiteTara Apr 2020 #12
onetexan Apr 2020 #13
WhiteTara Apr 2020 #14

Response to onetexan (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 07:24 PM

1. How much foliage?

You'd probably have to trim it off anyway after they get established. Might as well just take them out of the water and wait to put them in the ground when you can. they probably won't bloom this year anyway.

Unless that is why you're soaking them? I never soaked them so I don't know why you would.

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 07:40 PM

4. Its about 2-3 ft high

Lovely green. I read tbat soaking would help hydrate the rhizomes & clean them a bit, but i think best i take them out of the water &lay them to dry. Thanks!

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Response to onetexan (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 07:50 PM

7. You should take them out of water and trim the foliage

to about 2-3 inches, lay out on newspaper of paper bags for a couple days then you can keep them in a paper bag for a week or whatever until you can put them in the ground and enjoy them in the spring next year.

100 rhizomes is quite a few! I love planting them and seeing what they are the next year... all mine were donated so it was a big surprise the first spring after planting. there were purple ones that smelled like grape bubble gum and some that smelled like root beer and others that smelled like roses. Such a variety makes them delightful to smell as much as marvel at their structure and coloration.

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 08:05 PM

8. Thank you for the tips! I will go & place them on newspapers to dry right now.

I just drained the buckets they're in of water, but i'm thinking laying them out is best. I've never planted iris before but i find the rhizomes & leaves very similar to daylilies, which is just as hardy & won't die in zone 8b heat.
My neighbor has had her flowerbed edging for years and they multiple like crazy. I should have enough to do a border for an extended tree ring in my front yard, enough for several rows about 3" deep. Yes like you i'm excited once they do come in next year, though my neighbor said hers actually came in the first year she planted them.

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Response to onetexan (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 07:34 PM

2. The rhizomes will be fine for weeks

I pulled out a big bed last year, some waited weeks to be planted. Keep them in shade, in boxes with newspaper over them or with a layer of mulch or dirt to cover. cutback the foliage by 1/2 or so if you haven't, they'll be fine.
Iris are subject to rot, so should not be in water

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Response to msdogi (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 07:41 PM

5. Yikes, thank u for the info re: rot

I w take them out now

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Response to onetexan (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 07:37 PM

3. Normally you trim the foliage to 3-4" in a fan shape.

Once trimmed they last for a long time. You can put them in buckets or paper bags, keep them moist and plant them as soon as it's dry enough for you to work outside.
They are very forgiving and most will live no matter what you do but many will not bloom until the second year.

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Response to OregonBlue (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 07:42 PM

6. Agree

Right, not expecting bloom this year but i so love the green fanlike leaves.

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Response to onetexan (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 08:47 PM

9. Me too. The foliage is beautiful and I use it as a backdrop

For lower bunching/mounding plants.Love, Love, Love the ever hardy Iris.

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Response to onetexan (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 09:19 PM

10. I would take them out of the water

In Africa, these are considered weeds and they are very hardy. Leave them in a dry place (garage) they'll be fine for a few days. When you plant, make sure you only plant the roots and leave the rhizome on top of the soil. If the leaves look droopy, clip them down. They'll come back just fine when you plant. You might not have many flowers this year, but they will come. Enjoy.

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 10:32 PM

11. whoa, rhizome on top of the soil?

In this video i just watched the lady covered the rhizome and left it "just peaking". Is that what you mean or should i expose the rhizome completely on top?
Hard to believe in Africa they're considered weeds. Just the leaves alone are beautiful.

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Response to onetexan (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 11:05 PM

12. Thanks for the video. I never made mounds

for the rhizomes, so that was interesting. I also noted she's in zone 3 which is brrrrrrrrr cold. I'm in 6B/7A and it's much warmer. I moved from zone 10, so I have always left much more on top of the soil. As a matter of fact, last year, I was separating irises and I didn't have time to plant them, so I took large clumps and simply put the whole affair on top of the ground with the full intention of coming back and planting properly. They completely took root and may actually put out flowers. That encouraged me to keep on thinning that bed. These are naturalizing irises. I started out with about a dozen rhizomes from a neighbor when we moved in about 10 years ago and I have separated and moved and given away and separated them. They are quite lovely and faithfully bloom each year, but I digress!
I find that irises do much better when most of the rhizome is above ground, I usually leave out about 1/2 on top and separate when they get too crowded. They are also groundhogs and don't like other plants around them, so create nice beds for them and you'll be rewarded for years and years to come.

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #12)

Sat Apr 4, 2020, 04:24 AM

13. Thank you for the excellent advice re: half exposing the rhizomes

I'm in zone 8b so it would make sense to do so. so glad these plants are hardy, drought tolerant & require little maintenance. The only flowers i've planted this year so far are daylilies &lantanas, as i know these 2 perennials survive the intense heat.

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Response to onetexan (Reply #13)

Sat Apr 4, 2020, 04:37 AM

14. Excellent choices

Happy gardening!

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