Asked on May 22, 2013

One Lonely Iris

Karen SmithHeather (New House New Home)Tracy Fields
+14

Answered

Last year, I planted a number of iris cuttings from a friend. The only one to bloom has just opened. They are in full sun and I planted them shallow as I've done before successfully. What could be wrong?
There's only one flower spike in about five iris plants in my garden.
There's only one flower spike in about five iris plants in my garden.
It's gorgeous, but lonely
It's gorgeous, but lonely
Love the colour variations between the upper and lower petals. Plus the nectar stripes are so pretty.
Love the colour variations between the upper and lower petals. Plus the nectar stripes are so pretty.
17 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on May 23, 2013

    You are probably not doing anything wrong. The cuttings probably just aren't big enough/old enough to begin blooming this year.

  • Donna Dixon - thanks for the info. That's my gut feeling. I'm just impatient and want the garden to be full of blooms immediately.

  • Jamala W
    on May 23, 2013

    give it time. I gave my sister some of mine and it took two years for hers to bloom completely. Now hers are doing fantastic and spreading. By next year, you'll be smiling at them.

  • Catherine Smith
    on May 23, 2013

    What Donna says makes good sense. When I divide my bulbs, I normally start a "nursery" bed specifically for the smaller bulbs and allow them time to develop. I always add a large handful of bonemeal to all my bulbs after they've bloomed. It helps the bulb recover and encourages additional blooms next year.

  • Catherine Smith - thanks for the advice on the bonemeal. I'll head out there and do that to my spring bulbs today.

  • Judy
    on May 23, 2013

    First Iris is not a bulb, it is a rhizome & the rhizomes need to be planted so that the top of the rhizome is above the surface of the soil. Second, they do not like manure on or near the rhizome. My friend who has a nursery says they like a sprinkling of wood ash every April.

  • Thanks for the info, Judy. I always plant the iris rhizomes near the top of the surface otherwise they get boggy. Didn't know about the manure though - great tip.

  • Karen Smith
    on May 24, 2013

    I have a collection of Iris's , they are great in boarders or areas of half sun / half shade. They do love water rather it be first thing in the morning or evening. Before long you will have a infection of Iris where you will have to find some one to give them to.

  • Debra Peters
    on May 24, 2013

    love the pics!

  • Melanie N
    on May 24, 2013

    I was given several iris rhizomes by a coworker and he enlightened me that they probably wouldn't bloom the first year, but I got a few. Then I moved and transplanted them to my new house...no blooms that folowing spring. This year, however, they are beautiful! Be patient!

  • Thanks for all the advice. As I look around the garden a few days after posting this, I am seeing more iris spikes on other plants. So I'm hopeful that next year there will be tons more.

  • Annette Sullivan
    on May 24, 2013

    Sunlight, and not soil on bulbs' surfaces is mandatory for iris' bloom production.

  • Robi
    on May 24, 2013

    Most iris transplants should have 5 leaves on the rhizome in order to bloom. Don't despair if yours didn't, it just takes a bit longer, a year should be plenty. Iris are very forgiving and do well in not so good soils as well as multiply over time..hang in there!

  • Robi -I did not know that - thanks!!

  • Tracy Fields
    on May 27, 2013

    Heather, most of the time they won't bloom the first year, but next year they'll put on a show for you. Depending on the type of iris you don't want them to be wet. If you planted the bearded iris for instance (that's what I grow and sell) you don't want them to have "soggy feet". A few years back I ran out of room to plant and threw a 5 gallon bucket of rhizomes out into the trees. I didnt plant them, just left them, 2 years later there were beautiful blooms coming out of that batch. We have really dry summers so to say the least I was shocked. They had received no care at all for 2 years and there they were!

  • Thanks, Tracy Fields, for all the info. We're in a dry area here too. So that will be good for the irises. Can't wait till next year for the big show.

  • Karen Smith
    on May 29, 2013

    indeed Robi is correct about the 5 leaves. Also after they bloom in Spring trim back in to a palm tree style leave with the five thickness of leaves and they will bloom again late summer.

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