[gardeners] Re: Iris Maintenance / CA

Martha Brown (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sat, 2 Oct 1999 22:13:55 -0500

Sutton's catalog (Porterville CA located in the southern half of the San
Joaquin Valley zone 9) says they have peak bloom in April with rebloom all
year unless there is a hard freeze so this indicates to me they don't cut
any of the fans back unless they are moving or dividing clumps.  They would
just remove the withered foliage as necessary.

M Brown
NW Oklahoma, USA
USDA Zone 6b,  Sunset Zone 35

-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Hay <ronhay@pacbell.net>
To: gardeners@globalgarden.com <gardeners@globalgarden.com>
Date: Saturday, October 02, 1999 9:53 PM
Subject: Re: [gardeners] Iris Maintenance

>Thanks you...and everyone else who responded...to my question on iris
>maintenance. It's sometimes hard to deduce what is correct for us gardeners
>California, where there is no frost that kills irises and most other
plants. Our
>irises are blooming now, and probably will for several months yet, growing
>dormant for a very short period, then flowering again, beginning in
>I will certainly look into obtaining that book for my horticultural
>It was very kind of you to provide such thorough information.
>Martha Brown wrote:
>> According to "The Gardener's Iris Book",  published by the Taunton Press
>> 1998.
>> by William Shear (a biologist at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and a
>> year iris enthusiast, who has been published in Natural History, American
>> Scientist, flower and Garden, and Fine Gardening).
>> page 45:
>> "----there are two things to avoid.  Don't mulch bearded irises during
>> summer (it encourages rot), and don't cut off the leaves unless they
>> to really look terrible.  Somehow it has become folk wisdom to cut back
>> leaves after blooming, but this only weakens the plants and steals
>> from next year's season."
>> To reduce pests and disease he recommends collecting and burning all dead
>> iris foliage and organic debris twice a year, in late fall and early
>> During the spring and summer, pull off and destroy any outer leaves that
>> wither.  Regular replanting will avoid over crowding that contributes to
>> pest and disease infestations.  Also avoid commercial fertilizers as they
>> contribute to lush, growth susceptible to pests and diseases.
>> This is a great book about all kinds of iris. It is available through the
>> American Iris Society (the only current book on iris they sell) along
>> the "World Of Iris" published in 1978 I believe.  It is also available in
>> bookstores and from Taunton Press.   List price is $25.00 so you might
>> to contact your local library if you don't wish to invest that much.
>> Martha
>> M Brown
>> NW Oklahoma, USA
>> USDA Zone 6b,  Sunset Zone 35
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Kathy Kennedy <kkennedy@mail.coin.missouri.edu>
>> To: gardeners@globalgarden.com <gardeners@globalgarden.com>
>> Date: Saturday, October 02, 1999 6:21 PM
>> Subject: Re: [gardeners] Iris Maintenance
>> >I don't cut mine back either.  I think the foliage feeds the tubers,
>> >helping the plant stay strong for the next season.  Also, this is the
>> >garden method.
>> >
>> >Probably either way is OK.
>> >
>> >--Kathy K, mid-Missouri, zone 5
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >----------
>> >From: Michael & Bambi Cantrell <cantrell@onslowonline.net>
>> >
>> >I little bit doubt that my way is the best way, but I often don't
>> >cut my iris's back, unless they really begin to look ratty.
>> >I hesitate to say this, but I haven't had any disease problems
>> >with them, and they rebloom every year.
>> >I'd at least wait until the foliage gets significantly yellowed
>> >before cutting them back.
>> >Good luck.  :-)
>> >
>> >Bambi
>> >Coastal Carolina
>> >
>> >
>> >    Can anyone tell me if I should be cutting the foliage on my Iris's
>> > I did read that you do this when you divide them but since mine are in
>> >only one season, I am not sure whether I should leave the foliage long
>> >winter (Zone 8).
>> >    Pauline & Gary
>> >    Wilmington, NC
>> >    gnp@wilmington.net
>> >
>> >