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Hello everyone,

Having come in from the nasty weather outside, I am sat with a mug of hot chocolate bringing my thoughts to planning plants for the year ahead.

My mother's old house used to have a magnificent display of lilac coloured flag irises that I used to help her split each year. They seemed to just go on and on. In the rush of her moving into sheltered housing we did not think of taking up some of the tubers, such a shame, so I am starting from scratch.

I planted new iris tubers last year and there was a pitiful single leaf and then nothing. They are in a South facing border. Would I be best digging them up and replanting? I think they are best not planted too deep but I would welcome all advice please on planting depths and if I should dig in a little grit to help drainage, move to a different site etc etc.



  • FleurisaFleurisa Posts: 779

    The rhizomes of bearded iris are usually planted on top of the soil so they get the sun on them. If your soil is heavy you might need to mix some grit into the planting hole

  • Ah, thank you. I think I planted them just below the surface of the soil. The soil is fairly decent but maybe. I should dig them out and raise the planting level a little.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,854

    you said " flag " irises, but from the description, I think as Fleurisa says, you might mean "bearded" irises. I'd suggest you pant them on the surface so the rhizomes can bake in the summer which is best for flowering the following year. If you plant them on top of small inverted V shaped mound and fan the roots down either side , making sure the roots themselves are covered, you should be fine. 

    However , don't so as Monty Don once suggested back in his days on Channel 4 " dig a hole 6 inches deep and bury them" I remember shouting at the TV, "  AND WATCH THEM ROT"

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,754

    Hostafan's right. There are different species of Iris which require totally opposite conditions so it can be very confusing! 'Flag' Irises are the water loving kind, but it sounds like you have the others which need good drainage and a baking in the sun after they flower, so keep the rhizome above soil level and, as Fleurisa said, get plenty of grit mixed into your soil to give them the drainage they like. If you get them out just now and rearrange them (assuming they're firm and sound) you should get a good display this summer.  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Yes I'm sorry I mean bearded irises. That is good advice thank you especially the inverted V planting tip. As soon as there is a chink of good weather I shall tackle them. Positive thinking - the Summer will be gorgeous! 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,414

    I hope you're right about the summer Petal. image


    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,754

    They will be lovely LPetal . One of my favourite flowers  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I have planted many iris alongside the road in my garden in the Languedoc.  So long as the rooted section is in the soil they seem to grow well, both in full sun and in shade.  They don't need feeding but they do need the sun to bake the rhizomes in the summer.  They grow like this in and around Monet's garden too, but they do need to be split, as you say, regularly to remove the older corky bits.  They don't like being wet - the drier the better!

    Good luck - the colour and honey scent are just wonderful.

  • If bearded iris are planted to deep and they don't rot or die off then the new growth should come up and grow at the proper level,last years plants will never bloom again.

    40 years of growing,showing and hybridizing.


  • Wow Bill, impressive. Let us know of the best ones you would recommend.

    Well, I dashed out this morning between rain showers, dug up the rhizomes and they seem sound, no sign of rot. I dug in a little grit and replanted in the inverted V shape as suggested, making sure to bury the roots. I then gave it a talking to which am sure will help it no end!

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