by Tom Waters
Irises are not usually thought of as container plants, but they can grow quite well that way, and there are a number of advantages to doing so.Two Iris pumila cultivars, ‘Wild Whispers’ (Coleman, 2012) and’Royal Wonder’ (Coleman, 2013), growing happily in a large container. The irises I choose to grow in containers are mostly dwarf…
By Bryce Williamson
After a good night’s sleep, I started my first full day in Oregon with an early morning visit to Schreiner’s Gardens. Everyone was just waking up and setting up the garden for the arrival of visitors and I had the gardens mainly to myself for much of the early morning. I have combined…
Customers often ask us, “How and when should I fertilizer my iris?”
The short answer (continue reading for the nitty-gritty): one month before bloom season, while the tulips are blooming, apply a low-nitrogen, well-balanced fertilizer, such as Schreiner’s 6-10-10 Controlled Release Iris Food. Keep the fertilizer several inches away from the rhizomes. In late September, fertilize again. That sums it up nicely, but perhaps you would like a bit more to chew on about the “what” and “when” of feeding your Iris. Read on for a more substantial serving of info on nurturing both your soil and your Iris.
There are four main nutrients that we must maintain in the soil: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. The first three nutrients are found in most mixed fertilizers, and calcium can be purchased separately in the form of limestone. Nitrogen is necessary for new cell formation in all parts of a plant. Compared to other nutrients, nitrogen is typically the most lacking. A symptom of a shortage of nitrogen is yellow-green stunted growth. Potassium (potash) is necessary for strong roots and stems as well as deep flower color. A symptom of potash deficiency is weak stems and yellowing or browning leaf tips and edges. Phosphorus is necessary for development of roots and stems. This nutrient also stimulates fruit and seed production. A symptom of Phosphorus deficiency is red or purple discoloration of leaves.
Before applying any fertilizer to your garden, do a soil test to discover what your plants actually need. The best way to know how much, and at what proportion, to add nutrients to the soil is with a soil test. Simple soil tests can be purchased at garden supply centers. Once you determine what nutrients are lacking or are in abundance, you can amend the soil to correct most problems. Your soil test may also reveal a need to correct pH or add trace minerals, for example. Completing a soil test, and making modifications to your soil based on the results, is the preferred method to determine fertilizer amounts.
Fertilization of Iris is important to obtain best results, but must be done in moderation. The only thing Iris may resent more than underfeeding is overfeeding. Nitrogen, potash, and phosphorus are essential for Iris, but excessive nitrogen promotes lush growth that is more susceptible to rot diseases. If applied in concentrated form, do not allow the fertilizer to come in direct contact with foliage and roots, as the plant may be damaged or killed. Low-nitrogen fertilizers, such as 6-10-10, are ideal for the needs of Iris.
When to apply fertilizer to Iris:
1) In the spring, about a month before bloom, apply a light application of fertilizer around the Iris clumps. This goes for dwarf iris, too, which bloom in March. Apply a low-Nitrogen fertilizer to your dwarf iris in mid to late February. Apply the same to your intermediate and tall bearded iris in intervals coinciding with the month before their bloom cycles.
2) At planting, sprinkle a tablespoon of the fertilizer around the newly planted rhizome. Or, if preparing a large area for iris planting, incorporate ½ lb of a low-nitrogen fertilizer such as 6-10-10 per 50 ft2 (or 1 ½ oz per 10 ft2) to your garden bed.
3) After your Iris bloom is another time you should fertilize them. Doing so keeps them healthy and in tiptop shape for better growth for the growing cycle later in the year. Wait a month or so after blooms have finished, or in the fall, with enough time before winter so the Iris have the proper nutrition they need going into their winter dormancy.
Here’s a little more info on the subject of fertilizing, including a short video with Ben Schreiner showing us how and when to feed your iris
Now that you’ve got the scoop on Iris nourishment, you can take the necessary action to feed your hungry Iris. Schreiner’s Gardens offers a specially formulated Iris food to help you provide balanced nutrition in the flower garden. Order now for summer and fall shipment.
By Ron Killingsworth
Louisiana Iris ‘Adell Tingle’The real Adell Tingle surrounded by the irises that she loved ‘Adell Tingle’ (Hutchins, B 2006 LA) was the first iris we produced from hybridizing. It was named for my mother’s sister, Aunt Adell. Adell attended many Louisiana iris conventions and was an expert on plants native to Louisiana. Clump of Louisiana Iris ‘Her Highness’This picture shows…
By Kevin Vaughn
Amoenas and variegatas have long been favorites of iris growers. The early amoenas and variegatas were all derived from I. variegata and had many problems associated with that species, chiefly very veined hafts, and a pattern of striped falls rather than solid ones. Breeders were persistent in their work, despite poor germination of…
First Annual Dwarf Iris Naming Contest
This year we extend the Iris naming fun to one of our Dwarf Bearded Iris seedlings. Just as with the Tall Bearded Iris seedling, the SDB (Standard Dwarf Bearded) Iris seedling I8-A pictured above has never been introduced. It too needs a name. Won’t you join in the fun? This year’s candidate presents a bold amoena pattern of dark purple falls, edged in white, and standards of crisp white. This diminutive beauty stands just 7.5 inches tall. She blooms early in the season.
Contest open to US residents only. Entry deadline is 9:00 p.m. Pacific, Thursday, November 14, 2019. The winner will be notified via email. Winner will receive one plant of the named Iris (shipped summer 2020) and a $25 gift certificate to Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (to be mailed to the winner along with a copy of the 2020 catalog in the spring of 2020).
Contest Rules: One name entry per person please. Suggested name must not already be registered with the American Iris Society. Any name submitted which is already registered with the American Iris Society will be discarded. You can search for registered Iris names on the AIS encyclopedia at www.irises.org. Contest open to US residents only. Prize will be shipped to a US address only. Schreiner’s Iris Gardens reserves the right to select the name from the entries received by the contest entry deadline of 9:00 p.m. (Pacific), November 14, 2019. If no suitable name is submitted, Schreiner’s Iris Gardens reserves the right to name the seedling.
The contest winner will be notified via email.
Sharing our passion for Iris,
The Schreiner Family
Images in this blog are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of the copyright holders Schreiner’s Iris Gardens.
By Bryce Williamson
My second stop on the 2019 tour of iris gardens in Oregon and Washington was the garden of Keith Keppel in Salem. For many years, Keith Keppel’s garden in Stockton was a must visit destination. With his retirement from the US post office, Keith made the huge move to Salem, Oregon. While he was…