Dutch iris requirements

Diane Whitehead voltaire@islandnet.com
Thu, 11 Sep 2003 12:13:22 PDT
I thought maybe it was something simple I wasn't doing, but since no 
one else is wildly successful with them (except the Dutch) I have 
been driven to old books.

The British Iris Society manual suggests leaving them in the ground 
and fertilizing them.

The author of Iris in the Little Garden (publ 1927),  Ella Porter 
McKinney, who lived in New Jersey, U.S.A., couldn't grow them.

N. Lesley Cave, who wrote The Iris in mcml, and lived in England, 
wrote this:  It has been said that no one garden will grow both Dutch 
and English irises, and while this is an exaggeration, there is a lot 
of truth in it.  Dutch (and Spanish) irises require a light, warm 
soil, the English, on the other hand, demand cool, moist conditions. 
......... (The Dutch and Spanish) send up their leaves in autumn, and 
to prevent damage to the foliage and consequent weakening of the 
bulbs, they should not be planted until October.  This will delay the 
growth of the leaves.  They should be lifted annually as soon as the 
foliage has withered.

Sunset Western Garden Book (for the west coast of North America) says 
this:  Plant in sun 4 in. deep, 3-4 in. apart in October-November. 
Bulbs hardy, but in coldest climates, mulch in winter.  Ample water 
during growth; after bloom let foliage ripen before digging, store 
bulbs in a cool, dry place; do not let bulbs stay out of the ground 
more than 2 months.

Diane Whitehead  Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
maritime zone 8
cool mediterranean climate (dry summer, rainy winter - 68 cm annually)
sandy soil

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