Iris cycloglossa
Mon, 14 May 2007 07:51:12 PDT
I've bought three starts of this Juno iris from Fraser's Thimble Farm 
in 2003, but no flowers until now. Somebody — I don't remember who — 
commented here a few months ago that Iris cycloglossa is a snowmelt 
plant. This spurred removal of the pot from a coldframe, where it 
endured a regimen of not entirely benign neglect, and promotion to a 
bench on the patio, where it is directly under my beady-eyed gaze.

The move was followed by regular, copious watering, plus regular 
feeding with very dilute Phostrogen. The latter is a trick learned 
from one of the old guard of the local rock garden club: when asked 
how he flowered difficult bulbs so well, the reply was "a pinch of 
Phostrogen in the watering can every time I fill it."

Anyway, I want to thank the list in general, its administrators, and 
the individual who posted about this iris. It's made a difference: I 
have two flowering stems, each with two buds. The top bud on one stem 
opened yesterday and the top bud on the other stem will be open 
within a few hours.

For those of you wondering if Iris cycloglossa is worth tracking 
down, one disappointment: somewhere it's described as having a clove-
like scent, but it doesn't. It's sweetly scented, but not of cloves. 
For a clove scent, try Paeonia cambessedessi.

And to answer two obvious questions:

Phostrogen is an English-made soluble fertilizer, analysis 10-10-27, 
plus 1% Mg, 4.3% Ca, 4.2% S, and 0.35% Fe. Possibly no longer 
available in North America. (I bought a lifetime supply some years 

Soil mix: modelled on the well-known John Innes potting mix, but 
amended with an equal volume of fine granite grit ("canary grit"). I 
find my usual potting mix too heavy and water-retentive for many 
bulbs; adding lots of grit seems to make it work much better, while 
also slowly releasing potassium.

Isn't success wonderful? I'm very happy.
Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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