growing the oncocyclus and arilbred irises.

Adam Fikso
Mon, 28 Apr 2008 12:47:11 PDT
Hello all.  Re Jim Waddick's  idea that more people should be growing the 
arilbred irises.  I agree, but I'd be more cautionary than he, having grown 
them off and on for about 50 years. Much depends on where one lives, and the 
adjustments one is willing to make. In the U.S.  Most can be grown 
relatively easily in a raised bed or a hillside in gritty to gravelly soil, 
which has  a fairly large particle size. I would not advise anyone outside 
of southern Calfornia to grow the species, with a few oncocyclus species 
exceptions, and the regelias which are more tolerant of water and tougher 
with respect to cold and below freezing temperatures. To grow the oncocyclus 
species for more than a year, (bringing them through a couple of winters) 
requires that they be covered and shielded from rain during their necessary 
summer dormancy.   Further, although virus can be a problem particularly 
with the species, and some of the older arilbreds, the greater problem in 
the U.S. east of Nebraka is iris borer which can have killed  plant while 
you think it's still alive.  Imidacloprid is the best defense against this 
with two early sprayings or granules in the ground in early April or March. 
An aspirin drench of 2 325 mg. tabs / a workable defense against virus 
infections, keeping them under control quite effectively  so one wiill not 
even see any evidence of virus.

I am impressed-- Luc, with the idea that you may have I. bismarckiana 
growing from seed.  What was thte provenance of the seed?   It was declared 
extinct at the original site at Crak des Chevaliers in Syria a few years 
ago, but I have some reason to believe that that report was premature.  I 
bloomed a few plants from there back in about 1960 and have never forgotten 
the experience but could not keep them alive. The humidity alone in Illinois 
is high enough to guarantee their dying.   I would regard seed from most 
other souces as not being I. bismarckiana, even if appearing to satisfy the 
botanical key. It is easily confused with I. hermona.

Incidentally this is one species I would say not even be tried, allng with 
auraniti, sofarana and gatesii unless one is prepared to grow the rhizomes 
in pure coarse sand,  gravel, or decomposed granite (with the dust sifted or 
washed out), and covered and baked in the summer in neutral to alkaline pH. 
Fortunately they are nearly unobtainable.

Representative forms of arilbreds can be seen by going to the Aril Society 
International site ,and then clicking on the checklist marker in the left 
margin , then going to the illustrated in color  checklist which will and 
colorful checklist. 

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