Jane McGary
Tue, 09 Mar 2004 18:32:33 PST
Robert Pries wrote

>I suspect that Jane may have some probelms with them because they like to 
>dry out and resent consistent moisture. But I would suspect that Jane 
>could do very well with the Siberian group especially the 40 chromosome 
>species that are very difficult for me because they need more moisture. 
>Dutch Iris the, in fact all of the xiphiums are somewhat of a challenge 
>here and probably are best grown for only one year and treated as annuals, 
>in this they do tolerably well. The pacific Coast natives are a challenge 
>hear also but can be grown as plant from seed but rarely succeed as 
>transplants. I am curious as to why albertii would do well for Jane and 
>not some of the other bearded species.

There is no problem with drying out the bearded irises here, where we 
normally have no measurable rain from the beginning of July through 
September; that is why the largest commercial producers are in Oregon. The 
problem in the home garden is that they are eaten up by slugs (which are 
controlled in commercial fields) and suffer from diseases during the wet 
winter (controlled by spraying in the fields). Some of the pure species 
appear to be disease-resistant and have persisted here for many years. 
Because bearded irises are bred mostly for unusual flowers, little 
attention appears to be paid to the cultivars' ability to flourish under 
garden conditions; like hybrid tea roses, many modern cultivars are 
primarily for enthusiasts who can attend to their special needs in a 
monoculture situation.

Pacific Coast irises transplant very easily as small seedlings grown in 
pots, but digging and moving larger plants is tricky. It is normally done 
in late fall, after fall rains have stimulated new root growth, or in early 
spring before flowering. This would not be easy in the Midwest. They are 
not intolerant of summer water as long as they have good drainage; many of 
mine are in areas of the garden watered about once a week, but they're 
mostly on slopes (also not very common in the Midwest).

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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