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Re: CULT: Pot culture

We've done quite a lot of growing iris in pots over
the last several years - that's how we grow most of
our varieties. 

Generally speaking, bigger is better - the bigger
the pot, the more likely an iris will grow up to
registered height. Half barrels (like those used for
wine or whisky) work very well, but are expensive to
fill and awkward to move. We use a lot of 16, 18,
and 20-inch pots - 16 is about the minimum for good
TB performance, though you can grow smaller types
in smaller ones. I wouldn't use ones smaller than
10 inches for iris and expect to get bloom.

Soil is important - use a good (or at least decent)
potting soil. We use Supersoil potting soil. Using
garden soil is a guaranteed recipe for rot. You'll
need to fertilize them more than iris grown in the
ground, since they don't have access to as many

Drainage is also important - make sure to put in
good drain holes (you'll have to drill them 
yourself in barrels; most commercial pots should
have them already or have "punch-out" holes).
I don't use saucers - for bearded iris you don't
really need them (can promote mold & rot), and 
snails & slugs love to hide under them.

You'll need to divide them more often than iris
grown in the ground - plan on dividing every couple
of years, or maybe every year if you have a vigorous
multiplier. Don't crowd too many rhizomes into your
pot in the initial planting; they tend not to bloom
if they're too crowded.

They'll also need more water than iris grown in the
ground - especially in hot weather, when smaller 
pots can dry out completely pretty quickly (and 
reach high soil temperatures). We give ours a 
little water all through our dry summer, 
and water every day during hot spells.

All that said, I strongly recommend trying pot
culture - it can work very well for people with
limited space (like us), mobility issues, or
difficult soil. Our specialty is historic iris, and
we've won several best historic trophies with
pot-grown iris.

San Francisco bay area, zone 9

----- Original Message -----
From: George Schubert <gschubert@earthlink.net>
Date: Saturday, April 2, 2005 5:48 am
Subject: Re: [iris] CULT: Pot culture

> I too would like to see a thread on pot culture
with TBs.  Like 
> how big a 
> pot?  Sources?  Potting mix?  Impact on divide
> Experiments that 
> did or did not work?  Etc, etc.
> George Schubert
> Zone 6b 

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