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Re: SPEC: I. Bucharica

From: "Jeff and Carolyn Walters" <jcwalters@bridgernet.com>

Karen Hughes,

> On my first trip I visited a nursery in search of a program of an 
> upcoming plant sale.  They were out of the sale listings but I found I. 
> bucharia in bloom.  It is so rare to find anything for sale around here 
> beyond bearded and siberians that of course I had to buy one.  Now, can 
> someone tell me about my latest acquisition?  I especially need growing 
> culture requirements.


I. bucharica is the most commonly available and least temperamental of the
bulbous Juno irises, which are native to Central Asia (Bokhara, which gave
its name to bucharica, was one of the major caravan centers on the famous
"Silk Road" between China and the east coast of the Mediterranean in Marco
Polo's day). The native environment in which it grows is similar to the
southern Rocky Mountain-Colorado Plateau region of this country. This means
that, though it is perfectly cold hardy, it resents being wet in either the
winter or the summer when it is dormant, but wants adequate moisture when
it is actively growing in the spring and when the bulb initiates new growth
in the fall. The soil in which it is planted should be well-drained and not
too rich or high in organic matter. Grow it in full sun.

I have had bucharica for 7 years, and it has done well here, where it is
not too hard to satisfy its requirements. I am going to have to dig and
divide it this year, as the plants are getting overcrowded and bloom is
beginning to suffer. It is necessary to handle the bulbs very carefully as
the fleshy roots that extend from the bulb are brittle and break off
easily. If this happens it has a detrimental effect on the vigor of the
bulb and the quantity and quality of bloom.

Good luck with your new acquisition!

Jeff Walters in northern Utah  (USDA Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 2)

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