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Re: CULT: Planting in pots, for Gloria

Hi Anner,

I have left MDB'S and SDB'S in pots for two or three years in a row. They usually bloom in the pots. After that move them to a garden spot, because they get root bound in the pots.

Jim Clark in Mo Zone 5
-----Original Message-----
    From: ChatOWhitehall@aol.com <ChatOWhitehall@aol.com>
    To: iris-talk@egroups.com <iris-talk@egroups.com>
    Date: Friday, August 11, 2000 10:52 AM
    Subject: [iris-talk] CULT: Planting in pots, for Gloria
    In a message dated 8/11/00 10:39:43 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
    Josiecairn@aol.com writes:
    <<  I might have asked this question before, but I do not recall receiving an 
    answer.  I was wondering if I can plant some IB Rhizones in pots etc.
    I believe that I was told that they could be planted in pots, my big 
    is that I live in Zone 6 and it does get cold and freeze. Can I leave the 
    IRIS in the pots, do I have to take them in.  Can I put them in the cellar?  
    Can I leave them outside next to the house on the south side covered over 
    with leaves and straw?  Pls advise.>>
    Gloria, I saw your question and hesitated to answer since I am in Zone 7 and 
    I think that may matter here. I'll tell you what I know. 
    Yes, you can plant irises in pots. The bigger the pot the happier they will 
    be and the longer they can stay. Your pots must drain well, and not crowd the 
    iris above the soil line or below. Irises have long roots. I have things that 
    have lived for a couple of years in pots, although that is not the best 
    situation for them. If someone gives me two rhizomes of something rare one 
    goes in the ground, another in a pot as insurance. 
    Irises need some cold to make flowers, so you don't want to protect them too 
    much. I don't know how much cold they can take in pots without suffering, and 
    I imagine that would vary a lot due to genetic heritage of the rhizome, its 
    health going into winter, and so forth, but in my garden I have never lost a 
    potted rhizome, although I have lost some in the ground.
    Here is what I do. Now, bear in mind I'm in Virginia and we are talking about 
    an urban back yard. In late October or early November, when the first good 
    frosts start, I take all my potted irises and I stick them under the 
    magnolia. That is, I position them in the liriope under my very large 
    broadleaf evergreen tree. The tree is a warm and protective thing. You can 
    see how warm it is when there is a light snow. The first area to melt will be 
    in the root zone.  I cover the pots with a loosely draped double layer of 
    reemay fabric--that is that light white nonwoven stuff they sell for row 
    covers and such--which will break the force of rain dripping off the tree. 
    After Christmas I pile on a few Christmas tree boughs. Remember light is the 
    operative word since most of the irises will keep some foliage through the 
    winter and you don't want to weigh them down. When things start to come alive 
    in the garden, here it is late March, I fish out the pots and put them in the 
    Now, I personally would not put them in a cellar. You might try an unheated 
    garage if it is a bit warmer in there than the outside air. I think leaving 
    them outside next to the house might work well. I would not use the south 
    side since you may stimulate too early growth if you get a lot of sun and 
    reflected warmth there. I'd pick another side, and I'd nestle them in, making 
    sure they were not getting dripped on under the eaves. I don't like the idea 
    of straw since I think it could go nasty although I think a lot of folks do 
    use it. Beware of leaves as well. If you could snag some oak leaves or pine 
    tags that might be very good. If you can find some reemay I'd use it over the 
    pots first. You could also get a pile of mulch, pine bark nuggets say, and 
    heap that around the pots, filling in the interstices. People will tell you 
    that if the whole pot freezes you will loose the irises, but that has not 
    been my experience. Whatever you do, remember that they will want excellent 
    drainage and good ventilation in the winter just as they do in summer.
    Hope this helps.
    Anner, in Virginia

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