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Re: CULT: Growing Irises in pots/seedlings

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Hi all,
I have just come inside after a long session of transplanting iris 
seedlings. I have a mixture of TB's, IB's and SDB's along with pots of 
I.tectorum, I schachtii, and Pardancanda X Norrisii (sp?)

As we are hoping to move soon (If we ever sell this place) I took the advice 
of an iris growing friend, who has shifted previously with seedlings. She 
grows species iris from seed ordered from SIGNA and BIS.
Her advice was to get white plastic foam fruit boxes from the local fruit 
store, and plant the seedlings in good potting mix, fairly densely.

As some crosses have only produced a few seedlings, I have taken the 
precaution of allowing only dis-similar types to share a box.
E.g: HONKYTONK BLUES X MOODY HUES (IB most likely blues and whites) sharing 
a box with  MURMUR X CELCIUS (SDB most likely browns, yellows,)
OR: HONKYTONK BLUES X SILVERADO in the same box as I. tectorum.

The white boxes have a 3/4" thick side, on which you can write the crosses, 
and mark the rows. I have also included details of how many rows per cross, 
and how many seedlings planted per cross. These details are also recorded on 
paper in map form. (who's obsessive?)
The boxes range in depth from 6" to 10", and are just within my lifting 
capacity when full. I lined them with that fine wire mesh used in fly 
screens, to prevent the soil falling through the somewhat large holes.

I am planting my seedlings out fairly early because germination has been 
gradual, and some of the larger ones are 4" tall while many are only just 
germinating. I empty the pot onto a 14X10" tray, and when I have picked out 
all the seedlings carefully, I rake through the potting soil with my 
fingers, and recover as many seeds as possible. Having recorded the number 
of seeds planted in each pot, on the label (yes - and in a book), helps. 
Then the seed raising mix goes back into the pot, with the seeds replanted 
about 1" from the top, and a label added.

My seedlings will probably get rather crowded, and some of the 'special' 
ones may have to be planted on into other containers, but I should end up 
with around 14 white containers full of seedlings to shift, when the time 
comes. I can see a few of you grimacing, when I tell you that these 
seedlings are planted roughly 2" apart, (a little more for the TB's.)

My irises in pots are looking quite healthy - many are doing better than 
they were in the garden, but I could be deceived by the fact that they are 
all growing like crazy at present. They will have to remain in their 
restricted quarters for at least 7 months. If we manage to shift within the 
next few months, I plan to plant them in March/April (Early Autumn), and 
planting them straight from their pots will make for minimal root 

In order to prevent mix ups with labels, I have written directly onto the 
plastic pots. I have discovered that black spirit based pen written onto 
black pots is perfectly clear and readable, and shows no sign of fading. 
Pots marked this way 2 years ago are still readable.

I hope this information is of use to the house movers among us.
Cheers, Jan Clark, in Australia,

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