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Re: CULT: HYB: growability - long

Back when I first started chasing pedigrees and looking for common
ancestors of the survivors here, aphylla, "reichenbachii"/"balkana" (who
knows what it really was), variegata, and pallida showed up repeatedly
when I went far enough back.

Never being one for accepting "common knowledge" as truth <g>, I bought
clones of various species, plus some other old classics that frequent a
lot of pedigrees (i.e., SNOW FLURRY) to see how they would do compared
to one another.

At the time, the ability to drop foliage during hot, dry summers was a
trait that most of my 'best' had in common, so I was curious to see
which (if any) species had that trait.

I say "at the time" because our climate has been all over the place in
the 30+ years I've been growing irises here - annual lows of minus 25 F
to lows of plus 10; snow 3 ft deep (!) to no snow cover all winter;
rainfall total of barely over 30 inches to more than 60 inches per year;
3 months with zero rain to an inch of rain or more every week all

At the time, the only sources for most of these critters was Varner, and
I <think> most of the clones he had were geared more towards delicate,
small varieties suitable for making modern MTB type cultivars.  At least
they all seemed pretty dinky.

I bought several clones of aphylla from him, none did well, most died
almost immediately, and I gave what scraps I had left to Neil.  Neil, if
your experience with pure aphylla is limited to those bits and pieces,
it might be worth trying again with some healthier starts.  These clones
of aphylla don't have adequate deep roots to get them thru hot summer
drought (they might have done well here the last two summers!).  I don't
know if they have the trait of being able to drop foliage during

Of the two clones of variegata I tried, one eventually died after I
stopped keeping the weeds away from it.  Everything usually gets a two
or three year intensive weed control here, then they only get Roundup
between the rows and hand weeding two or three times/year.  Variegata
does drop leaves during summer drought.

Pallida in all the forms I have here (Neil's short little "collected"
clone, the tall one that was already at this old homestead, plus a few I
bought from Adamgrove) has thrived (tho blooms are often frozen out).
It does not drop foliage during drought.

I bought some other species/clones from Adamgrove, most of which have
done well - will have to go check on them to report which have done
what.  One is a dark purple multi-branched IB sized thing that isn't
aphylla, but not knowing any better, I would have guessed that's what it

Bottom line - my theory is that aphylla can contribute to winter
hardiness and maybe late freeze avoidance here, but if traits aren't
combined just right with other species, it doesn't have the root
system/heat tolerance for our summers.  If you know of more southern
sources of different (bigger) aphylla clones, I'd try some.  Or maybe
try growing some from seed to see if any would be better adapted to my
growing conditions.

<I'm curious if you or
                   Linda Mann have tried growing any Iris aphylla

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8
East Tennessee Iris Society <http://www.korrnet.org/etis>
American Iris Society web site <http://www.irises.org>
talk archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-talk/>
photos archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-photos/>
online R&I <http://www.irisregister.com>

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