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CULT: newbie questions


I got an offlist request for information from a <shy> newbie, so to
encourage input from other newbies as well as to make sure the Rot Queen
[me] doesn't totally mislead this poor guy, I'm posting his questions
here:

<I got some great plants from Schreiners (sp?) in July and nursed them
through
the terrible summer we had in Dallas.  Most
have now produced two nice big fans of leaves (is that redundant -
fans/leaves?).  Will each fan then be a new plant after bloom next
year?  Will
each fan have bloom stalks?  So when I dig up one of these clumps (I'm
defining
a clump as one bulb planted this year that is now two fans), how many
new plants
can I expect to have?  The leaves were about a foot tall when we got our
18
degree freeze this week.  All fans are covered with ice.  Will that be a

problem?>

The fans are made of leaves, so no, that's not redundant.

Yes, each fan will be a new plant, whether the original blooms or not.
Technically, irises have rhizomes, not bulbs.  The original rhizome
(referred to by folks here usually as the mother rhizome) often will die
and rot away after the new plant forms, but sometimes they live on to be
grandmother, great grandmother, ...rhizomes and will continue to form
new fans.

The number of new fans (I don't know what is most widely accepted
terminology for these babies - we seem to call them babies, pups,
(anything cutesy that indicates new growth), or increases) varies
depending on cultivar and growing conditions.  At my house, new rhizomes
often don't live to see spring (hence the Rot Queen title) - combination
of growing conditions, climate, microclimate, and my attitude (if the
stinkin' thing isn't going to grow without my fussing over it, it can
just die).  On the other hand, a new rhizome of SEPTEMBER CHEREAU
planted a year ago produced a huge wad of increases, had 2 bloomstalks
this summer, then 4 more later in the fall (too cold to go out and
count, but I'd guess it has more than 10 increases by now).

A nice coating of ice is good insulation - much better than being
exposed to sub-freezing, drying air.

Remember all you bashful newbies, the only dumb question is the one you
don't ask.

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8



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