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Re: HYB: CULT: what did you learn?

The mix I use is about 80 to 90% perlite, the rest compost, mixed up for me by local greenhouse to approximate the stuff Betty Wilkerson described using. I'm using 3 to 5 gallon pots with a thick layer of manure or compost in the bottom to save money, help retain moisture, and keep the perlite mix from running out the holes in the bottom.

I tried this because Betty was having so much success growing fussy stuff (i.e., EDITH) that I figured it was worth a try. The perlite mix gives several advantages - ensures perfect drainage & provides closer to sterile root environment for those cultivars not selected in an environment containing all the cheerful fungal and bacterial 'friends' we have here. It gives irises imported from more iris friendly environments time to adapt.

The web says perlite only holds 17% water - not exactly sure what the heck that means, other than it does retain some moisture. Mixed with 10 to 20% compost, it holds enough in a big pot to keep the irises happy, especially with the compost layer in the bottom of the pot. I move them to partial shade in the summer.

I plan to be at HH.

Sounds like you've been learning a lot this year, Paul. Very interesting results.

<What does perlite do for the irises? Why did you  try going them in
perlite? How do they retain any water?
    Are you going to Henry Horton for the Region 7  Winter Meeting?
    Annette Milch in Kentucky>

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