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Re: SPEC: I. Reticulata

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: SPEC: I. Reticulata
  • From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>
  • Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 12:11:21 -0700 (MST)

>> Question to reticulata growers:  How do you maintain your collections?

Our climate and soil here in central Virginia seem inimical to
reticulatas--heavy clay (amended with organic matter in my garden) and wet,
hot summers.  Of any reticulatas planted in a given year, about a third
fail to come up the next year, and only about 10% of the remainder will
bloom a second year.  Most of the survivors seem to break up into a number
of smaller plants, and rarely one or two of these will bloom some years
down the pike.  The books say that deep planting (5-6") helps prevent the
breakup, which they claim is especially bad with danfordiae (but this one
is pretty persistant for me).  I suspect that using a raised bed with more
grit and sand in the soil would help.

But reticulatas in general (save Katherine Hodgkin and that ilk) are so
inexpensive that I just treat them as annuals and replant 50-100 each year.

Has anyone noticed that there appear to be two strategies in reticulatas?
Some produce a few inches of foliage before they bloom, but others flower
well in advance of any appearance of the foliage.  The former seem to be
mostly I. reticulata and its forms, and the latter I. histrioides and its
hybrids (like the aforementioned KH).

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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