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CULT: waiting to plant

From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>

I've not had any problems here with West Coast rhizomes being more prone to
rot, but I always try to specify September delivery.  With Schreiner's,
that generally means that the rhizomes have been out of the ground for some
weeks before they ship (judging from their appearance when they arrive).
So the drying off has already taken place.  In our climate (Z7a)
September-planted rhizomes establish very quickly, while those planted in
July or August tend to languish before rooting.  Likewise, October-November
are a bit late for us.

I also think that a good curing period encourages bloom on newly set
plants, but this is just a long-term impression.  Perhaps the stress of
drying out makes the plant "decide" to bloom the next spring and try to
reproduce before it expires!

In any case, we have a long list of experiences reported here that bearded
iris rhizomes can be out of the ground for many months under poor
conditions and still survive.  This summer a friend gave me a plastic bag
full of I. variegata rhizomes, but arrived when we were out and put it in
the garage.  I didn't find it until October, and the rhizomes looked very
dead.  But when planted, they rooted almost immediately and now look pretty
fine.  I don't expect bloom but they survived in fine style.

Found deer tracks in the garden this morning, darn it, and some LAs nipped
off.  Time to get out the dried blood powder.

Hellebores in bloom, by the way, and mild weather predicted into the near
future.  The hounds of spring are on winter's traces.

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

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