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CULT:potting irises

From: "Chris Hollinshead" <cris@netcom.ca>

Here is an update on the potted irises from Jan 11/99.

At that time I wrote about some rhizomes that I had neglected to plant this
past season. This was just a little self imposed mid-winter challenge to see
if I could rescue these plants from oblivion.

As the rhizomes were at this point extra, extra dry I soaked them overnight
and potted them into 5 inch diameter clay pots, using a seed starting mix
(to promote rooting) with extra vermiculite added. I located them under grow
lights and available south facing natural light. I might add that I took
absolutely all the existing true roots off these rhizomes prior to planting.
In this case these were completely dead but I was also curious as to trying
to promote new root development. Plants were watered approx every 3 days
when soil mix seemed dry.

Well, only 15 days later the plants are all growing and they are growing
The five SDB's all have four to five new increases/fans starting with a
height of 1 inch or so. The new root tips of two plants were actually
showing out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot! (indicating 4-5
inches of new root growth)

I have today planted 10 TB's of similar state (out of the ground since last
August!) into 6 inch clay pots using the same special seed starting formula
soil mix. I expect that I shall have the same good results from these

What I will also do this year is to pot up new fresh inbound iris
acquisitions at the local traditional planting periods to stimulate the
crucial root growth prior to planting into the garden bed. Walter Moores had
an article about this procedure which he has used with much success in his
more southerly garden. I published this article in one of our recent CIS
Newsletters and I believe Walter has the article available on his website.
There does not seem to be any reason why this process be cannot be
beneficially adapted to our more northerly climate. This also gives me the
bonus of more time to plan where the new acquisitions are to go in the
garden! Sometimes it is hard to find a spot!

Later I will transplant all these plants out into the garden. (about
mid-April in our climate)
Based on this experience I will also use this same seed starting special
soil mix to pot up newly acquired Siberian irises in the spring too. Should
promote the all important root growth for these beardless iris needed to
establish them after division.

Anyway, I thought that some of you might find interest in this little
exercise/experiment of sorts.
Havin' a little iris fun indoors while the snow is still piled high outside!

Christopher Hollinshead
Mississauga, Ontario  Canada  zone6b
AIS(Region 16), CIS, SSI
Director-Canadian Iris Society
Newsletter Editor-Canadian Iris Society
E-mail:  cris@netcom.ca
CIS website:  http://www.netcom.ca/~cris/CIS.html

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