Uncloaking....Now! (with questions)
I have been lurking on this very fine list for several weeks now.
Many of my Iris questions have been answered by the resident experts here
except this one: When exactly do Iris (TB) store energy for bloom? Is it
during the short time the foliage is out before bloom in spring? During the
summer season? Or in late summer/early fall before the frost comes? I ask
because almost any other plant I could name needs an unbroken season of
growth (Amaryllis, for example) usually summer, when the plant stores energy
for bloom the following season. Most Iris are dug up, divided, and/or sold
during the very season when one would think they should be in the ground
growing! Are they such efficient utilizers of sunlight and food that they
can be planted in late summer and still make enough "stuff" to bloom
properly after the winter dormancy? Not your typical "newbie" question I
admit, but I have been to the websites for the basics and have also read a
couple of old ("1960's") Iris textbooks.
I also just bought a home in Brooklyn, NY (zone 5?) oriented north/south.
The rear yard which faces south would be ideal for Iris save for a HUGE tree
in the yard of the home behind mine. I have been watching the sun and the
leaves to see where the patches of sun are and how they move. The best I can
do is dappled sun for 5 hours on good days. Are there any Iris that will
tolerate these conditions? Failing that, I noticed on the back page of the
new "Schreiners" catalog an invitation to try growing Iris indoors. As
houseplants??!! The paragraph isn't really clear. I can't tell if they are
recommending starting Iris plants indoors like people do with tomatoes,
moving them outdoors when the last frost date is past OR if they mean to try
growing them year round in a south window or some such. Metal Halide
lighting? Any comments on Iris as houseplants would be most welcome!
Howard A. Ashley