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Iris Chrysographes, and Spuria Seeds

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Iris Chrysographes, and Spuria Seeds
  • From: Barb Johnson <ljohnson@cland.net>
  • Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1996 09:24:23 -0500

I notice that Ellen and Ruth were talking at the end of August about 
this Siberian subseries.  I hope to be joining their discussion next 
Spring when mine come up! I have seeds that Dave Niswonger brought to a 
local iris meeting a year ago which I am finally stratifying in the 
fridge now. I would rather take a chance on year-old seeds than not do 
the experiment at all.  Calvin Helsley, who grows Siberians for a 
living, suggested planting them outside the first of November.  I want 
to wait until the weather gets really cold, because I don't want them to 
sprout too early. I am not afraid of them freezing outside, since this 
seems to be where they would normally grow (not in a freezer).  I soaked 
them for awhile first before putting them in their moist potting soil.  
That was at the end of August, so they have been in the fridge for quite 

The Spuria crosses, also from Dave (he says one may be a pink!)-- I 
understand that Siberians like acid soil and Spurias like neutral, like 
the TBs.  I haven't soaked the Spuria seeds yet. They are quite a bit 
bigger, more like a pea in size.  The World of Irises, p.253,  says 
germination may be delayed a year if the seeds dry out, to plant in 
gritty soil, and that the seedling plants will be damaged under 20 
degrees F.  Guess I'd better get to soaking them, since it's almost the 
middle of October. Now to find some gritty soil.  Would it work to mix 
some very fine gravel with the dirt?  We have no sand as such, but some 
of our soil is sandier and some is more clayey. If I put each cross of 
Spuria and Siberian in its own pot and sink it in the ground over 
winter, and use a peaty potting mix, which we have, instead of our own 
soil, damping-off may not happen. 

BTW, the Siberian SPIRIT OF YORK which I got free from Calvin 9/15, has 
7 new shoots!  And it is just in an ordinary topsoil-compost mix which 
registers neutral on my PH meter.  I want to get some Miracid, but it's 
hard to find now at the end of the season.  Has anyone ever added a few 
drops of apple-cider vinegar to their water in a pinch? It sounds 
heretical, and it wouldn't add a lot of nutrients to the water, but it 
would acidify it. I've just been keeping my Siberian and Louisiana very, 
very wet!  The Louisiana has 12 new fans since May. It will surely bloom 
next year!! When it does I will let you help me i.d. it.

I hope no one is cringing to hear how I've treated these precious seeds 
from the President of the AIS.  I intend to carry out my experiment, 
even tho I may not get much germination, because to me, even one or two 
blooms 2 or 3 years from now will be a big thrill! I must be an iris 

Is anyone else doing this?  Can we start a discussion of sorts? I 
really, really want this to work.  It kills me when a plant dies (and I 
have had plenty die, but that's for another discussion!).  Any and all 
comments, suggestions and encouragement will be welcomed 
enthusiastically!        Wotta group!

Barb Johnson   ljohnson@cland.net   Southwest Missouri, on the border 
between Zones 5 and 6.  No frost yet!

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