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Re: CULT:Iris Growing in SFV

Marylou G. Gibson wrote:
> I am especially interested in this issue.  I am in southern coastal
> California and have  I have lots of healthy green growth on my many clumps
> of TB but poor  or no bloom. These were transplanted from Seattle in 1995.
> Winter temps in + 40s F.  They are fed several times during the spring and
> summer with Miracle grow.  They are automatically watered 3xweek and
> probably never  totally dry out. Please give us some  help.

Hi Marylou (and possibly Ida too),

Well I am going to throw an idea out there and see if anyone else more
knowledgable than I (there are lots of them) has some additional ideas
or counterpoint. 

TB's tend to need a certain amount of "winter chill" to produce good
blooms. It is probably because of the heritage of some of the species in
their background (Sharon McA - some help here?) Not all TBs suffer the
same fate, not all require the same amount of chill. It is a similar
problem to trying to grow eastern liliacs in warm winter climes. In my
area I get 10 - 12 nights  between 28 and 32 degrees F. 

Nothing that I have seen has provided any specifics as to number of
hours below a certain temperature that might be required. If you feel
adventerous you might attempt to create a cold environment for a couple
of your TBs this winter. Pile ice around them and cover them with
something like a space blanet to keep as much of the sun and warm air
off the ground around them and see if you get improved bloom.

Since you were a successful grower in Seattle, I am assuming that you
are doing all the right basic things. I am also assuming that your soil
is ok. Anything with a PH of 7.2 to 6.0 should be ok, 7.0 - 6.8 is about
the best. I might have a concern about the salt levels in La Jolla
(prounounced La Hoy-yah for you easterners...). For Ida the clay should
be ok but always benefits from organic matter and gypsum additives.

Lots of guessing going on here. More specific information about your
environment would be a help.  

Steve or Sharlyn, you there? Any comments? Anybody else from San Diego
area? How about the southern states? TBs don't do well in Fla. Is it the
heat/humidity/rot or lack of winter chill?

John                     | "There be dragons here"
                         |  Annotation used by ancient cartographers
                         |  to indicate the edge of the known world.

John Jones, jijones@ix.netcom.com
Fremont CA, USDA zone 8/9 (coastal, bay) 
Max high 95F/35C, Min Low 28F/-2C average 10 days each
Heavy clay base for my raised beds.

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