Discussions and Q and A about growing irises forum: Fertilizing beardless in late summer and early fall

 
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ImagePollyK
Aug 6, 2010 2:43 PM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

It's time to fertilize those beardless irises!

A lot of people don't know this, but an iris sets it's flower buds for next year, after blooming. So, it would only make sense that the best time to fertilize is late summer and early fall, after they've bloomed.

Fertilizer in the spring is not going to get them to bloom that year. It may help grow bigger and healthier plants. But what you do after bloom show up in the next years flowers.

So keep those beardless fertilized and watered!

A lot of people think it's going to hurt a beardless iris to fertilize it before winter. Not so. The top foliage will die down anyway, so what difference does it make?

They are not like shrubs, where new top soft growth can be killed and hurt the shrub.

Because of the bearded iris rhizome being so close to the top of the ground, I would also not fertilize them late in the season.

But your sibs, and Japanese...... go for it! See next year how it works.
Imagenaomimade
Aug 15, 2010 9:38 PM CST
Name: Naomi DiVincenzo
Colorado Springs
zone 5b
What kind of fertilizer, Polly? Same kind as Bearded with high Phophates?
ImagePollyK
Aug 16, 2010 3:34 PM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

I just use the regular 10-10-10, and then Miracle Gro every two weeks.
Imagesharondippity
Aug 18, 2010 1:38 PM CST
Name: Jackie Anderson
Thackerville, OK
I found 9-25-30 at the farmer's co-op in 50 lb granulated bags for $17..Polly, that sounded good to me .......not too much nitro and plenty of p and p...whacha think?
ImagePollyK
Aug 18, 2010 5:19 PM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

Sounds good to me too, Sharon.

Honestly, I use anything I get that's reasonably priced.

I hate to push MiracleGro, but it really works wonders on my beardless.
ImageNewyorkrita
Aug 23, 2010 3:53 PM CST
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
I didn't see this until now. Is it too late now?
ImagePollyK
Aug 23, 2010 4:18 PM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

No, you can do it right up until the ground freezes. Beardless only. Not bearded that have their rhizomes so close to the soil level.
ImageNewyorkrita
Aug 23, 2010 4:28 PM CST
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
I think my one Japanese Iris fried and then died in the July heatwave when it was 103 here this year. It came up this spring just fine but its not there now.

So my beardless are the Siberians. At least they are doing well. I did much better with the ones I bought this year than last year as they didn't mostly die on me like last year. So I know not to fertilize new ones. But I will go out tomorrow with the organic granular fertilizer and do all of last years Sibs. They are looking good and growing great so maybe they will have more bloom next year.
ImagePollyK
Aug 23, 2010 5:00 PM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

Sounds good, Rita.
ImagePollyK
Aug 18, 2012 9:37 AM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

Once again, it's time to fertilize those beardless. We've had a long hot summer, and it's starting to cool down. That's when they put on lots of new growth, so give them some good food to do it with.
Imageirisloverdee
Aug 18, 2012 10:12 AM CST
Name: Dee Stewart
Willamette Valley OR
Snowpeak Iris
I will my regular Polly, what I do is just before the garden goes down for the year, trim them all almost to the ground, and take the cheapest steer manure and dump it to cover the entire plant in a little hill and I do this to rhubarb and then next year oh so lovely.

D
Denise Stewart
541-259-2343
Snowpeak http://snowpeakiris.com

ImagePollyK
Aug 18, 2012 6:13 PM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

I leave the leaves on to protect them over the winter here, and then clean the leaves off first thing in spring, but I do what you told me, and put composted cow manure over them. Sure works great. The beardless are so tough. Right now I'm putting a 10-10-10 on them, and lots of water up to late fall when I do the manure thing.
CindiKS
Aug 19, 2012 8:40 AM CST
Name: Cindi
Wichita Kansas
What should I do here about trimming the foliage? Our cold weather really doesn't set in until December. The ground may or may not freeze. We don't usually get snow cover because what little snow we get normally melts in a day or two. I say normally, but who knows what the new normal is. Blinking Confused
Most of the foliage right now looks pretty ratty, between what the grasshoppers have chewed and the drought and high temps.
I will do the basic 10-10-10 fertilizer this week and maybe some fish emulsion also. Then I'll add the bags of manure in October.
I have clumps that have not been divided in 4 years. Should I do that this year, even after all the stress they've gone through?
Imageirisarian
Aug 19, 2012 9:44 AM CST
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA
irises
Irises bloom on the increase so they need room to do so. If you have any really large clumps, I suggest dividing them.
ImagePollyK
Aug 19, 2012 9:51 AM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

I would suggest dividing, too, but in early spring. Believe me when they get to be large, it's a job.

If your foliage looks ratty, I say trim it. You might even get new if you fertilize it now. If you do get new foliage, even though it might look good, cut it back in early spring.

Everyone~~~always cut your old foliage off the beardless in early spring. Even though it might not look too bad, and you might not be having any problems with the beardless, the old foliage can harbor insects. Right Lucy? Versicolor, especially is known to do that.
Imageirisarian
Aug 21, 2012 8:13 AM CST
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA
irises
Marty & Jan have trained us to cut the foilage in Oct.
I have been lucky to catch sort of warm days in which to do it. Have been careless about fertilizing them. Will try & do better.
ImagePollyK
Aug 21, 2012 6:29 PM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

I just leave it for winter protection. But as long as you cut it off, that's good.

Well, get out there fertilizin', Miss Lucy.
Imagenaomimade
Aug 21, 2012 10:43 PM CST
Name: Naomi DiVincenzo
Colorado Springs
zone 5b
Dee. you cover your Sibs with Manure? When? Before or after the first freeze? Mine are still very green....
Polly, thanks for the reminder!
ImageShannon
Aug 12, 2013 6:59 PM CST
Name: Shannon
Burkeville,Va
Glad I found this I have never winter fed my Siberians.They are in pots healed into the garden til
next spring Can I still feed them?
ImagePollyK
Aug 13, 2013 7:22 AM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

Yes you can.

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