Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Taking care of Iris after they bloom


The iris blooms have been exceptional this spring. The Tall Bearded Iris and the Siberian Iris have done very well and now is the time to clean them up, feed them and get them healthy for summer and next year’s blooming season.
Start by snipping off any faded blooms that might be left. The best time to remove spent flower blossoms is right after they bloom, but this isn’t always possible, so do it now.
Cut the flower stem down to its base. The idea is to put all of the energy of the plant into building strong, healthy bulbs (called rhizomes) for next year’s blooms.
Fungal Leaf Spot was a problem this spring because of all the rain we had. If it’s really bad, cut the leaf off.

This is a good time to clean up any leaves, weeds or other debris that may have collected on the ground around the plant.
Treat the remaining leaves with Dusting Sulfur or wettable sulfur. Unless you need to move your Iris, wait until later in the season to divide them. You can dig and divide Iris from late August through September.
Do fertilize now with a low Nitrogen fertilizer such as Dutch Bulb food (7-8-5) or Steamed Bone Meal (3-15-0). Scatter some fertilizer around each rhizome and water in thoroughly.
If you prefer to use a liquid fertilizer, Age Old Bloom formula (5-10-5) can be applied to the soil using a watering can or sprayed on the leaves. Follow label directions for the right mix. The liquid fertilizers are easy to use and very effective.
Follow this up with a side dressing of Peat Moss and compost. Tall Bearded Iris is very adaptable and will do okay in most soils. They will thrive if you take the time to continuously improve the soil. All plants do better when you improve the soil they are growing in. It’s important to add organic material such as peat moss, compost, coconut coir to your perennial beds, at least once a year.
Another tip to keep them looking good all summer is to give them a dose of Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate). Mix according to directions and water or spray your Iris. This will improve leaf color and plant vigor. Doing these things now will prepare your iris for next year’s bloom season.


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