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Tall bearded iris - where did I go wrong?

18 years ago

I planted an iris border in October and November. The rhizomes came from a variety of sources. Some came from the garden center, some from Ebay and others from trades. The ones from my local garden center are the ones I'm worried about. When I planted them, they looked dried out, with no green foliage; all iris rhizomes looked that way in the bulb bins, so I figured that's what they were supposed to look like when I selected them. Today, they still look brown and dead.

In contrast, my ebay and trade irises arrived with 1-2" green growth peeking out at the crown and they seem to be growing just fine in the same bed.

My soil is heavy. In preparing the border, I tilled in 2 parts EarthGro garden soil and 1 part EarthGro soil conditioner with redwood compost for every 1 part of dirt. I planted each rhizome with the tops no more than an inch below the soil line as per instructions.

The watering has been about once every 3-4 days. I do believe I let the beds dry out completely a few times during a couple hot spells.

Did I do something wrong with the brown ones? Did I buy dead rhizomes? Did I not water enough? Was the redwood compost a bad idea? (I usually use it to break up my clay soils). Are the store-bought ones just a lot more dormant, needing more time to reawaken than the others? Did they need pre-treatment or soaking of some sort? Are they goners?

Please help once again! You guys are the best.


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