Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 22, 2008

From: pahrump, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Pruning, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Browning of leaf tops on Iris plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My Iris plants bloomed beautifully, now some of the leaves are turning brown from the top down, about half way. Is this normal? What can I do about it and should I cut off the brown leaves? Also, what causes this?

ANSWER:

Irises are very tough and, unless you have borers in the rhizomes, it is okay for them to have some brown leaf tips. We always liked to trim them off below the browning with a sharp scissors or pruner, and at a diagonal. No particular reason, it just seemed more attractive that way. You need to leave as much healthy leaf as you can, as the leaves are the manufacturing facilities building up the root systems of the iris and preparing the rhizomes to expand and give you more blooms next year. In the Fall, you can trim off all the leaves the same way, in a fan, about 4 to 5 inches above the root system. Clean out any dead litter around the rhizomes to help prevent disease or mold. See this page of Images of iris care. Some of the images can be clicked on for more information.

 

More Pruning Questions

Clipping of beans from newly planted Tecoma stans
April 22, 2008 - I purchased a Esperanza Plant in a pot from a nursery in April of 2008. We planted it and it is doing fine, but came with blooms and beans. Do I need to do clip or prune the beans at this stage of g...
view the full question and answer

Is Liatris spicata through blooming from Norman OK
July 26, 2011 - We have a Liatris spicata, I thought it was done blooming (dried tops), so I cut them off. Will it come back and bloom again? What can I do?
view the full question and answer

Passiflora and Leucophyllum together in Texas
April 23, 2015 - I've got a Passiflora incarnata that has self-propagated around a cenizo sage. My question is, will the passionflower vine choke out or otherwise damage the cenizo? Do I need to cut back the vine? ...
view the full question and answer

Sprouts at base of holly in Surprise AZ
November 15, 2010 - Friends have recently planted a holly tree in their front yard. They live in AZ and there is no grass (only rock) around their tree. It was planted as a fairly large tree (about 18 feet).My question i...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on pruning Clematis
August 26, 2005 - I would like to know about pruning clematis. The one I have is getting very large. Should I cut it back, and if so, in the Spring or Fall? I live in Michigan. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.