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

Dead leaves on yucca in Georgetown TX
October 18, 2010 - We have 2 6ft and 3 smaller soft leaf yuccas out back in a kidney shaped area with a wax myrtle and a mountain laurel. The yuccas have done great but now two of them have a large number of dead leaves...
view the full question and answer

Tidying up Copper Canyon Daisies in San Antonio
March 30, 2010 - We have a small bed with 4 copper canyon daisies. We cut them back in the fall but have not pruned them during growing season; as a result they become a big tangle by September. Should they be pruned ...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in my Nuttall Oak tree in Moore, OK.
July 23, 2009 - I had a Nutall oak tree planted; it is 5 inches in diameter and about 24 feet tall. It was planted in March of this year, leafed out ok; now since June 20th I have had a large quantity of the leaves t...
view the full question and answer

Trimming American beautyberry in Austin
December 20, 2009 - I have recently developed an interest in plants and since I work for a country club taking care of all the House & Grounds Maintenance, the landscaping is certainly a part of my work. I have a questi...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Fan Scarlet-Cardinal
September 02, 2005 - I have a lobelia x speciosa (Fan Scarlet-Cardinal) plant and was wondering if I should dead head it after blossoming so that the plant continues to flower. Can you help? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

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