En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - October 10, 2008

From: Wausau, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Propagation, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Planting iris rhizomes in Wisconsin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in central WI and was given some iris bulbs (think they are called Rhizomes) and have no idea how to go about planting them. I am very new to planting so step by step instructions with good details would be helpful (especially about fertilizer/mulch). Thanks!!!


We found a National Gardening Association website All About Iris that can probably give you better information than we can.We are assuming you have Iris germanica, or bearded iris. According to this USDA Plant Profile, it is not native to North America, but is certainly well-distributed, including to Wisconsin, as you can see from the USDA map. Strictly speaking, we ordinarily only deal with plants native to North America, but there are a number of irises that are native to North America, that also have rhizomes, and also grow in the same places. Plus, there has been so much hybridization of most of the irises that nativity would be almost impossible to determine. It is a very popular old garden flower and you should enjoy it.

There are instructions on how to put the rhizome in the ground in the referenced article, and they do recommend that you plant it as quickly after you get it as possible, so we would suggest you should do so right away. They are pretty tough, and forgiving of beginning gardeners, as we know from personal experience. One thing we would emphasize is no mulch. That rhizome needs some exposure to air, and will rot if it is completely covered. Organic compost in the ground, as it decomposes, will help keep the rhizome warm, but you don't want it to rot.


More Propagation Questions

Drought tolerant grass for small lawn from Woodbury TX
June 07, 2014 - Trying to establish small lawn area, needs to be drought tolerant, water wise. Have tried Turffalo with poor results. Recommendation please.
view the full question and answer

Pineapple plant care
November 05, 2005 - Hello, I have a new pineapple plant that is still very small 1-2 inches around the fruit at most. The fruit has recently turned a deep yellow as if it were ripe. I am wondering if it can be ripe at su...
view the full question and answer

Yucca sprouting shoots in Oxfordshire, England
July 11, 2010 - I have a 20ft outdoor yucca with four huge branches.It is 11 years old. For the first time it has sprouted two side shoots on one of the trunks. They are about 12 inches in length. What is the best wa...
view the full question and answer

Need advice for growing Texas Mountain Laurel from seed in Humble, TX
March 25, 2011 - We live in Humble, Texas 77396 and would like to grow some Texas Mountain Laurel trees from seed. I recently read that they may not grow well in this area because they prefer the Texas Hill country a...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of wax myrtle from Lafayette LA
December 10, 2012 - Hello, I have a good portion of Wax Myrtle Seeds. How do I get them Started for planting? Have been told to put several seeds in a Jar lid in a very damp paper-towel & leave them there till they ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center