En Español

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

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

QUESTION:

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!!!

ANSWER:

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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Horsetail Rush invasive in Santa Monica CA
January 16, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants: I live about 3 miles from the beach in the Santa Monica area and have an 18inch deep planter area in my backyard that is adjacent to my garage. I like the look of horsetail rush. I...
view the full question and answer

What are the Native Dianthus?
October 03, 2015 - What species of Dianthus is native to North America?
view the full question and answer

Patience pays off with chile pequin in Austin
September 24, 2011 - Hello. Re my June 08, 2011 message -- Guess what! The chile pequin is finally flowering and setting fruit in its container on my apartment patio. You said patience, you were right, and hooray once aga...
view the full question and answer

Identification of pale blue flower near Big Bend, TX
March 14, 2013 - I have looked almost everywhere in order to ID this bloom with no luck. Some blooms do arrive close but not quite. I live just outside of Big Bend National Park in Terlingua, TX. On a hike into Dog Ca...
view the full question and answer

Nativity of Bidens frondosa from Portland OR
September 16, 2012 - Is Bidens frondosa (Beggar's Tick) native to North America or is it introduced? If introduced, is it considered invasive?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center