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
1 rating

Saturday - May 30, 2009

From: Stroudsburg, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Moving non-native Iris Germanica in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am moving from Northeast Pennsylvania to North Carolina this fall or winter. I was told it was possible to save some of my bearded Iris plants by digging them after they bloom and allowing them to go dormant. Can I do this? How do I store them - I am expecting I could plant them in early spring. Thank you so much.


Iris germanica, Bearded Iris, is widely cultivated but is probably native to the Eastern Meditteranean. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the use and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. Since the bearded iris falls out of our range of expertise, we have found a couple very good websites that should be able to help you make your decision.

Bearded Iris for the Home Landscape, a North Carolina State University Horticulture Information Leaflets by Erv Evans has some general information. If you pot the rhizomes up in pots when you get to North Carolina and keep them in a cool place, you should be able to replant them in the early Spring.

This Questions on Iris by Ron Smith, Horticulturist, NDSU Extension Service goes into even more detail, and also has a link to another website with Iris information.

For the final word, this AllExperts website Bulbs-Saving Iris Rhizomes, Expert Kenneth Joergensen suggests digging them, cleaning them up, make sure they are dry and putting in brown paper bags and storing in the refrigerator.

So, you have your choice of ways to do it, and can select what works best for your schedule. We would advise you to have them out of the ground for the shortest possible time, but in Pennsylvania you will, of course, have to dig them before the ground freezes.



More Non-Natives Questions

Nativity of various bulbs
October 15, 2014 - Are the following bulbs native? Chionodoxa forbesii Camassia leichflinii Crocus Sprint tommasinianus Barr's Purple Hyacinthoides hispanica Narcissus 'Actea' Scilla siberica 'Spring Beauty' ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native mimosa failing to bloom in Leitchfield KY
October 29, 2011 - I have a medium size mimosa tree here in KY that usually blooms beautifully; it did not bloom at all this year. It leafed out well, needs a few dead limbs pruned, but seems otherwise healthy. Please t...
view the full question and answer

Are non-natives, Dappled willow and Kousa dogwood, toxic to horses?
May 27, 2009 - Are dappled willow trees/bushes or kousa dogwood trees toxic to horses?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of poinsettias in water from Houston
September 06, 2013 - Pointsettias - we have a broken branch that is thriving in a jar of water with new leaves and additional small branches. When we plant the stem in dirt and even a muck, the growth starts to wither. ...
view the full question and answer

Will Mountain Laurels be harmed by juglones from my pecan tree?
May 06, 2009 - Hi. I just bought a house. It has a big pecan tree at the edge of the front lawn next to the street. I guess it's about 25 feet from the front of the house. I was thinking of planting mountain la...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center