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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.

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

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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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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.

 

 

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