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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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Thursday - August 18, 2011

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Water Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Problems with non-native bi-color iris from Spring Branch TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Bi colored iris. I have four plants planted around our water feature last fall. Up until recently they all looked very healthy, yet not blooming. Several weeks ago I noticed that two of the plants were losing their leaves. Several clumps of dead and dying leaves are falling away. Any idea on what's going on what I need to do to stop any future loss? I grew this plant in Katy Texas for years and never had this problem. In fact I had to constantly prune back. Thanks.

ANSWER:

According to plantzafrica.com Dietes bicolor, bicolor iris, is native to South Africa, and therefore we have no information on it in our Native Plant Database. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which the plants grow natively.

It sounds like you recently moved from Katy to Spring Branch, but they are so close together that we can't see how the different soil could be a factor. Possibly the terrible heat and drought are affecting them, again, we don't know. From the University of Florida Extension we found this article on the management of Dietes bicolor.

Pictures from Google.

 

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