Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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 Propagation Questions

How close to a male tree will a new female persimmon need to be planted to ensure pollination in Austin, TX?
June 17, 2009 - I have a male Texas Persimmon in the back corner of my yard. I would like to plant a female Texas Persimmon in the front yard, more than 100 feet away? How far away do you think they should be place...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Mexican bonebract in Floresville, TX
November 12, 2008 - My kids and I finally identified a small plant that we found growing in our pasture. There was only one and it is lovely. It is the Mexican Bonebract. What I am interested in finding out is how to tra...
view the full question and answer

Rooting hybrid Savannah Holly from cuttings from Gainesville FL
March 04, 2011 - I need instructions on rooting the Savannah Holly from cuttings. I understand that seedlings will not be true to the parent..is this true? Please help. What type of soil mix should I use?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting bamboo
July 29, 2008 - To transplant bamboo from one place to another, do you dig the plant up or do you get a cutting, put it in water and then root the plant?
view the full question and answer

Restoring and propagating rhododendrons
October 18, 2006 - I have 70+ year old native rhododendrons (16+ feet high) in my backyard. After all these years they are beginning to get dammaged by snow load and ice. Therefore I have 2 quesitons concerning these b...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.