Irises Not Going Dormant

February 24th, 2006

In the picture to the right you should see my iris patch. Irises are perennials that grow from rhizomes. They’re very common, I’m sure you know what they look like.

In general irises go completely dormant in the winter, that means that their leaves die back all the way to the ground, and then in late March or April they start peaking up like tulips.

Obviously you can tell by the green foliage that my irises have not gone dormant. Sure, they have been abused by the snow and cold weather, but dormant they are not.

The problem with this is that some plants, like irises, need dormancy to rest or they do not bloom or do not bloom as heavily. So really I do not want them to continue growing through the winter like this.

The reason, I’m sure, for my problem is that I planted the irises too deeply. You see iris rhizomes like to lay so that their tops are actually exposed above the soil line. I knew this, and I planted them deeper than that? Why….. squirrels. Without fail when I would plant them as they should be planted the squirrels would dig them up before they had a chance to really take root and drag them off. I didn’t know I’d have this dormancy problem.

So, I’m not sure what to do. I think I’ll go out and give them all a haircut and see if that helps, otherwise I’ll just pray they bloom this spring and if not I may need to dig them all up and plant them again, this time with some sort of obstruction over them so the squirrels can’t get at them.

2 Responses to “Irises Not Going Dormant”

  1. Kathy  Says:

    I think it’s more because of the weird winter than because you planted them too deep. I would wait till about when the crocuses are blooming to give them that haircut, and try to brush the dirt off the tops of the rhizomes at that time as well. You’ll probably still get enough cold before spring really settles in to count as “winter” for them. If you just planted them last year it’s going to take a year for them to really hit their blooming stride, anyway.

  2. Administrator  Says:

    Thats the thing though, most were planted 2 years ago (really transplanted, already mature plants) and most didn’t bloom last year.

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