Solving the Spider Mite Problem

Iris PlantsEvery single day, you gaze fondly at the ravishing flowers, smile at the flocks of butterflies hovering about them, take note of the colorful hummingbird that drops by in the morning, and fail to notice the tiny eight legged critters that have invaded your beloved irises! Scary, isn’t it? But it’s all too probable, more so, given the captivating beauty of iris flowers and the miniscule, near invisible form of Spider mites. Spider mites are amongst the most common and the most devastating of all iris pests. The good news is- they’re still controllable!

Spider mites belong to the Acari or mite family and are closely related to spiders. Less than a millimeter in size, these critters feed by puncturing plant cells and are known to target several hundred different plant species! The protective silken webs they spin on the underside of plants’ leaves together with yellowing of foliage are tell-tale signs of a spider mite infestation. Regular monitoring of iris plants is one of the best precautions against all forms of plant diseases and infestations. Another thing- whenever suspicious, act swiftly! Simply hold a piece of white paper under the leaves and tap them sharply. If your irises have spider mites, they’ll fall off the leaves and will be visible as small, mobile dots on the paper.

Spider mites thrive in dry, humid conditions and are known to target weak, unhealthy plants. Just make sure you feed and irrigate your plants properly and there’s little chance you’ll have to tackle the mites! A moderately strong jet of water is the simplest way of knocking off spider mites. In case of sever infestation, treat your iris plants with a standard miticide.

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The Right Time and Conditions for Planting Irises

IrisesIris. The name conjures images of gorgeous flowers blooming in every color fathomable! Your garden might be filled with the rarest or the most prized botanical entities… without irises, however, it’s simply incomplete. Invaluable for landscaping and ornamentation, irises also make beautiful cut flowers and are a great idea for gifts. Iris plants are one the easiest to cultivate of all plant species. That being said, I know a lot of people who are either unaware or unsure of the ideal conditions and timing for planting irises. Well, it’s a new year, lets’ make a new start and clear out them doubts!

First, the growing conditions that iris plants require. Full sun is the iris’s best friend. Iris flowers have been seen flourishing in soil types ranging from slightly acidic to heavy clays, all they really need is well draining soil. Organic materials like peat moss or rotten manure can be added to enrich the soil in case it isn’t very fertile.

As in all aspects of life, timing plays a decisive role when it comes to planting iris. Fall is undoubtedly the most favorable time for planting as it gives the young plants ample time to establish. Plant the bulbs 2-3 inches deep, with the top portion partially exposed to the light. Allow a gap of 15-25 inches between adjacent bulbs to avoid overcrowding when the plants grow up. Regular watering will take care of their moisture requirement. Standing water is harmful to the plants so water just enough to keep the roots moist.

The spring that follows will turn a new leaf for your garden, rendering it more attractive than ever. The fabulous, flamboyant iris blooms promise to make your garden a place with spectacular beauty. Sounds exciting? Go for it!

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Say Hello to Reblooming Irises!

IrisesWhile all good things end, some make a comeback! Reblooming irises follow this rule to the hilt, beautifying gardens and gladdening hearts in the process. These amazing hybrids are very endearing, significantly hardier and bloom magnificently in spring and then again in late summer or fall. The exquisite range of flower colors makes growing reblooming irises all the more exciting. Reblooming irises are famed prolific bloomers, a wonderful option for every form of garden design.

Reblooming irises mainly comprise of tall, bearded iris varieties, with some beardless, standard and miniature bearded varieties. The rebloomers can be classified as under.

Cycle Rebloomers

Iris varieties that produce once during the spring, remain low in the summer season before growing afresh and reblooming in fall.

Repeaters

Beardless iris varieties that produce fresh blooms only a little after the spring produce has faded, thus, extending the blooming period by a couple of months.

All Season Bloomers

Iris varieties characterized by their irregular blooming pattern. All season bloomers produce at different times, right through the season.

Bulbs of reblooming iris plants should ideally be planted in fall, in sunny locations that offer fertile, well draining soil. The plants have a high growth rate and are virtually problem free. They do, however, require regular irrigation and spring time fertilization for their prosperity.

History of Reblooming Irises

Iris derives its name from the Greek word for rainbow. Traditional iris flowers have always found favor with both gardening enthusiasts and nature lovers. Their ravishing beauty notwithstanding, the irises are susceptible to several problems that, at one point of time, began affecting their popularity. This prompted hybridizers to look for hardier varieties of iris plants. Decades of cross breeding finally led to the recent breakthrough that the world’s come to know as the reblooming iris. With the advent of rebloomers, the popularity of irises has grown manifold. New varieties like Best Bet Reblooming Iris, Pass The Wine Reblooming Iris in Pink and Pink & Purple Reblooming German Iris Trio are all exciting candidates for spring and fall garden.

Growing reblooming irises is a wonderful experience, highly recommended to all!

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Selecting the Right Iris for Your Garden

Iris PlantsEvery so often, just as the idea of planting something new gets into their heads, people dive into the cyberspace or rocket out to the nearest nursery to make the purchase. Sure, life’s short and we must try to get to what makes us happy A.S.A.P. But what if a little planning can increase that joy manifold, wouldn’t it be worthwhile? That’s exactly how it goes with growing Irises.

The very first thing is to decide the location you’re going to cover with the iris. Iris plants thrive on full sun and can be grown both outdoors and in pots with equal ease. Irises are ideal border plants, can add delightful colors to the drab spots and are great to have in rock gardens.

Next, select the species of iris to grow. Different types of iris vary in terms of their height, foliage and bloom size and time of blooming. Depending upon the background and the landscape, zero in on the ones that will suit the requirements.

When selecting the color, keep in mind the texture of the grass and surrounding plantation. If you’re planning on a mix of colors in a group, I’d suggest you avoid shades too bright or too dark in the same grouping as light pastels. Dominant colors like yellow and red look good when paired together. My advice, always look at the larger picture and select colors that blend in well within the big portrait that is your garden.

Catalogs and photographs do give you an idea of the way the plants look but there’s nothing like the real thing. I’d recommend a visit to local iris gardens to catch the plants in their growth habitat and get a feel of the subtle differences and varied characteristics of different species. Give planning a break and let your eyes take in the astonishing beauty. Then, go home and order your irises!

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Iris Diseases- Iris Rust

Iris PlantsDiscolored leaves with powdery, rust colored spores- clear indicators that your beloved Iris plants are under attack! The enemy- a parasitic fungus that finds pleasure in systematically destroying irises. But how do you fight a nemesis embodied by over a million microscopic spores? By understanding its nefarious nature, learning how to take guard and fight back. Iris rust spreads through fungal spores that overwinter on iris leaves and become active in spring. The spores are carried by air currents and water splashed on the leaves. Appearance of yellowed or brown colored leaves is the most common symptom of iris rust. The pustules give rise to rust colored spots that give the disease its foul name.

Fungal spores relish moist, humid conditions. Prevention of iris rust therefore revolves around eliminating these conditions. Avoid overhead irrigation. Also, make sure not to irrigate irises late in the evening. Sanitation is the sworn nemesis of all forms of diseases. Keep the garden clean, regularly removing spent leaves and debris.

Monitor your plants on a regular basis. This will facilitate early detection of diseases, giving you the opportunity to act before it’s too late. Once you’ve noticed the infection, don’t lose time. Immediately cut off the infested foliage and dispose of. Make sure to sterilize the tools after use. Treat the plants with standard fungicides.

Iris rust might be one of the most dangerous iris plant diseases, it’s by no means unstoppable. A little caution and timely action will help  keep your plants healthy and beautiful!

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