The Monterey Bay Iris Society is having its ANNUAL IRIS RHIZOME SALE on Saturday, August 8 at the Aptos Farmers Market (lower end of the parking structure) starting at 8 am. Arrive early for best selection.
This is your chance to get healthy iris rhizomes from the private gardens of the club’s members. This annual sale is well-known for its incredible selection of tall bearded iris. The rhizomes are $4.00 each, or 20 for $60.00. Expert iris growers will be on hand at the sale to help you with your selection and will have hand-outs about how to grow iris. Since we are rationing our water in the Santa Cruz area, iris are a good choice for our gardens because they are drought tolerant. They bloom in the spring and need very little, if any, water in the summer. Our area has almost perfect growing condition for iris. They are one of the easiest of garden plants to grow and will give great results with a minimum of care.
How to Plant Rhizomes
The best time to plant iris in our area is in August or September. They need well-drained soil and plenty of sun, at least 6 hours a day. Dig a shallow hole and at the bottom of the hole, put in a handful of bone meal or super phosphate and then put a handful of soil over the fertilizer. Place the rhizome on the soil (don’t put it directly on the fertilizer) and then add another handful of soil on top of the rhizome just barely covering it. The top of the rhizome should be almost at soil level. If your soil is sandy, you can mix in some compost and that will help keep in the moisture. Space the iris 2 to 3 feet apart. Soak the ground after planting and keep the newly planted iris moist until they have established new roots, about 4 weeks or until there are new leaves growing from the center.
Use a balanced fertilizer (for example 10-10-10 or 12-12-12) in early February and again in mid-March. In our area, iris bloom in April and May.
For Further Reading: Irises Can, and Should, Star in a Water-Smart Garden
Become a Member of the Monterey Bay Iris Society!
If you are interested in joining the Monterey Bay Iris Society, it meets the third Friday evening of the month and they welcome new members. For more information, call Brenda Wood at (831) 818.4515 or visit their website.