Growing wild blue marsh Iris.

braeburn040(2B/3 BC)March 27, 2013

I know these Iris propagate naturally by rhisoms but mine also have seeds , which I've never had luck sprouting. Has anyone had luck with these?

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I'm not sure which iris you mean by blue marsh, but with many iris, periods (in order) of moist warmth, followed by moist chill, then brought to warmer but still cool can be helpful. With those hard seed coats, you may want to lightly file or nick seed before sowing too.

What I normally do with iris in my milder climate is sow in Fall and leave the pots outdoors, let mother nature take care of the range of fluctuating temps and haven't had to nick for germination.

Iris in general (many):sow moist 64-71F for 2-4 weeks, move to 35-40F for 4-6 weeks, move to 45-55F for germination .

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 4:15PM
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braeburn040(2B/3 BC)

To Morz8
These iris grow wild in the Muskoka district of Ontario,
I don't know their proper name, I started them when a friend brought me some rhisomes 30 odd years ago and have them planted in swampy areas and they survive here in The Cariboo B.C. I figured I could get a bigger crop if I could get the seeds going.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 11:05PM
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Don't give up on the seeds too soon. A little birdie left me a seed of an Oregon wild iris, long ago. It took several years before it bloomed and I needed to start deciding what exactly I had growing here. It produces a cluster of orange seeds from each flower. Each orange mini pod is about the size of a cranberry, with the actual seed safely stored inside. The pods stay fresh and plump till winter. Look the same come spring and the following years, just slightly less plump as time passes.

Over the years I've experimented with starting some of the seeds, but they never seemed to do anything. So sometime in summer or fall, I tossed them. Then finally I decided to test and see if maybe they would sprout later. That was apparently the trick.

This spring I have my first sprouts, and they seem to be growing fairly fast. This batch I left on top of the soil, as mother nature seems to do. I let the few fall leaves that ended up on them stay over winter, but pulled them back to keep an eye on things and not loose track of the fact that they were there. This spring is the third spring since they were placed on the top of the soil in that pot ! ( they had stayed on the mother plant over the first winter)

Now that I'm looking for a site to show you which plant I'm talking about.. it says right there it may take up to three years to establish. Never though they may have meant three years to germinate. LOL

Edit to add: I kept that pot on the north side of the house, where it's somewhat protected from the worst heat of the summer and the coldest wind and ice of the winter. The pot sat next to where I go past with the hose daily in the summer, with a couple other pots with tiny baby native fern starts. I did make sure they didn't dry to dust whenever it got hot here, but never protected them from actually drying out. It's a 4 inch painted clay pot, so it was not as protected as if in the ground. Which means they can take abuse up to a point I assume.
The soil is just a mix of whatever old potting soil was close and some mushroom compost /yard debri compost mix. My working theory there was maybe they needed soil germs to hatch. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Oregon Iris

This post was edited by plaidbird on Thu, Mar 28, 13 at 6:26

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 5:41AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Braeburn, your seeds should germinate when you have access to fresh. Are you waiting until the pods begin to look dry and begin to spit open at the top to harvest them? If you've been sowing indoors, try taking your seeds when fresh, put them in a small zip lock with a teaspoon or two of moist sterile sand or moist sterile vermiculite, date it and leave it on your desk for a month. Then put the zip lock into your refrigerator (not freezer) and leave it for another 6 weeks. After that you can sow the contents of the bag, vermiculite and all, and place in a cool room. That cooler room, 50ish, is difficult for me, I don't have a space in this house that temperature so in my mild 8b climate I place outdoors. Don't skimp or shorten up on the warm, cold, cool periods or change the order in which you provide the temps or you could find yourself starting over.

In the wild, these would fall to the ground in Fall/Autumn, remain moist in the ground over Winter, and germinate as temps begin to warm in Spring. You would be mimicking that sequence.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:08AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I should have added, your iris is likely i. versicolor...

Here is a link that might be useful: Ontario wildflowers

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:12AM
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braeburn040(2B/3 BC)

Thanks for the link that is exactly our iris! I searched my computer for pictures(I've taken lots showing large clumps) couldn't find them. I tried simulating the process before, ie first froze seeds in an icecube,then let them thaw then planted in peat(moist) and left them to sprout but they never did. I will try your process next. The pods still have seeds in them from last year, they havebeen out in our zone three winter so I'll try some of them.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:38AM
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braeburn040(2B/3 BC)

Thankyou for your post and your experience with growing the oregon Iris I think they must be very close, although from a warmer climate. Many years ago a lady gave me a yellow iris she found growing in her compost, I don't know if it started from seed or a small piece of root that some how ended up there. She told me it was a "ditch iris " that she'd seen growing in ditches in the Frazer Valley B.C. It looks like the oregon iris, although it may have been a Siberian type. Unfortunatly it didn't make the winter, and I think it must have been for a warmer zone.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:47AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Most seeds don't require actual freezing to break the dormancy in the seed, in fact, freezing slows the process down and delays it until conditions are not quite so cold. Thus, the refrigerator suggestion rather than freezer, a temperature of 35-40 is cold enough.

Another issue with freezer that can be a problem for some seeds is the drop in temperature from plunging them into the freezer is so abrupt, rather than gradual over several hours as would be found with fluctuating temps outside, the embryo in a moist seed can actually shatter and is killed - and then of course it won't germinate.

With iris, that initial warm moist period can be important and may be why you didn't find germination when you began with cold...You want to copy mother nature, warm, cold, cool and all while moist. I ordered Iris chrysographes seeds several years ago and put those sown from the package outside in winter, and had germination 15 months later - only after they had been exposed to the warm moist, cold moist, cool moist order of conditions - they did nothing starting with the cold moist, no germination that first Spring.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 4:21PM
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braeburn040(2B/3 BC)

Thanks for the tip. I'll try and put it to practice. Because I'll have to wait til fall for fresh seed, I collected some from the pods standing in the snow, and I'll try with those. Nothing to lose but time and in my case time is cheap!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Whoa ! Iris chrysographes is amazing Morz8 ! You sent me looking at places to buy the seed. I see different varieties. Any recommendation ? It seems odd that with only the variety being different, I'm finding some that say will live in bog conditions and others that say don't let them get too wet. I'm so confused.

And thanks so much for all the info. Now that I know these Oregon Irises will germinate, I have saved some more and hope to improve the time frame. Not that I really need more plants but now after all my fussing, this has become a little project.

But then too I didn't know one could buy water lilies as seeds. Oh, oh..more little projects. It's been a long time since I've done much seed starting, so all your help is very appreciated.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 1:31AM
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Me too. :)

As I keep reading I'm thinking since I have a limitless supply of the seeds, this time I want to figure out many ways they are started and try them all. Hoping to keep good notes. There's got to be a better way ya know.

If I hadn't started these myself and experienced the three year wait, I wouldn't have believed it, but the tag with the date in the pot is still legible enough. Here in the PNW I would have expected anything like this to have rotted and become one with the soil , not hung out and germinated so late. Crazy !

So good luck to both of us. :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 1:41AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

plaidbird, my seeds were from Chilterns. All were the deep black/violet undertones when they bloomed, no reddish shades and none veined - very pretty. They were fine in average garden soil which for me, here on the coast, means overly wet all winter and dry in Aug and Sept.

The plants are at a house I'm about to list for sale, plan to go this weekend and dig them up, move them several blocks here to my new garden :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Chiltern Seeds

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 11:13AM
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Thank you Morz,

I wandered off to your link last night and that started a whole " Oh, that looks fun " fantasy planing. Just wanted to remember to say thanks this morning and wish you a fun day today moving your garden. Looks like you and I both have perfect weather and a weekend to make great garden progress. :)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 3:16PM
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The funniest thing happened at the potting bench today. As I was doing things like getting these baby Oregon Irises into pots to grow on, I found a couple more starts..but not in the original pot I've been saving all this time. Apparently I either dropped a few of these seeds nearby, or maybe another years seeds ( normally saved in the same location ) got in the 'to be used soil' mix ( my soil mixes are in 33 gal garbage cans), or ? No idea what happened or what vintage the newly found starts are, but they are smaller and just germinated in the last day or so.

The original ones I told you about are now spread out into little pots, and the interesting thing is how long the roots are. They were all about 6 inches long, with the shoots of the plants varying from maybe 1/2 " to 6 ". Bright white, strong, and looking like they want to be in a damp environment. Interesting since the mother plant is in well drained, moist but sometimes dry soil. And each and everyone of the new babies is holding on strongly to it's seed. Shoot, seed, root.. like they each are holding a little purse. :) The seeds never budged as I split the plants apart and fussed with things.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 9:50PM
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Plus, I found this is my old bookmarks, that' I'd forgotten about, and not looked up irises before.How did I miss this ? It's very specific for temps etc.

Iris barbata, bucharica, bulleyana, chamaeiris, chrysographes, foetidissima, forrestii, graminea, hollandica, illyrica, kamaonensis, kaempferi, lactea, laevigata, magnifica, missouriensis, orientalis, paradoxa, pseudacorus, pseudocaucasica, pumila, reichenbachii, sanguinea, sari, setosa, sibirica, sintenisii, spuria, tectorum, tenax, variegata, versicolor, virginica, and xiphioides ,

Impervious seed coats. Shake in dry sharp sand or nick carefully with a file. Sow at 18-22úC (64-71úF) for 2-4 wks, move to -4 to +4úC (24-39úF) for 4-6 wks, move to 5-12úC (41-53úF) for germination

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 9:55PM
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