Monday, September 11, 2017

Update on transplanted Iris hartwegii australis

By Kathleen Sayer

Last spring I moved one clump of Iris hartwegii australis (IRHA) to a well insulated planter and placed that planter under the eaves near a hose bib. My intention was to mimic montane thunderstorms in southern California during summer, and in winter to give IRHA some shelter from heavy rain, mimicking snow cover. 
Iris hartwegii australis in flower in its native habitat, the Transverse Ranges of southern California, photo courtesy Richard Richards. 

Richard Richards said this was the wrong time of year to move IRHA, that I should wait for fall. But his words came too late, I had already dug the clump and replanted it. Read about those details here:  https://theamericanirissociety.blogspot.com/2017/05/overcoming-climatean-experiment-with.html from May 2017.

I fully expected to see this plant wither in June and die. Which I would have then reported at some point. A few leaves did die back at the tips, and later browned off. You can see those brown leaves in the image below. 

However, the plant did not die. Instead, new leaf fans started growing in late spring. Then, a couple of weeks ago, several newer fans appeared: 


Recently transplanted Iris hartwegii australis, not yet dead, a new large dark green leaf fan on the left, and tiny newer fans around it. 


Closer in, see three young fans on the left shoot, and one on the right. 

So, this experiment in growing IRHA in a planter is still underway, and has not yet terminated in failure. This IRHA appears to be thriving in its new home!

I grow this plant in a medium sized rectangular styrofoam cooler covered with epoxy cement patch, but have been unhappy with the durability of the epoxy, so am now making hypertufa planters (perlite:coir:cement in 3:1:1 ratio). These should be more durable, and provide a well-aerated cool root-space for Pacifica Iris and other native species that prefer cool roots. Details to follow in a later post. 

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