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Old 10-05-2018, 12:32 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
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What's the best way to store iris rhizomes over the winter?

My iris collection will be moved from Oregon to Idaho sometime between Christmas and new years. Weather will be freezing in Oregon and freezing in Idaho. The rhizomes would be fine left in the ground, but I'm pulling them up. I suspect that the best thing for them would be to store them and plant in the spring
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...
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We store ours in a paper bag in a cool dry place like under the kitchen sink/cabinets.
Here's some good info to read. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/orn...s-rhizomes.htm
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Old 10-06-2018, 02:19 PM
 
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You want to thoroughly dry them before storing or wrapping them. Your enemies are mold/fungus, heat and rodents. When I pull bulbs and rhizomes, I spread them out until all foliage has dried out, then trim those last bits back (not too agressively though), wrap in newspaper and store in a "crate" in the basement - cool but not too cool.

This approach works well with most any bulb/rhizome, including caladium.
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Old 10-07-2018, 01:06 PM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonwoodsmoke View Post
What's the best way to store iris rhizomes over the winter?

My iris collection will be moved from Oregon to Idaho sometime between Christmas and new years. Weather will be freezing in Oregon and freezing in Idaho. The rhizomes would be fine left in the ground, but I'm pulling them up. I suspect that the best thing for them would be to store them and plant in the spring

I understand you might be constrained to a certain time frame within which to take them out of the ground, but the middle of winter during freezing temperatures is the absolute worst time of all to pull iris rhizomes from the ground. I sure wouldn't attempt it. If you have the option of taking them out now and curing them for winter storage, or alternatively taking them out after winter and transplanting them immediately, you should consider those as better options.

If you have no choice except for immediately after Christmas then here is what to expect - if the weather will be freezing at the time you plan to pull them up be prepared to have difficulties with getting them to cooperate and release themselves to you. Just because they are dormant (not growing) does not mean they are not being active and responsive within themselves in winter. Getting them out of the cold ground without breaking and bruising them could be a challenge because of the way the rhizomes cling to each other and contract into themselves and deeper into the ground in freezing winter temperatures. They will mightily resist your efforts to take them from the ground and away from each other more than they would at any other time of the year. You will need to be patient and dig deep beneath them to loosen them out of the ground and will likely need to take them out enclosed within very big clumps of soil.

Additionally taking them from the already cold ground in the middle of winter means they will already be very cold too and they likely will not dry and cure properly for above ground winter storage after you remove all the soil from them because they are very cold. They will have to suddenly adjust to temps different from the ground temperatures you took them from and may therefore go into shock and start to soften and bruise too easily. You will need to spread them all out to cure on a flat surface in a cold room with plenty of air circulation and after they're cured (which may take several days) you'll need to dust each dried rhizome thoroughly with anti-fungal powder and wrap each rhizome individually in newspaper for storage in a cold place for the remainder of winter. Check each paper wrapped rhizome once a week thereafter to ensure no rot or fungal infection is happening. If there is, immediately remove the effected rhizomes.

Good luck.


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Last edited by Zoisite; 10-07-2018 at 01:15 PM..
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
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Sawdust is great for storing them in, too.
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