Q: WHEN CAN I ORDER FOR 2017???
A: Have at it! Sorry it took so long to get everything working, but we're good to go now.
Orders will close on August 15 to allow us time to properly close this nursery (before we're dodging snowflakes)!
Q: Will Louisiana irises grow where I live?
A: Hope so! Generally speaking, Louisiana irises are hardy in zones 5-9, and anecdotally into zone 4. We are in hardiness zone 5a, with good winter snow cover (white mulch), excellent soil, and abundant moisture. You can be in zone 7, with less optimal conditions (e.g. sandy soil), and have to work harder to keep them happy.
Q: How many rhizomes do I get for an order.
A: The quoted price is for one rhizome, but depending on the variety and growth habit of the particular variety, there may be increase (next year's plants) present.
Q: Quantity discounts? How's that work?
A: Quantity discounts are offered on selected varieties. You can tell them by the asterisk at the end of their name. Discounted varieties may be combined; you need not order all the same variety to receive the discount. Discounts are calculated at checkout, but apply as follows:
3-5 rhizomes receive a 10% discount
6-9 rhizomes receive a 15% discount
10-25 rhizomes receive a 20% discount
Q: Can I use a different payment method than PayPal
A: PayPal has been very reliable for us over the last five years. Please note, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE A PAYPAL ACCOUNT TO PAY BY CREDIT CARD. Although you will be prompted to register an account if you don't have one, it is possible to complete the payment without it. When you submit your order, you are directed to the PayPal site to complete payment.
We choose to absorb the charges associated with this payment method to provide an extra layer of security for your information. We cannot process credit payments directly.
If you prefer to pay by check, please Contact us directlyfor our mailing address, shipping costs, and applicable tax if ordering from NY state. You will place your order through the website, but it will not be processed until payment is received.
*Just so you know, we DID try to switch to direct credit card payment through our web host. Because there is such a length of time between order receipt and order shipping, the underwriters didn't like it. This is also why you get your irises so quickly if you order from a seller on Ebay. Ebay requires sellers to ship within five days. Guess what? If you live in New Jersey and order/receive irises in February... they're probably going to die! We ship your iris rhizomes at the best time plant.
Q: Is Louisiana Iris Gardens a certified nursery?
A: Yes, we are registered and certified as a plant grower by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and are inspected yearly to maintain that certification.
Q: When will I get my order?
A: First shipments go out in August, beginning with the lower USDA zones (4 & 5), and following up through to zone 9s by mid to late September. For the past several years this has worked out well. We will not ship in spring or early summer.
You may Contact us directly if you are in a cold microclimate (ex. high altitude zone 7) which might make earlier shipping beneficial and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
You should anticipate an email, usually sent early August, alerting you that we are beginning shipping preparations, and inquiring if there are any hindrances to your delivery schedule (planned vacations, for example). We would hate to have a box of rhizomes sitting on your front porch for a week!
Preparation for shipping
Many of you have asked how we prepare our rhizomes for shipment. The easiest way to explain the process is via the video below.
Q: What makes Louisiana Iris Gardens rhizomes look and perform differently than others out there?
A: This area of the country affords the irises excellent summer growing conditions, leading up to harvest and division. Once the irises break dormancy in mid-April, their growth is largely uninterrupted until the ground freezes, anywhere from November on, depending on the year. Summer average high temperatures average in the upper 70's to low 80's, with average lows in the upper 50's to low 60's. Summer rainfall averages 4-5 inches/month, which we augment with irrigation only during periods of prolonged dry spells. Add to this an extremely fortunate nursery placement on a glacial delta with 2-3 feet of teel-silt-loam, a good water table, and excellent soil fertility and you see some very happy iris rhizomes! Generally speaking, our rhizomes are more robust than those grown under hot, dry conditions where the plants often go through a semi-dormancy in deep summer. In fact, there are a number of varieties that are predisposed to a second bloom in late summer or early fall in our area. Some southern growers may find that their new rhizomes will bloom earlier in the season the first year after planting, due their condition at shipping time.
Q: How do I decide which iris to buy? What makes a "good" iris.
A: A "good" iris is largely a matter of personal preference, and partly the result of careful breeding and selection of irises for release by the hybridizers. A "good" iris is one that performs well in the home garden, exhibits pleasing color and form, and a host of other characteristics that determine garden performance. Hopefully, by the time you see an iris in a catalog, the iris will have had sufficient evaluation under a number of settings and conditions to guarantee that you'll be pleased with how it grows for you.
Registered judges from the American Iris Society view many irises and rate them based on a number of factors. You may see the results of this judging in the catalog with the notation Honorable Mention, Award of Merit, or High Commendation (reserved for unreleased seedlings). Additionally, you may see an iris noted as a Mary Swords DeBaillon Medal winner (the highest award available, specific to Louisiana Irises). Theoretically, an iris that has earned this medal should be an outstanding garden performer.
All that being said, there are many, many wonderful irises that will perform well for you. Get that iris that you find most appealing. We would be happy to make some suggestions, if you ask!
Q: Can I grow Louisiana Irises in a mixed border?
A: Short answer, yes. The 3 most important requirements of Louisiana Iris culture are full sun, adequate moisture, and fertile, well-conditioned soil. The adequate moisture component will determine whether or not your mixed border setting is appropriate. In combination with moisture tolerant perennials, such as Monarda, Echinacea, Hemerocallis, etc. Louisiana Irises will provide a pleasing addition to the bloom succession. Plants that tend to be more finicky about 'wet feet' such as tea roses, will not appreciate the company.
Q: Why aren't my Louisiana Irises blooming?
A: There are multiple possibilities, but the first consideration is adequate sunlight. In the northern latitudes, FULL sun is the rule. The further south in the country you are, the more tolerant your plants will be of some shade, perhaps even performing better with some protection.
Adequate water during active growth (while they are putting up bloom stalks) is necessary. Keeping the plants evenly moist will enhance your likelihood of bloom.
The third factor, soil fertility is determined by your fertilizing schedule. Louisiana Irises are heavy feeders. A full discussion of fertilizing schedules can be found in the 'Growing Tips' section of this website. If you have looked that section over in the past, you may note that we have changed our recommendation to use of a balanced fertilizer in spring, rather than a high phosphate formulation. Recent information suggests that overuse of high phosphate fertilizer is probably unnecessary and contributes to overgrowth of algae in the waterways.
Finally, if your plantings become overcrowded, your irises may express their displeasure with poor (or no) bloom. Plan to divide your irises at least every 3 years.
Q: Why do some irises cost so much?
A: During the first three years after introduction, the hybridizer receives compensation for the work involved in producing a distinctive addition to the group. At this time, that equates to prices of $50 the first year of introduction, $35 the second year, and $20 the third year following. At the end of the three year introductory period, prices are reduced to reflect supply and demand.
From the initial hybridization and successful germination of seed, a number of years of care and observation hopefully results in a promising specimen being released into commerce, rather than composted. Only a small percentage of crosses will make the cut. There may be as many as 50 - 100 different plants resulting from a single cross, and of those, only one may possess the qualities that warrant introduction. Sometimes all will be discarded, but only after a minimum of two to three years of care and evaluation. New introductory prices were held at the same level for 25-30 years, during which time costs of propagation materials and soil amendments rose significantly. While some nurseries have maintained new intro prices at the lower levels, we want to fairly compensate our hybridizers for their time and expense.