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Plants in the Alpine House or Cold Frame: Juno Irises

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Started by: Ron Mudd

They bring a smile to my face with early colour

Go to latest contribution by Ron Mudd, 14 March 2012, 08:58. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Ron Mudd 22 February 2010, 17:07top / bottom of page
Iris rosenbachiana 'Deep Purple'

Contribution from David Nicholson 22 February 2010, 18:57top / bottom of page

Beautiful Ron, you look to have a nice set up there. Wish I could allocate a lot more space to growing Junos but, even if I had the space, something else would have to go. Difficult decisions!!

Contribution from Colin Dolding 22 February 2010, 20:27top / bottom of page

Many thanks Ron, how long has it taken to get to this size? As Dave says, it looks like a great set up you have. What else is coming along in the near future?

Contribution from Ron Mudd 24 February 2010, 09:17top / bottom of page

Thank you David and Colin for your comments.

My wife and I have only recommenced growing in this country after many years living and working in the Far East. Our setup is small at the moment but we will be expanding over the next few years. We grow from seed and from bought (and begged!) bulbs. This one was bought as a bulb last year.

We hope that other growers will follow suit and post pics of their Junos and cultivation tips. We hope these plants will be more available and more widely grown in the future.

We will continue to post pics here as the flowers open over the next few months, if this is of interest.

We hope that we can do the same with Fritillaria, and Roscoea with are others we are passionate about.

Apologies for my delayed response but the system either won't let me in or won't post my message, since my initial post.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 24 February 2010, 09:47top / bottom of page

Thank you Ron, for the lovely picture. Yes, I would very much like to see more photos when they are available - I love junos but do not have an alpine house - my few sit outside, covered in snow, and now the clay pots have cracked with all the frost - will they survive and make it to a show? - guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 24 February 2010, 17:07top / bottom of page

Our fingers are crossed tightly for your Junos Judy.

Please keep us up to date as to their progress via this page, as I'm sure that many people will be interested in what happens. Which species are we rooting for?

We will continue posting as our flowers develop.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 24 February 2010, 18:24top / bottom of page

Thanks Ron. I'm growing bucharica and graeberiana, as I believe these are the most hardy. I would like to try others, as and when I manage to get seed.

Contribution from David Nicholson 24 February 2010, 19:29top / bottom of page

I have bucharica and graeberiana outside but in deep plastic rose pots; in the greenhouse, cycloglossa, orchioides and the hybrid 'Blue Mystery' also in deep rose pots; and in seed pots, aucheri, caucasiaca, magnifica Alba and planifolia.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 28 February 2010, 19:31top / bottom of page

Thank you Judy and David for contributing to this thread. I hope you can both post pics of your Junos flowering later in the year.

If your plants don't make it through Judy, we will send you replacements later in the year so you can try again ( f.o.c. of course). We think it is very important that the extent to which these plants can survive our climate is understood is important. Hopefully one day we can know the tolerances of these plants in uk.

Our bucharica and greaberiana have so far proved themselves to be especially tough and are doing well under current conditions. Let us know if you need replacement material.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 28 February 2010, 19:45top / bottom of page

Thank you, Ron, for your very generous offer, which, in the nicest way, I hope I will not need to take up. My bucharica are now also starting to show green tips, so I am hoping, with the help of warmer weather, that they will come through.

I plan to take photos as they grow, and will try to post them on this thread, but they may not be very clear - my expertise with the digi camera is even less than trying to grow iris!

Lee & Julie Martin's stunning rosenbachiana at Harlow is true inspiration for me - well done to them.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 28 February 2010, 20:16top / bottom of page
We hope your plants survive too Judy. Please post your pics as we are

Contribution from Ron Mudd 28 February 2010, 20:57top / bottom of page

Not sure what happened there, but got cut off before we could finish.

Agreed Judy, Lee and Julies showing of a colour variant of I. rosenbachiana is indeed an inspiration. Congratulations to them. We hope we will one day see such fineness in our pots!

Contribution from Ron Mudd 02 March 2010, 15:17top / bottom of page
Amazing what a little sun will do!

For us and the plants!

The same I.rosenbachiana as of today. The two new flowers on the main bulb have appeared in the last three days. We noticed today the flower appearing on the new small bulb.

Our seeds are germinating at a rate of knots also.

Contribution from David Nicholson 02 March 2010, 20:10top / bottom of page

Ron, would you like to say some more about your Juno seed sowing regime please?

Contribution from Ron Mudd 03 March 2010, 19:00top / bottom of page

Well David, the following is our seed sowing regime. We are sure that it is not how the experts do it but so far it has worked for us.

We allow any fresh seed from our own plants to dry thoroughly and store in seed envelopes until sowing time. We store in the house at room temperature. We do not keep in a refrigerator.

During late September ( or as close as possible if seed is bought in or from a seed scheme ) we soak the seeds in at least 500 ml rainwater for 48 has. The water is stirred regularly and the 'good seed' is seen to sink to the bottom of the container. The water generally discolours to varying degrees depending on species.

After the soaking period the seed is sown immediately on the surface of the potting mix and covered with roughly 2 cm of fine grade vermiculite.

The whole is the stood in rainwater until the vermiculite is seen to be thoroughly moist. The pot is then allowed to drain until no more water runs from the drainage hole. We use plastic pots.

The pots are then placed in an unheated propagator (with vents open ) and not water again until germination has occurred the following spring.

Some sources say that Juno seeds can take years to germinate. We have not found this yet, and have germinated seed from 1 to 4 years old ( age defined by source), the very next spring.

As I say, I am sure that the expert growers have a better way of growing Junos from seed, but this works well for us, and suits the way we do things.

The pots in propagators are kept in an unheated polytunnel until germination. The seedlings are then moved in their pots to an unheated glasshouse. They get cold post sowing but are not allowed to freeze or be frosted.

We hope this is of interest, and if we can clarify further then please ask.

We would like anyone who grows Junos from seed to post their methods here, as there are many methods we are sure.

Contribution from Colin Dolding 04 March 2010, 00:01top / bottom of page

Thank you Ron for this information, I have sown up to 10 year old Iris seed (not Juno) in a similar way with the soaking etc with good results.

Will have to try Junos if I can get some seed!

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 04 March 2010, 09:06top / bottom of page

Thank you Ron, your information on seed sowing/germination is very helpful - maybe we could have some photos of the seedlings as they are grown on?

(You'd think the Director of Seed would be able to acquire some Juno seed somehow, wouldn't you?!)

Contribution from Ron Mudd 04 March 2010, 16:03top / bottom of page

You certainly would Judy!

As one pot of seedlings looks very much like the next, we suggest that we could follow the progress of this pot of seedlings of Iris kuschakewiczii. They have just broken through the vermiculite in the last two days. We could examine them monthly if this is of interest.

I apologise for the quality of my photos but only have the camera on my handheld computer, which is not really up to this sort of work.

The flower on the 'baby bulb' of Iris rosenbachiana has fully opened today.

Iris kuschakewiczii seedlings
Iris kuschakewiczii seedlings

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 04 March 2010, 17:26top / bottom of page

Thank you again, Ron. Yes, a monthly view of the seedlings would be very interesting, please. Your rosenbachiana must be looking very good now, with the small bulb also flowering - I guess this is an offshoot of the parent plant? How old would that bulb be? Do they bulk up fairly quickly?

You have to feel sorry for Colin - there's not much chance of him finding any Juno seed left from this year's donations - I tried to get some in the surplus and had no luck! He'll have to get his order in early next year.

Contribution from David Nicholson 04 March 2010, 20:39top / bottom of page

Thanks for that Ron, very interesting indeed. I haven't tried soaking Iris seeds in rainwater (but given my seed raising regime it seems a very logical step to take!)but always in boiled and cooled water with an added very small drop of washing up detergent. The liquid changed once a day and the seed soaked for 5 days to a week depending upon the status of my memory!

My sowing regime is the same for whatever seed I sow and consists of JI no. 2, sand and grit. Seed sown and covered with a good sprinkling of grit and the pot left out in an open frame to take all that dismal rainy Devon can throw at it.

As far as Junos are concerned I have I. planifolia sown 21 October and now germinated and removed to the greenhouse. No germination yet on:-

magnifica Alba sown 21/10

caucasiaca sown 14/12

aucheri sown 14/12

Very interesting discussion this.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 05 March 2010, 10:05top / bottom of page

I, too, have used the 'boiled water and washing up liquid' method to aid germination for both cyclamen and iris seed, but am now trying Ron's version with rain water with some Iris aucheri seed that I found lurking in my 'to be sown' packets of seed (must get round to sorting them out!).

Was so pleased to hear, Ron, that you don't keep your seed in the fridge - I thought I was the only AGS member who used their fridge for food!

We had a frost again last night - am waiting for warmer weather before attempting to transfer my iris from the broken pots, but think I'll probably end up just putting the whole lot in a bigger pot - unless anyone has a better suggestion, please.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 05 March 2010, 20:25top / bottom of page

The species we grow do seem to bulk up well Judy and will certainly flower on the first year offsets. Bulking up is obviously relative but you should certainly expect two or three new bulbs each year I think.

Please continue to let us know how your bucharica progress Judy.

David, were your seeds from your own plants or from a seed scheme. Have you tried sowing fresh? We hear it is recommended for Irises but have not yet tried it, preferring to sow in autumn.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 06 March 2010, 09:22top / bottom of page

My bucharica (2 pots) and cycloglossa (1 pot) have about 1" tips showing - but look rather thin compared to your rosenbachiana shoots. Do you have a particular feeding regime? I'm not sure if the potting mix I use is sufficient.

Ron, I would also appreciate your advice on seedlings. A couple of years ago I was thrilled to have bucharica germinate, but lost them when I potted them on. I now have Iris willmottiana seedlings appearing (BIS seed sown March 2008). Should these be moved on now, or wait until they are dormant?

I have found this thread so helpful, hope others are enjoying it too.

Contribution from David Nicholson 06 March 2010, 20:36top / bottom of page

Ron, no not fresh seed, I have never tried to pollinate any of my Junos and, so far the bees haven't manage it either. My seed of I planifolia and I magnifica 'Alba' came from Kurt Vickery, and I caucasica and I aucheri from the AGS Seed Ex.

Judy, what size pot have you got your seedlings in? I would tend to leave them in their seed pot for at least two growing seasons before moving them on but Ron's experience would be of far more value to you than mine.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 06 March 2010, 21:45top / bottom of page

David, I appreciate the contributions from everyone. My seedlings are now in their second year, in a 7 cm pot. Only a couple are showing so far, but I sowed about 20 so hopefully more will appear.

Contribution from Colin Dolding 07 March 2010, 20:40top / bottom of page

Just found some old magnifica seed from a British Iris Soc exchange 2 years ago. Will try the soaking etc and see what happens.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 08 March 2010, 16:33top / bottom of page

We consider everyone experiences equally as valuable providing the are accurate as even a so called failure provides a lesson to be learned.

We don't transplant seedlings until at least two years old Judy. The only reason we can think why they should be disturbed is if disease strikes or some other "disaster" happens. We sow thinly as you can see from the seedling photo, with only three seeds per pot. This allows room for growth and minimum competition over the two, sometimes three years before potting on singularly into deep pots.

We always include perlite in all our compost mixes. We learned years ago of its benefits in mixes and will not make up any mix, for any genus of plants without it.

Good luck Judy, David amd Colin with your seeds / seedlings. We truly believe these are not difficult and hope your efforts are fruitful. Please keep posting progress reports. We certainly learn from each one.

Very nice to see some wonderful Junos at Loughborough on Saturday. A nice selection of species and a good percentage success rate in the prizes. Congratulations to all those who took the trouble to show. If anyone took any pictures of the Junos can you please post them here for all to see. I forgot my camera in my excitement to get to the show!

Contribution from David Nicholson 08 March 2010, 19:22top / bottom of page

At last years South West Show (Exeter) on 28 March 2009-the first Show I had ever entered- I was lucky enough to get a first in Section C, Class 110 for 1 Bulbous Plant with my Iris graeberiana.

This year the Show is on 27 March and my plant has only a couple of inches of growth but cultivation has been exactly the same as last year.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 08 March 2010, 19:43top / bottom of page

What a stunning plant! No problems growing Junos for you David!

Why aren't they more widely available and more commonly grown? Surely this compares favourably with any plant from any other genus? More pics from your archive please David.

Do you think that this plants tardiness this year is due to the weather we are enduring or something else?

Contribution from Margaret Young 08 March 2010, 21:06top / bottom of page

David, your portrait of the Iris is so beautifuuly set off by the background colour that at first glance I thought I was seeing a truly breathtaking watercolour painting! A lovely planty but an amazing portrait of it, well done.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 09 March 2010, 10:25top / bottom of page

David, your plant is superb. You certainly deserved to get a first. I only hope my Iris graeberiana is half as good.

I just love the glossy leaves on the junos, with the wonderful flower colourings above - sets them off to perfection.

I really hope this thread inspires more folk to have a go at growing them.

Ron, thanks for your tips on seed sowing - I'll sow the aucheri into several pots, rather than cram them all in together.

I just thought lots together would be company for each other, but didn't think about the consequences of 20 germinating in a small pot and jostling for space.

Contribution from David Nicholson 09 March 2010, 20:26top / bottom of page

Why thank you Maggi. I have to say that was exactly the effect I set out to produce-it's my inherent artistic aptitude you know!! (ahem!)

Ron-stunning plant it was but more beginners luck than good management I'm afraid. I do try the easier Junos but I lack the facilities (and indeed the skill) to try the more difficult ones and for me to get the space required would mean stopping growing some of the other bulbs I love. So, for me, it will have to be a bit of everything, and that means an elastic sided greenhouse already! Here's a picture of my Iris graeberiana this morning, it's going to have to grow some to reach last years standard by 27 March. I think the weather has been the culprit this year.

Judy-thank you. I wonder if you had considered re-potting the whole of your 7cm seed pot into a 9cm? I use 9cm square plastic pots for all my bulb seed sowing.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 09 March 2010, 21:38top / bottom of page

Good thinking, David. That's probably the best solution, especially as I spied a third shoot this morning - it would give them more space to grow.

My graeberiana has nothing like the growth from your photo - guess it will be the Pershore show in July for me if I'm lucky!

Have tried to include a photo but, having never tried this before, it might not work - you'll need a magnifying glass to see the shoot!

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 09 March 2010, 21:48top / bottom of page

As you can see, I'm not much of a photographer - more a 'click and pray' and hope for the best. I must read the manual one day - that's always the last option with me!

Contribution from Ron Mudd 16 March 2010, 18:56top / bottom of page
Iris aucheri

Not one of the named colour forms but we think still quite stylish.

Strange but the sudden surge in temperature we are experiencing seems to be against flower formation. Or are we just imagining it?

Please keep the photos coming Judy, now you've started.

we hope we can keep this thread going through the growing season of the Junos so at least we build a picture of one growing year.

Our seedlings are shooting up like crazy! Why should this be a very good year for Juno seedling growth?

Apologies for the picture quality. Hope someone else will do better.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 16 March 2010, 22:58top / bottom of page

Another lovely iris, Ron. I hope my aucheri seed grow up to be such lovely plants.

Your photo quality is a definite improvement on mine but yes, you will be seeing more pictures from me in the future.

I, too, hope this thread will follow the whole year of the juno iris, and still be ongoing with progress reports of your seedlings that are doing so well.

Contribution from David Nicholson 17 March 2010, 20:45top / bottom of page

That looks a nice little Iris aucheri Ron. For those who don't know it the Web Site of SIGNA (Species Iris group of North America) has a very useful database of species Irises and some nice pictures of variations in Iris aucheri.Go to, tick List of Species and from the list choose "aucheri"

Contribution from Ron Mudd 18 March 2010, 09:33top / bottom of page

Thank you very much David for bringing this to our attention. I for one was unaware of this resource and will be taking a look immediately.

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 18 March 2010, 10:21top / bottom of page

Just looked at the SIGNA website, thank you for the info David. Another site I use regularly is the Pacific Bulb Society - some good photos and helpful information -

Contribution from Ron Mudd 25 March 2010, 19:33top / bottom of page
Iris aucheri 'Leylek Ice'

Again, I am so unhappy that the photo doesn't do any justice at all to the plant.

This is an easy Juno and I hope more people will have a go with it.

Judy, David, et al., any progress reports?

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 25 March 2010, 19:53top / bottom of page

More lovely photos, thanks, Ron.

My few larger pots are still growing fairly well, but I've lost a couple of small pots through rotting - and we've had some more heavy rain this afternoon.

How are your seedlings coming along? I'm looking forward to seeing progress photos of them.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 25 March 2010, 20:32top / bottom of page

We have more Junos flowering over the next few days, and will post pics along with those I. kuschakewicii seedlings.

Sorry to hear you had some rotting Judy. If I may suggest a very very free draining mix. Our Junos, frits and Onco are watered well during growth and the recent wet spell should not affect them if they were grown well the year before.

Any colour yet on your parent plants?

Contribution from Judy Rhymes 25 March 2010, 20:45top / bottom of page

No colour showing yet, fairly small shoots on the other plants at the moment. I don't think we've had quite enough warmth to bring them on much.

I thought I had given my junos a much more free draining mix than the other plants, but obviously not sufficient, or maybe the pots were too small, I sometimes forget when re-potting how large the plants can grow.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 26 March 2010, 18:07top / bottom of page
Iris aucheri ' Blue Tit'
Iris aucheri ' Indigo '

Contribution from Ron Mudd 26 March 2010, 18:24top / bottom of page
Iris bucharica
Finally for today a group shot

I'll update the seed shots next week Judy.

Finally for today a group shot

Contribution from David Nicholson 29 March 2010, 16:14top / bottom of page

Lovely Junos there Ron. Mine are coming along. I've just remarked in another thread that as far as the Show benches are concerned others seem to be having a later Juno season this year.

Contribution from David Nicholson 10 April 2010, 21:16top / bottom of page

As a result of having to spend a great deal of time away from home and garden at the moment I have missed the best of my Iris graeberiana and I. bucharica, but here is a nice little hybrid I. 'Blue Mystery'

Contribution from David Nicholson 23 May 2010, 19:49top / bottom of page

Last of my small collection of Juno Irises to flower this season-iris cycloglossa

Contribution from David Nicholson 17 January 2011, 16:59top / bottom of page
Juno Season 2011

Many of mine are showing noses now does anyone have one in flower yet?

Contribution from Ron Mudd 18 January 2011, 09:20top / bottom of page

Plenty of noses also. The various aucheri have four to six leaves but they will flower much later. Only greaberiana not showing yet. I think I will have rosenbachiana 'Darwas' flowering within the next week or so depending on the weather. I had a Juno flower in early December. It filled the greenhouses with a most delicious perfume and really did bring a smile to my face during a tough time weatherwise. I will post a picture of it later in the month.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 28 January 2011, 22:52top / bottom of page
iris planifolia

Flowering in early December. Couldn't post earlier as was entered for the online show. Unfortunately wasn't worthy. Other Junos have put on a remarkable spurt of growth this week. Iris rosenbachiana 'Deep Purple' which opened this thread last year is now in full flower having come from nowhere this week. I split this plant up last year, and all of the offsets are also in full flower. Will post pics of flowering plants that are not yet on this thread as they come along if of interest.

Also I think of nterest is that seeds of Iris aucheri which were sown last year and were frozen solid in ice for weeks during December have germinated well and are now about 5mm high having shown first at he beginning of this week.

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Contribution from Ron Mudd 30 January 2011, 19:48top / bottom of page

Can anyone advise please what happened to our pictures of Iris planifolia? They appear to have been removed by an anonymous entry at 17:50 on the 29th January.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 31 January 2011, 15:02top / bottom of page
Thank you

Thank you to whoever turns our pictures around so they can be viewed correctly. I aren't sure why they are wrongly orientated when we post, but will keep trying to avoid this happening.

We've just noticed that the planifolia pictures are in fact still there ( and have been turned - thanks again).Its just that we can't view them in thumnail mode.

Contribution from Diane Clement 31 January 2011, 21:11top / bottom of page

Hi Ron, I'm holding my hand up, it was me. Yes, I have turned several of your pictures round without any ill effect in the past, but this last change seemed to have snarled things up. I had problems getting the pictures to publish properly on the site. And now the view you now gets depends on the browser you are using. With Internet Explorer8 and Safari, the thumbnails don't appear but the full pictures do, but with Firefox nothing appears at all. I don't know why this has happened, but I have alerted the webmaster and I have confidence that Jim can fix it!

As to why your pictures have appeared orientated sideways, I'm guessing that it is to do with how you are uploading them on the site. The best thing to do is take your pictures from your camera on to your computer, then rotate them and save them. Then upload them onto the site. You don't need any expensive software, I have rotated yours just using Windows Picture viewer and they then automatically save "the right way round". Please do ask if you need further help as we enjoy seeing your splendid plants.

Iris planifolia is a plant I have seen by the thousand near Ronda but I have found it soon succumbs to virus in cultivation so I am envious of your plant. Here's a picture of a plant in the wild, taken a year ago in Spain

Contribution from David Nicholson 01 February 2011, 19:18top / bottom of page

Diane, they are missing in IE7 also.

Contribution from Ron Mudd 01 February 2011, 19:26top / bottom of page

Diane, thanks once again for your help and advice. We will try your suggestions and hopefully not cause any more trouble for anyone. We should have some more rosenbachiana and nicolai flowering in the next few days.Will try and post pictures the right way up!

Love the wild planifolia pictures. Got anymore you can post? Never had any troubles with virus, but this plant seems to hate chilling drafts/ frost. Could the symptoms of this be mistaken for virus? Leading to healthy plants being scrapped? Our aucheri variations have suffered during the minus temps of December and some leaves look "virused". They aren't and are growing out of it. Is it possible that the literature scares is too much regarding viruses in Irises, and that some of the symptoms are actually cold damage?

Contribution from Luc Gilgemyn 03 February 2011, 17:04top / bottom of page

My first Juno opened up under today's sunshine here in Belgium : Iris rosenbachiana "Harangon"

Undoubtedly one of my favourites and one month earlier than last year.

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