Posted on | April 8, 2011 | 5 Comments
One of the most common questions during California’s wildflower season is: “Is it too late to plant?” If you’re working from seed, yes. The lupines, clarkia, poppies and sunflowers coming into bloom now germinated last fall. It is only by the capturing of residual autumn warmth and early winter rain that they put down roots needed for a vigorous spring bloom.
However, the window to plant spring wildflowers does remain open in April for our native Pacific coast irises. This window is kept jammed open partly by the nursery trade, which often doesn’t release the plants until March — not ideal, but possible because irises are perennials. Although they do produce seeds, they grow from rhizomes, or tubers, that produce annual sets of roots.
If we want newly bought irises to go in the ground this year, we need to jump — fast. Unless the weather changes, it’s still cool enough. Moreover, spring shopping affords a benefit rare among natives: the chance to see at least some of the young irises in flower on store shelves.
Click here to keep reading The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times.