Planting Iris in Dreaded Heat

Question:
“Hello Michael, Could you tell me when the best time would be to plant my iris bulbs here in Oklahoma City. We have been scorching here… Today was 106. I know the horticulture advice for bearded iris is from August through September but with this record breaking heat everyday  who knows if August or even September will have any relief from this heat. Will the iris tubers do OK or should I wait till October? I know that bearded iris have to be in the ground longer before frost and freezing temperatures than do daffodils,tulips and the spring bulbs. Any advice is appreciated. We are so looking forward to having the iris my grandmother had in her yard. – Mary”  August 1, 2011

Response:
Hello, Mary.

Thanks for writing in and asking about the best time to plant iris bulbs in Oklahoma City.

With it being 106 degrees give or take in Oklahoma City this time of year, the tubers could be planted now in a well planted garden with irrigation. You could also add 3 inches or so of wood chip mulch over the planted tubers to give them additional insulation against the heat while having the opportunity to start growing roots. On the other hand, you might choose to wait for the extreme heat to come down before planting. The tubers will be fine if kept in a dry, semi-cool place until planted in September or October.

I hope this helps! Stay cool up there and let us know if we can help in any other way!

Best regards,
Michael

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