Dug up my Iris bulbs, but too late to plant...now what? Help please!

We moved into our house last winter (zone 7 - Virginia) and I got too eager in my fall cleanup. We had a bed of Irises (I still don't know what specific type) that was overgrown with weeds-turned trees and lots of creepers from a nearby wisteria. They bloomed well this year but were very crowded. I wanted to clean up the bed really nice, so I pulled out the unwanted stuff and thinned and seperated the Irises last weekend. Yeah, you know where this is headed. So when I actually took the time to research how to properly replant and space the Irises I realized I started this project way too late in the season. Help!
Right now I have two flats full of Iris rhizomes (must be at least 50) and I don't know what I should do to salvage them. Do I store them for the winter or replant and hope for the best? I hadn't trimmed back any of the plants, so each rhizome still has 12 inches or so of greenery, and 6 to 8 inches of roots. I'm feeling like an idiot and hope I don't lose these.
On a related note I have a bunch of daffodil bulbs that we dug up but haven't replanted yet. And we'd love to relocate some tiger and daylillies, but I'm not going anywhere near them unless someone tells me too. It's apparent I'm a little in over my head...
-Dave
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replant them, they will be fine. i divided my irises last saturday, and I am well north of you.
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Dave B wrote:

All of the plants you mention are tough customers, so it's not nearly the problem you think it is. But in future, thin out irises or other plants and immediately replant/relocate them.
As long as the ground hasn't frozen, and you don't expect it to freeze for the next two to four weeks, it's OK to plant the iris corms. Give them a healthy dash of blod-and-bone meal, and water well after planting Mulch to delay freezing of the ground. Remove the mulch next spring, as iris corms should be just below the surface. You may lose a few, but irises are pretty tough, so most will come back. They most likely will not bloom next year, though, and perhaps not the year after either.
The daffodil bulbs should be planted 6" to 8" deep, also with a healthy dash of blood and bone meal. They will do just fine. We planted daffs about three weeks ago here in Zone 4, and Zone 7 is considerably milder, so you shouldn't have any problems.
Trim the dead/dying stuff off the day lilies and tiger lilies. Relocate them in the spring. NB that day lilies tend to be invasive, so think hard about where you want them. They also need thinning out every other year or so. Tiger lilies propagate from new bulblets and from seed, and can also spread into places you don't want them.
HTH&GL
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It's NOT to late to plant them, as long as the ground is not frozen, you can go ahead and plant them, at lest in a temp. bed. Just make sure the roots are covered. I'm doing transplanting of iris right now during the days. If you get them in the ground and feed them a bit, they may still bloom next year, sometimes they wait for a year to bloom again.
Otherwise you'd need to put them in a lot of pots for over wintering.
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Thanks for all your great advice. We're having one more cold night (mid-30's) then it looks like it'll be a bit warmer for awhile, so I'll replant the IRISes and daffodil bulbs tomorrow. A few more questions if you don't mind...
How much should I trim the old growth on the Irises? Can you recommend a few brands/types of food I should try - and can I use the same food for the daffs? When should I look to transplant the lillies in the Spring, right after they come up?
Thanks again...
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Trim back all the foliage on the Iris to 3 to 4 inches, you can generally just pull the outer leaves off, and trim the remaining in the shape on an inverted "V".
"Tiger Lilies" can be moved in the very early spring as can the daylilies, which can also be divided as well. I almost always dig and divide my daylilies in the very early spring and have found that the plants suffer very little set-back. (Unless the divisions are really small ones).
You will no doubt be finding young "Tiger Lilies" coming up in the old location this coming summer and next. You may also find them several feet away from the original location. These will be new plants that have grown from the small black bulbils that develop in the leaf axis of the "Tiger Lilies". These bulbils can be either a blessing or a curse!
Hemma
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db wrote:

You call that cold???? That's mild up here. :-)

Trim to about 6". I've seen irises trimmed to less than this, but you want a little bit of photosynthesis for as long as possible while the tranpslants develop their roots.
When replanting, use a fertiliser low in nitrogen and high in phosphate, low or zero in potassium. Blood-and-bone meal is very good, it's usually 3-15-0. Plain bone meal is also OK (usually 0-10-0). Mix a little into the planting pit, and sprinkle some on top and water it in. No heavy feeding at this time, all you want is to stimulate rooting.
In spring, a generic fertiliser such as 20-20-20 will work just fine. Fancy brands aren't necessary unless your soil is low in minerals and trace elements -- not likely, since you indicate that the garden was flourishing when you bought the house. Make sure you buy a slow release fertiliser, though, as plants will suck up all the nitrogen they can get, the li'l gluttons, and a quick release fertiliser can kill ("burn") them. Ie, do not use spring lawn fertiliser in the garden or flower beds. Agricultural fertiliser is a good buy, it's much cheaper per pound than the little boxes you buy at the nursery in the spring, and it's designed for single or at most double application per growing season, at relatively low rates (a few pennies cost difference matters a lot to a farmer.)
Some people will tell you that organic fertilisers are better, but apart from ecological considerations (eg, recycling manure), there's little to support that view. Plants don't have ideological problems about where their food comes from. That being said, compost is gold for a garden. It is a low-grade fertiliser, which is good, but its main value is the addition of organic matter to the soil. It also serves as an insulator during freeze up when used as a mulch, which I recommend you do at this time.
HTH
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