How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Anna Your Own Question
Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 10919
Experience:  Great research skills, variety of work experiences, teaching experience.
Type Your Home Improvement Question Here...
Anna is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a sunny area in my yard that I planted Iris in 3 years

Customer Question

I have a sunny area in my yard that I planted Iris in 3 years ago and laid a thin layer of river stone. The the green has grown beautifully but has never bloomed. How do I amend this soil?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. My name is Anna, and I'm a biologist with many years experience gardening.Some additional information will help me to answer your question.

How many hours of sunlight do the iris plants receive each day?

How deep did you plant the iris corms?

How thick is the layer of river stone?

Have you tested your soil?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Anna

Thank you for trying to help me. No, I have not had the soil tested and that would be difficult for me to do ,,only because I don't get out very much at all and live alone. There is just one layer on stone/pebbles on top to keep weeds down,you can even see the dirt between them. It is a full sun location so it get I know at lest 8 hrs. of sun a day. I have planted tomatoes in the same area but they also did poorly. These Iris were purchased from a nursery and planted at the same level as potted so I'm sure they aren't too deep. I think (?) it must be nutrient poor but what do I know? I thought I would add some sand and bone mill, leaving the rock in there since it would be too difficult to remove and turn the soil a few times, transplant, separate and water but I wanted an experts opinion.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have to e leave for a while Anna, will back later

Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. There are several reasons why irises don't bloom. The most common is lack of sunlight, but we have ruled that out. The second most common problem is planting depth. The tubers should be planted so the top is visible at the soil surface. Just because the plants came potted from a nursery doesn't mean they were at the correct depth, so double-check this. If you can't see the tuber at the surface, the plants are too deep. Even that little layer of rock could interfere because the tops of the tubers should be exposed to sun.

If planting depth is fine, we have to look deeper. Soil that is too acidic or alkaline can interfere with blooming (that could also affect tomato growth), but we'd need to know which it is before we could make any changes. If you can't get your soil tested, tell me in which state you live and in what part, and I may be able to get a general idea of the soil's pH.

Too much nitrogen in the soil can lead to good leaf growth, but no flowers. A good fertilizer for irises is 6-10-10. The first number is the nitrogen content. The bone meal you're considering would be a good choice, too, but I wouldn't add any sand. It has no nutrients and would just put something else on top of the tubers.

Poorly drained soil is another culprit. Irises don't do well if the soil they are in stays soggy after rain or watering.

Finally, irises won't bloom if they are crowded. When you bought the plants, they may have formed a clump in the pot. If you planted them that way, they may simply be too crowded to bloom. In general, irises need to be dug up, separated, and replanted every 3-4 years to maintain their vigor.

You're probably wondering what you should do now. If we can, I'd like to try to narrow down the possibilities and then give you some recommendations. Give me the information on your location so we can know at least a little more about the soil. If possible, post a photo of the planting. That would tell me a lot. You can upload a photo by clicking on REPLY, then at the top of the area where you would type is a tool bar with icons. Click on the little paper clip icon (it's right next to the YouTube icon). Instructions will pop up. On some browsers, this doesn't work. if that happens, you can put your photo on one of the free photo sharing websites, such as Then come back here and paste the link to your picture in a REPLY.

I'll watch for your response and we'll go from there.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future. Jimmy Bagley, IA
< Previous | Next >
  • You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future. Jimmy Bagley, IA
  • Thank you for the expeditious answer. It's good to know you're out there and awake in the wee hours when I finally have time to ask questions about my Jenn Air. Jean Riverhead, NY
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY

Meet The Experts:

  • Brian



    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed Architect- 17 years, L.E.E.D. AP
< Last | Next >
  • Brian's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed Architect- 17 years, L.E.E.D. AP
  • The Home Smithy's Avatar

    The Home Smithy

    Home Builder

    Satisfied Customers:

    #1 Home Improvement Expert 30+ years experience
  • Steve G.'s Avatar

    Steve G.


    Satisfied Customers:

    VP of electronic repair company and home theater advisor.
  • StructuralEng's Avatar


    Civil Engineer

    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed Structural Engineer
  • Eric M. Bright's Avatar

    Eric M. Bright

    We Don't Comprehend the Word Can't!

    Satisfied Customers:

    I've been been doing things for my clients that others have said cant be done for over a 1/4 Century
  • Rich's Avatar


    Home Improvement Enthusiast

    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 35 years construction and home maintenance experience
  • Phil's Avatar


    Mechanical Engineer

    Satisfied Customers:

    Retired contractor, 51 years experience