two perennials

Asked June 2, 2018, 8:06 PM EDT

1. Do Showy Ladyslippers grow best in grass or in bare soil? We have had one for several years that we purchased from a certified grower in northern Minnesota but it waxes and wanes and now seems very weak. It is NOT in full sun but shaded on a slope.Small seedlings die. I have seen them in open ditches as well as open deciduous woods in the wild in northern Minnesota. My yellow moccasins do so well with no care. ??? 1. Why do my iris have very lovely large leaves and no flowers? I have dug clumps up and separated without great success. ??? Thanks for any suggestions

Washington County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. Showy ladyslippers are a difficult and demanding plant. The Minnesota DNR points out in their publication on Showy Lady's Slipper "The lady's slipper grows in spruce and tamarack bogs, swamps, wet meadows, wet prairies, and cool, damp woods. It may be found anywhere in Minnesota where these habitats exist". They also point out that it blooms best in bright sunlight but will grow in part sun. These conditions are difficult to replicate in a home garden and from this publication it seems clear that growing them in your lawn or on bare soil wouldn't be conducive to a healthy plant. Perhaps it's too dry on the slope. You may also want to consult the grower you purchased the plant from. Read the DNR's entire publication here:

Sometimes perennials don't bloom the first year after division. It takes them a season to reestablish themselves. Both bearded and Siberian iris require full sun to bloom their best. Read all about raising irises here:

Thank you for contacting Extension.