Irises, named after the Greek Goddess of the Rainbow are one of the most seductive of flowers and once smitten with this genus it is likely to be a long lasting love affair. With over 200 species in the Iris family it is possible to have an Iris flowering in your garden nearly every month of the year. Irises either grow from bulbs or from rhizomes; these can be quite large or very tiny.
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Bulbous Irises include those known as Xiphium, Reticulata and Juno. The most common of these is Iris xiphium which gives us the Dutch Iris frequently used by florists. Iris reticulata is becoming more widely available and this sweet little Iris produces dainty flowers from July to September. It is an ideal container Iris.
Rhizomatous Irises consist of groups known as Bearded, Beardless and Crested. Beardless Irises include, Pacific Coast, Siberian, Spuria, Louisiana and Japanese Irises. Beardless Irises usually have a flash of colour on the falls or lower petals; this is called a signal and is specifically designed to attract bees. Bearded Irises have a beard instead of a signal. The beard looks a bit like a fuzzy caterpillar and it too is designed to guide the bees into the flower along with trapping their pollen. Crested Irises have a small raised area called a crest instead of a signal or a beard.
Iris flowers come in a rainbow of colours and are made up of 6 petals; 3 upper petals called standards and 3 lower petals called falls. Many Irises have a wonderful fragrance. The beautiful Iris has been revered since ancient times with the rhizomes (orris root) being sought after for medicinal remedies. The Iris has also been used as a symbol in heraldry for centuries and is known as the 'Fleur de lis' which literally translated means Flower of the Lily! Not a Lily at all but an enchanting, elegant, irresistible Iris.
A popular member of the Iris family with narrow green sword like foliage and strong stems of open butterfly like blooms. The blooms have white falls with mauve standards and a splash of gold in the centre. Plant in sun or semi-shade and protect from harsh frost. Evergreen perennial.
Dietes grandiflora is a dramatic landscaping plant when planted en masse and allowed to multiply. I've actually got one growing in a large terracotta pot which looks pretty good too.
Colour: White / Purple Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 60cm
A sweet and reliable Iris which has purple blooms in late winter - early spring. Attractive, sword like grey foliage. This Iris spreads by rhizomes which should not be completely covered by soil. Divide clumps every 3 years or so. Plant in the sun and well drained soil. Perennial.
Iris Kochii was originally thought to be a species Iris but it is in fact an ancient natural hybrid. Very easy to grow with a nice tidy habit.
Colour: Purple / White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 45cm x spreads
Large, creamy white flowers with a yellow blaze and beautifuly ruffled standards and falls. Flowers over an extended period of time in early summer. Siberian irises are known for their elegant, delicate flowers and disease resistance and perform well in a sunny to partially shady garden. Water throughout the season so they continue looking their best. Siberian Irises bloom before Japanese Irises but after Tall Bearded Irises. Perennial
Colour: White / Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 80cm x spreading
Stunning round flat flowers pale lilacky pink. Flowers in summer.
These have cult status in Japan for indoors. Needs a sunny position either in a bog area or with lots of compost. Water till flowering . Prefers acid soil. Divide every 3-4 years Perennial
This easy to grow Iris forms a robust clump made up of small rhizomes. The foliage is dark green, tall and slender. In spring strong stems rise above the foliage and 'butterfly' like blooms of Navy Blue with gold and white starburst dance above the leaves. Will grow in sun or part shade. Likes rich acid soil. Perennial.
Water Iris Elegant rose pink flowers on 1m stems, early to mid-summer.Ideally suited at edge of pond or bog areas.Winter doormant, plant in rich moist soil in sun.
However, it must be placed in a well-drained area during winter to stop rhizomes rotting.
This plant is very suitable for ornamental. She has striking leaves, blooms, or shape and is easy to combine. Requires a sunny spot and well-drained, rich soil.Originally a meadow plant and therefore particularly suitable for heavier soil types and occasionally moist soil.