Iris unguicularis

Scroll down for cultivation tips……………….

If the weather is mild this little Iris can flower from November to March.

It is also good a a picked flower in a vase. The trick is to pick as much of the stem as possible. Go deep into the foiliage and nip with finger and thumb. In the autumn you can find deep in the foiliage tiny seed pods like gherkins. Indeed if you have a good garden form of this Iris the seeds which can germinate in the middle of the clump will have reverted back to its wild form so you may finnd on plant with two different types of flowers!

The plant is not exactly delicate and it has leaves that can grow to 18″ tall and they hang on when dead making the plant slightly untidy looking. In autumn the leaves can be cut down to 6″ then pull out all the dead leaves. This will leave the flowers visible. Don’t worry about the leaves as come summer the new leaves will again grow to around 18″.

Propagation is by divison of the rhizomes in September. Wait till the clumps are about 2′ across and lift the whole clump. Divide into clusters of seven to eight rhizomes and shorten the leaves by half to help conserve moisture. Replant as soon as possible with rhizomes  facing south to prevent leaves from casting a shadow.

Once establised these plants can survive even in rubble. Make sure it is planted in a gravely border in full sun.

Good varieties are “Walter Butt”  “Mary Barnard” and “Alba”

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