Rarely found in Australian gardens, Iris histriodes are a wonderful small growing species with a number of cultivars worthy of consideration. These are mainly named hybrids and often have blue flowers similar to the species itself Iris histriodes.
Winter flowering and growing well in containers however they really perform best in the ground and make a wonderful addition to the rock garden. Around mid winter the tips of the bulbs will emerge, a few weeks later they will burst into flower. Foliage is not the main attraction by any means, it is the flowers that rise well above and usually before, the foliage on tall stems.
Although you may be tempted to grow these in containers, they are much easier if planted into the garden. They do need to planted deep, this keeps they dry and cool. Try planting the bulbs fairly deep, around 10 – 15 cm and keep them dry during the summer months or you may well loose them. These are a plant that require a little lime in the soil to perform well so plant them near plants with similar pH requirements.
We grow ours in containers for the first year, and after they have died back transfer them to the garden. As the clump grows we eventually divide again and put some back into containers and some back into the garden. This seems to keep them going well with few problems.
A sunny position in winter is essential and good drainage year round, so a postion near a deciduous tree or shrub is suitable.
- Iris histriodes ‘Major’ is one of the best known of this group, flowers are a strong blue and large. Yellow markings on the falls with a touch of paler blue to white.
- Iris x histriodes ‘George‘ with its purple flower, deeper maroon purple falls again with yellow and white markings
- Iris x histriodes ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ is one of the most sought after cultivars, a very pretty mid to pale blue flowering form with a tinge of green, again with the trademark yellow and white markings.
- Iris x histriodes ‘Sheila Anne Germany’ has the palest of blue flowers with very pale yellow and white on the falls.
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