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Iris rules

LG_LG_ SE LondonPosts: 3,921

I'm afraid this is probably a bit of a stupid question. I am confused about irises. I know they like to be close to the surface and 'baked' in the sun. Except that there are some - yellow irises? - that are marginal plants and like their feet in the wet. Is there a way to tell which kind of iris likes to be baked and which likes to be soggy, without knowing the variety?

I currently have 4 kinds of iris, all from other gardens so the specifics are a bit of guesswork:

A few foetidissima which I have in shady spots and the one that is doing best is in full shade under a tree.

Some gorgeous reticulata which come back every year in a pot on the front doorstep (warm and a bit dry).

A purple flag iris of some kind which is baked in the front garden (it was in a neighbour's front garden when she gave me a few, so I just copied the location). It's spreading and seems happy.

A new one, hand-labelled as 'pacific blue' which is tall and fine with fairly small, delicate blue / voilet flowers. It is this last one which is making me ask the question. Somehow the leaves (very green and fine) make me feel this is a 'wet' kind of iris, but I've no idea if I'm judging it wrongly or where I should put it. 

Are there 'rules' so I can tell what I should do with it?

Last edited: 15 June 2016 09:34:29

'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
- Cicero

Posts

  • Stevo4Stevo4 Posts: 109

    LG, in a nutshell, Dutch Iris, Reticulata, etc, are corms so treat as you would, say, Tulips. Bearded Iris are Rhizomes and are the full sun lovers that like the rhizome to be exposed and baked. The damp lovers have fibrous rhizomes and don't like to be exposed, such as Ensata. Hope that helps a bit without going on too long.

  • Stevo4Stevo4 Posts: 109

    imageBearded iris sun, baked rhizomeimageDutch iris dryimageIris sibirica, wet

  • LG_LG_ SE LondonPosts: 3,921

    Thank you, that is helpful. And I can see from the shapes that I have one of each type currently planted. Are flag irises and bearded irises the same thing?

    So perhaps the best way to work out what to do with this so-called 'pacific blue' would be to check the rhizome and see how fibrous it is. Here's a couple of pics:

    image

    image

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,422

    I grow some like the ones above, LG, in both dry and damp soil, but not as marginals. There are varieties that grow in shallow water and bog conditions, the native ones are the yellow flags, but you can get blues and whites and some with variegated leaves. I can't remember their names but I am sure you could Google them.

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,894

    Iris Pacific Coast types need a damp, but well drained soil in full sun. They come from the Pacific coastal area of the USA so they are used to warm Summers with a certain amount of water from mist rather than wet conditions.

  • LG_LG_ SE LondonPosts: 3,921

    Thank you everyone :-)

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Cambridgerose12Cambridgerose12 Posts: 1,036

    Hi LG, if those pics are of 'Pacific Blue' then it's a sibirica. That doesn't insist on standing water like some, but it prefers a heavier and moist soil and full sun. 

    'Flag' iris is a bit of a meaningless designation really but I have seen it used of the wild UK Iris pseudacorus.

    The ones which like it hot and sunny are bearded iris, which are in a totally different classificatory group from sibiricas. Like Stevo4's first photo. Indeed, their main requirement is full sun on the rhizomes which are planted sitting on the soil rather than buried in it, and they don't like crowding.

    Pacific Coast irises are a different group again, though more closely related to sibiricas. But while sibiricas and bearded iris can cope with lime, Pacific Coast varieties and other North American iris prefer a more acidic soil.

  • LG_LG_ SE LondonPosts: 3,921

    Yes, the iris i the picture is the one labelled 'Pacific Blue'. And I am delighted if it needs full sun but moisture as that's exactly the spot I'd like to put it in but wasn't sure if it would suit it! 

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Well this is going against the grain. I have a yellow flag iris not planted by me growing on a dry sunny bank and its going mad multiplying every year with more and more flowers. I haven't the heart to digit up.

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