Iris unguicularis

Jim McKenney
Tue, 28 Nov 2006 10:16:54 PST
Thanks for that, Roger. If I'm lucky enough to get more buds, I'll try it. 


The plant I have came from someone for whom it never bloomed. He dug it and
distributed the pieces at a local plant exchange. If it has a cultivar name,
we don't know it. He gave all of his away, and now that he's seen the bloom
on my plant regrets that (although he has a standing invitation to drop by
and dig a piece). 


The flower shown on the wiki caught me by surprise; I was literally packing
my bags Friday morning for a few days away from home after Thanksgiving when
I went out into the garden for something and spotted the patch of blue (the
iris grows tangled up with other plants, largely shaded by some of them). I
unpacked the camera, realized that I could not get a good image with the
bloom in situ, and decided to pick it. 


I checked it for fragrance and noticed nothing. I took several photos, put
the bloom in a vase on the kitchen table, hopped in the car and returned
several days later to find, of course, a thoroughly deliquesced blob.


I'm not the only one growing Iris unguicularis here in the greater
Washington, D.C. area. One friend has several forms. And some are growing I.
lazica, too. Yesterday I asked if anyone was growing I. cretensis, but so
far no one locally has responded (I just received John L's posting on that
form). The plants of I. unguicularis seem hardy enough, but getting them to
mature flowers outside is another matter. Decades ago I grew this plant, and
although it sometimes produced the beginnings of flower buds, it never
successfully matured outside a bloom or a bud worth cutting. 


Jim Waddick's email just arrived, so I'll try to respond to his queries,
too. I have two clumps here; one grows in a cold frame out in the open. This
plant in the cold frame has not yet bloomed, although it is growing


The plant in the wiki image grows right against the house wall on the SW
side of the house. The soil is the local stuff with no amendments -
basically a loamy clay, probably acidic although so close to the wall there
may be leaching from the lime in the mortar. This plant does not get sun
until late morning at earliest. And it grows under a semi-deciduous azalea
and a take-over-the-world Passiflora incarnata. I think I can describe those
as less than ideal conditions. Ordinarily this site is in the rain shadow of
the eaves, but there is a leaky gutter there and so the area gets flooded
whenever it rains. 


I'm as surprised as anyone that of the two plants, it's this one which



Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7

My Virtual Maryland Garden


Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 

Editor PVC Bulletin 


Webmaster Potomac Lily Society







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