Iris unguicuilaris

Jim McKenney
Mon, 04 Feb 2013 13:32:46 PST
Jim Waddick wrote of Iris unguicularis, I. cretensis and I.   lazica: "  I am certain these would all be hardy for you in your milder climate.  "

As indeed they are! And if I were growing them for their foliage, I would grow them out in the open garden and not waste cold frame space for them. But I grow them for their flowers, and I get plenty of them throughout the winter in the cold frames. 

I first tried Iris unguicularis about forty years ago.Yes, it was hardy. It even occasionally produced a flower bud. But I never saw the plants in bloom - overnight freezes always destroyed the buds. Such are our winters that this would be just about as true today, even with the comparatively mild winters we are having. 

But in the cold frames I get wave after wave of blooms. I have friends who garden in northern Virginia about fifteen miles south of here: they grow both I. unguicularis and I. lazica in the open and get flowers - but only during mild spells. They are probably getting sick of hearing me crow about blooms and yet more blooms throughout the winter. 

All it takes around here is a cold frame. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, except in the cold frames 

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