Iris unguicularis

Lauw de Jager
Sun, 24 Nov 2002 00:50:58 PST
Mary Sue Ittner <> a *crit 
> very helpful response from Dirk Wallace. He wrote
> it seems to tolerate most soil types. Acidic soil is definitely not theirpreference but I'm sure they would still grow and flower OK if it wasn't too acidic and they received a dry Summer rest.
> Transplanting usually happens in Spring, after flowering, but if you get
> them at the right time in Autumn they'll still flower successfully. They
> need to be planted firmly and not dried off until they have an established root system. They always do better in clumps than singularly, for me."
>  How hardy is it? Who else grows it?

Dear all,
 I unguicularis  (syn I stylosa) is a very popular plant here.
Transplanting can be very tricky. As Dirk pointed out the bet times at
the beining of their active growing season (latesummer/early autumn and
late winter early spring) to ensure that they are well estyablished 
when the heat (or the cold comes along)  The period  between uprooting
and planting should be kept as short as possible to prevent drying out. 
A dried out rhizome make take over year to generate a growing bud again.
I had  exprience a lot of loss by rotting of the  rhizomes by applying
an organic mulch. Now I use only gravel and sand to mulch the surface
(also confirmed by Dirk). 
It is a very variable species according to its geographic origin. In UK
many forms are commercialised. Here we grow  the type (large pale bleu
flowers), the white form  and a narrow leaved form  with  dark violet
blue flowers(ssp cretensis.
   Here is a posting of Jack Elliot 2/99 (our IBS friend, now incapable
of participating  because of ill health) Perhaps it is worth mentioning
the well-known virus that affects Iris unguicularis, especially the good
old-fashioned varieties which arose from N. African plants, and are now
in most sunny gardens, giving lots of flowers from October to March. 
Some years ago I collected one or two of the beautiful Greek forms both
dark blue and white, which are much lower-growing and often have very
dark flowers.  These flourished for a year or maybe two and then started
deteriorating.  They had the typical virus leaf streaking and I realised
that all my old established large forms were in fact virused and had
passed it on to the newcomers.  As most old stocks here are virused
this is worth bearing in mind.  They grow perfectly well and one can enjoy
the flowers but do not expect to succeed with any new varieties.  I have
left all my old ones behind and am starting again with my favourite Greek
forms. Jack Elliott Kent UK.

Kind regards

Lauw de Jager 
BULB'ARGENCE, 30300 Fourques, France
Région Provence/Camargue, (Climat zone 9a Mediterranean)

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