Topic of the Week--Woody Irids

Peter Kaye
Mon, 21 Jul 2003 09:06:43 PDT
a comprehensive introduction for such a poorly known group of plants.
My experiences with seed raised plants tallies very much with yours. Most of the group seem to need an after ripening period of 6 months to germinate successfully. If this is adhered to, and the seeds treated with smoke extract then germination can be easy. NN. corymbosa and binata germinate profusely; I have found stokoei less easy.
Corymbosa seems the easiest sp, and the most hardy - my plants in the UK were grown outdoors and on occasion covered with snow with no ill-effects. Here in Cape Town stokoei grows easily in a border with irrigation in summer. It makes a particularly good companion to lavenders. N. dispar is of similar stature to corymbosa but with larger flowers and in my recollection rather more tender.
Klattias are an entirely different matter. They strike easily from cuttings, but both seed raised plants and cuttings are very difficult to maintain for any period. They strongly resent changes in environment such as light levels, humidity and watering regimes, and respond (ie die) promptly without even passing through a sickly period. A shame, because Klattia stokoei is reminiscent of an upright Heliconia.
To have maintained plants for any length of time is a remarkable achievement.
Thanks for the introduction to my favourite irids.

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