Iris unguicularis hardiness

Jane McGary
Fri, 24 Feb 2012 10:36:43 PST
A correspondent in Germany wrote:
>Hi, We just had 3 weeks of really cold weather with day temperatures 
>not above -8 degree C and night Temperatures up to - 17 degree C 
>without snow cover. My Iris unguiularis ssp cretensis did not show 
>any sign of damage now 1 week after warmer weathter did arrive. Even 
>Helleborus species did freeze down to the ground loosing all leaves. 
>This all is in Germany near Bonn. I thinkI. Unguicularis is totaly 
>hardy specially in the ssp cretensis (which naturaly occure up to 
>1500m in the Greek Mainland.

I agree that I. cretensis, also called I. unguicularis subsp. 
cretensis, is more cold-hardy than the North African I. unguicularis. 
I grew I. cretensis from Archibalds' seeds and it survived winter 
lows of 16 F at my former garden. In the new garden, which is warmer, 
it is also doing well. In the new garden I can grow I. unguicularis 
itself in the open, too, given very good drainage.

On the minus side, I. cretensis does not have the strong sweet 
fragrance of I. unguicularis, and the flowers are smaller.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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