Iris lazica

Jim McKenney
Wed, 08 Feb 2012 13:48:13 PST
Tony asked: "Did I understand that you are growing Iris unguicularis and I. lazica in the ground?  If so, what temps have these survived without snow cover and how many years have you had them in the ground?  Thanks."
The short answer: yes, they are in the ground, but they are in the ground either inside cold frames or otherwise well protected. 
The Iris lazica and one of the Iris unguicularis are in cold frames. These cold frames are right against the SSW side of the house. The plants are not in pots; they are planted into the ground, the local stuff is a loamy clay. The cold frames are opened on most days and closed whenever the temperature is predicted to drop below freezing (there are lots of other things in these frames, some probably freeze tender). If the temperature is predicted to drop below 25 degrees F (minus 3.8 C ), a double ply plastic tarp is spread over the frames. We have experienced air temperatures as low as 3 degrees F (about minus 16 degrees C) outside the frames. 
I don't use thermometers, but to give you an idea of how well protected these frames are, Zephyranthes grandiflora goes through the winter in full leaf without any foliage damage. Three of the Chilean Tropaeolum go through the winters without any folaige damage. Cyclamen cyprium has made itself at home in one frame.
There is a space about one foot wide beteween these two frames. In that space, and right against the house wall, grows a second plant of Iris unguicularis. The only protection this one gets is the double ply tarp cover. This plant has been longer establisehd than the other and now flowers freely.
The older Iris unguicularis has been in place since 2005, and the Iris lazica came from Jane McGary in 2007. 
There is also a clump of Iris cretensis in one of the frames; it is growing well but has yet to bloom.  
All of these iris take their time in getting established in my experience - typically they are in the ground for three years before they start to bloom. 
I have several friends in nearby northern Virginia, about ten to fifteen miles south of here as the crow flies, who successfully grow both Iris unguicularis and I. lazica in the open garden. I know that one of the Iris lazica clumps is out in the open in a completely unprotected place. And as I recall the I. unguicularis plants are planted about five feet out from a wall of  the house but otherwise not protected. As of yesterday, their Iris lazica were not blooming yet. The new zip code locater says two of us are zone 7a, a third is zone 7b.
One reason I use the cold frames is that they simulate the snow cover which we rarely get for long. 
 Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin <> 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society



----- Original Message -----
From: Tony Avent <>
To: 'Pacific Bulb Society' <>
Sent: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 3:32 PM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Iris lazica


Did I understand that you are growing Iris unguicularis and I. lazica in the ground?  If so, what temps have these survived without snow cover and how many years have you had them in the ground?  Thanks.

Tony Avent
Plant Delights Nursery @
Juniper Level Botanic Garden
9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, North Carolina  27603  USA
Minimum Winter Temps 0-5 F
Maximum Summer Temps 95-105F
USDA Hardiness Zone 7b
phone 919 772-4794
fax  919 772-4752
"I consider every plant hardy until I have killed it least three times" - Avent

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of James Waddick
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 11:48 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: Re: [pbs] Iris lazica

>Iris lazica is blooming today in one of my cold frames. Two unnamed
>accessions of the related I. unguicularis have also been blooming.

Dear Jim McK and all,
        Your lazica and unguilares are way ahead. I am close to - if not at the limit - but I unguiculares should open its first flower the next sunny day and no buds visible on lazica yet. No reticulata flowers, but many leaves poking up. Hope to see flowers ln I cretensis too. Fingers crossed.

        These are all in the ground and not in cold frames.

>Other than tommies, things are quiet on the crocus front - that's a puzzle.

        Our first was C. sieberi 'Firelfy' - then 'Bowles White'
followed by ancyrensis and then tommies, but just a few. Still anticipating a better show here too.

        Narc. 'Cedric Morris' has been open about 5 weeks and is just now looking sad and fading.  Meanwhile 'Rynfeld's Early Sensation' is coming on strong and blooming by the dozen.  Eranthis are about done and Adonis is well up, but not showing color yet. My few Cyclamen have fared as good as any winter and foliage is not badly damaged as usual. Even a single Rosmary plant in a cool part of the garden is surviving - this is a unique event.

        We too have this very odd weather. No winter to speak of, but wondering what's coming  -Snow and freezes in April or may?

                IS it spring?           Best            Jim
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
        Summer 100F +

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