Monday, March 1, 2010

Iris cristata

I've got sidetracked by some pretty flowers this morning. We got an order of irises from Joe Pye Weeds Garden last fall, and knew that it was not the time to plant them out, so we've kept them in the greenhouse. They sat under a bench for the first couple of months, and then as they've started to put out new growth, we've moved them up under the lights. This first one is Iris cristata 'Edgar Anderson'. The cristatas are tiny things - these are in 4 inch pots and are about 6 inches tall, but are blooming wonderfully. Just what I need with all of this snow and ice. Several more are budded, so I should have more photos soon.

This second one is called Iris cristata 'Blue Giant' and though the 'giant' is relative, it is bigger than the normal cristata blooms. I love the pattern of the colors and the icy blue. You will occasionally find a white one. They will all get planted out in the spring, once the frosts are past (and once this stupid snow finally melts).
These irises will grow in zones 3-9 and are native to the northeastern US. In general they are about 6 inches tall and bloom in the spring. The color ranges through the blues and lavenders for the most part, though you will find some with a bit more patterning than others. They like full sun to part shade, though here they seem to grow best in part shade, especially if you want the flowers to look their best. If grown in full sun, you need to be sure they are getting enough moisture. In the wild I often have seen them growing at the edge of the woods. They will naturalize in a place where they are happy. They're nice in a rock garden or woodland garden. The only problem, and if can be a big one, is snails and slugs. Suround them with a coarse grit mulch - like chicken grit from the feed store - to discourage those slimy pests.
They are listed as an endangered species in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and because they are notoriously difficult to transplant in any case, and very inexpensive, I would recommend just buying an assortment from an iris nursery.

1 comment:

keewee said...

Those are very pretty, when I moved from my other house, I forgot to dig some of my favorite smaller iris.