Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Iris for shadier damp conditions.

These sino-siberian Iris are in flower now and, although they are not as striking as the more showy types, they do not require the type of sunny position that their cousins revel in.They are generally happy in a damp but well-drained soil in sun or part shade.

Iris chrysographes 'Black Gold'

Iris sibirica

Iris sino-siberian
 'Blauewiesmotte'
 (sibirica x chrysographes)
Another species from the far north of America, Europe and Asia which is more attractive still is Iris setosa, unfortunately I have no pictures of these as the plants I have are only young.

Iris foetidissima, (Welsh Gladwyn Iris)

Iris foetidissima - Seed-heads
The Welsh Gladwyn Iris is the only Iris that will grow in dry shade although it does better in slightly less-harsh conditions. The flowers are rather insignificant although there are stronger colour forms. The main reason these are grown is for their striking seed heads which unfortunately my picture does not do justice to. Mine were covered this year but I forgot to take some photo's! The seed heads last right through to the Spring.
For anyone growing in shady conditions like mine, I would thoroughly recommend these lesser known Iris to add both a bit of colour and architectural foliage.



8 comments:

  1. You have some very nice irises. I would like to grow foetidissima but it won't survive our winters. What will and what won't it a bit of a puzzle. Some plants that are supposed to be much more tender do survive but others don't. Perhaps I have not tried it in the right place!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome Alain, I think things like the question of hardiness is what makes gardening so fascinating, its like the uncanny way plants have of seeding themselves into places that all the text books tell you are completely unsuitable.

      Delete
  2. Useful post for me Rick - as luck would have it, a friend of a friend sent me up a small pot of I. chrysographes yesterday. I'll use your comment to help me find an idea spot for it. I've taken a note of the names and will keep them with me when I'm plant shopping. You never know what I might find :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Angie, glad it was of some use to you and good luck with your search. Incidentally other than 'Blauewiesmotte' they are all grown from seed.

      Delete
  3. Oh, that means they could probably be happy in my garden too?
    I have given up growing Dutch irises, they can look fine the first year, but look miserable the subsequent years. The worst part about the Dutch irises has been the leaves. The start to grow the leaves in November, and then I have that long, grassy leaves spread out doing nothing until May, when the flowers come up, and then after the flowers are gone, the leaves take another 4-5 months to die down before I can cut it off. So really, they are only about 1-2 months without the leaves.
    Are the Siberian irises the same?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It may be different in your sub-tropical garden Helene:) but they emerge in late Spring and die back in the Autumn with the majority of herbaceous plants. The leaves tend to be narrow or grass-like but not over invasive so other than the odd straggler they remain quite architectural. They don't separate from the plant easily even if left over winter so are best cut off when they have collapsed at the end of the year for the sake of neatness.

      Delete
  4. Wow! The Black Gold variety is the most beautiful iris I've ever seen! Absolutely stunning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, it is grown from seed courtesy of Plant World Seeds.

      Delete