Paradise Garden

Gardening Articles written by Experts


Iris planifolia

by Mark Rowland

Introduction

The only Juno iris native to Europe, Iris planifolia is far easier to cultivate than its Asiatic relatives. It has large attractive flowers in various shades of blue, freely produced in January and February with a pleasant spicy fragrance. Occasional white flowered forms occur in the wild.

Iris planifoliaIris planifolia flower

Distribution

Although of the 55 species belonging to the subgenus Scorpiris 54 are of purely Asiatic distribution, Iris planifolia is the exception. It is widely distributed from the Iberian peninsula in the west to Crete in the east and North Africa in the south, taking in Sardinia and Sicily. It favours rocky hillsides which are wet in winter and dry in summer.

Propagation

Naturally develops quite rapidly into clumps by division of the bulbs. These can be carefully teased apart in late summer, taking care not to damage the thick fleshy roots which tend to be interlocked.

Cultivation

Grows best in a deep pot to accommodate its long fleshy roots. Needs a good warm dry ripening period in summer.

Pests and Diseases

Iris planifolia is generally trouble free, but is reputed to be unusually prone to virus infections.


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