Other Names: Iris stylosa,
Algerian winter iris
A vigorous evergreen perennial that brings much need colour to empty winter borders. These rhizomatous beardless irises enjoy a warm, sunny, well-drained aspect. If growing conditions are right, the narrow grassy leaves are topped with beautiful lilac or light blue honey-scented flowers, all winter long.
Named varieties include 'Mary Barnard' (dark mauve) and 'Walter Butt' (pale blue).
Ideal for growing on banks, borders, flower beds and containers. Needs some protection during severe winters, so best grown under the protection of a south-facing wall. Useful plant for cut flowers.
Plant in September, in poor well drained soil, in a sunny sheltered spot. Sharp drainage is essential as the rhizomes will rot-off if the soil is too damp. Sprinkle a little bone meal over the area before planting.
Cut back leaves in June, with shears. This will allow the sun to ripen the rhizomes, which is essential for good flowering. Divide clumps once they become to large and congested.
Produces new flowers daily. Pick blooms regularly, just before the buds open (open blooms can be damaged by severe weather or birds). An established clump can produce a continuing supply from November to February.
Propagate Iris unguicularis by division in summer/early autumn. Dig-up the clump and prize it into smallish pieces, with two forks back-to-back. Replant the divisions immediately in their flowering positions.