Monday, September 23, 2013

Favorite Iris Introductions of 2013

By Renee Fraser

A while back, I promised to tell you about some of the most popular new introductions for 2013.  I know it is late in the season, but I'll continue the series anyway so that you can add to your lists for next year. So here is another 2013 favorite of irisarians, this time from Rick Tasco of Superstition Iris Gardens in Cathey's Valley, California.  Rick says "our 2013 introduction that has been drawing the most interest and the most sales has been "Molten Flame."  It is 34" tall and is heavily ruffled with an intense red orange beard.  It has up to 10 buds, with triple sockets at times.  It is a cross between one of my Dykes Medal winners ("Golden Panther") and a brilliant intense orange seedling by Ben Hager.  Ben gave us that orange seedling before his death and we've been working with it for years trying to capture that shocking intense brilliant orange color, which has to be seen to be believed.  Recently we've been getting close to that color in a proper flower and "Molten Flame" is a result of that breeding.  It has taken many years and different crosses to get all the proportions right because Ben's seedling is too short to be a Tall Bearded and the flower is too big for it to be a Border Bearded, that it why it was never introduced either by Melrose or by Cooley's after Ben's passing.  "Molten Flame" finally is tall enough at 34" with a heavily ruffled moderately-sized flower.  "Golden Panther" helped by passing on its superior bud count."

"Molten Flame" Tasco, 2013 Photo Credit Rick Tasco

"Those of you who have visited our garden have undoubtedly seen the Hager seedling.  At times, we try to "hide" it in the seedling patch because everyone always asks about that "orange flower".  It can be easily spotted in a crowded seedling bed.  We will continue to work with it and see what else develops."

Bright orange tall bearded irises are few and far between, so we are quite excited about this break in color.  I love orange and use it extensively in the garden, so I look forward to seeing this iris in person.  Do you grow orange irises?  Which ones?


  1. 'Gratuity' by Hager has been the brightest orange in my garden for years. Have always loved the orange irises.

  2. I was fortunate enough to win 'Molten Flame' in Rick's contest this spring!!

  3. I was lucky enough to win 'Molton Flame' in Rick's contest this spring.

  4. I also grow Gratuity and still grow Hager's Good Show. Are there newer varieties out there that do well?

    1. Aside from Molten Flame, I only grow Cajun Rhythm, which is a butterscotch color, and Maid of Orange, a border bearded. Maid of Orange puts on a huge show each year and looks really vivid in the garden, even though it is an older variety. I'll be interested to see if anyone answers your questions with good recommendations, cac.

  5. I have "Orange King" and "Grobswitcher". Both are real nice. Greg

  6. I like Molten Flame, it has the X-factor! From B.E

  7. Orange Popsicle is one of my favs! After losing it to the drought in Texas 2 yrs ago, I finally got another one. Can't wait for it to bloom!


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