Irises are at an inherent disadvantage in a spring-wet climate, because they have upturned flowers like tulips instead of down-turned flowers like many lilies. Hybridizers in dry spring areas have selected for wide, frilly flowers over the past few decades; usually these plants flower in late winter to mid spring. In spring-wet areas, these flowers are hammered by rain, damaged so badly that pollination cannot occur.
|A modern wide-petaled, frilly Pacific Iris flower on a dry day. This is an unnamed seedling, flowering for the first time this year.|
|The same unnamed Pacifica Iris seedling following an intense rainstorm. Its wide petals tend to melt in heavy rain. The damage to the falls is not a deer or slug, it's rainfall that tore off portions of the petals.|
|Another unnamed seedling, a lovely yellow, after a rainstorm. Note the damaged style crests and standards, and melted falls.|
|'Canyon Snow' when dry, above, and wet, below. This Doug' selection holds up well in rain with sturdy upright stems and durable flowers.|
Older hybrids have narrower petals and less frilling, and often do surprisingly well in heavy rain. Go back about 20 years, to find these sturdy forms. 'Mission Santa Cruz' and 'Cape Ferrelo', to name two, also do well in intense rain.
|'Harry's Rootbeer' holds up in rain. This hybrid is a 'Mission Santa Cruz' progeny, bred for southern California, which also does well in the Pacific Northwest.|
|Iris tenax from Lewis County, Washington, does well in rain, as do many Pacifica species.|