Monday, January 30, 2017

Louisiana Irises


By Hooker T. Nichols


'Great White Hope' (Haymon)--image by Robert Treadway


One of the easiest ways to extend your iris season is to plant a few Louisiana irises in your beds.  If you are gardener who raises irises, as well as, daylilies, Louisiana irises will fill in the bloom between the two bloom seasons.

'Red Velvet Elvis' (Vaughn) image by MJ Urist


Louisiana irises can be grown in any type of fertile soil, though they prefer somewhat acidic soil.  The best time to transplant them is in early autumn when the summer heat has passed. I use any type of low nitrogen fertilizer.  8-8-8, 10-20-0 works well or use granulated geranium or azalea fertilizer.  A little each month does wonder for their growth. Autumn application is around Halloween and Spring when the crocus bloom.


'Deja Voodoo' (O'Connor)--image by Robert Treadway

Plant the rhizomes 3” deep and keep watered until new growth begins.  Mulch them the year round and one good watering each week during the hot summer months is a must.  Do not allow them to go dormant during the summer.  

'Dural White Butterfly' (Taylor)
Photo by Richard Sloan


The bloom stalks range from 10 to over 50 inches in height.  Cut all bloom stalks after the last flowers fade.  Remember that allowing seed pods to form and mature will result on a reduction of buds the following year.

'Ride for Dixie' (Morgan) image by Delane Langton

Here are some older varieties I would highly recommend to the beginner if they want to grow a few Louisiana irises.  Just remember, most are rapid increasers and must be transplanted every two years.  Three year clumps can yield lots of increase and huge clumps. One half to full sun is recommended.

'Daintree' (Taylor)--image by Terry Aitken
'Melody Wilhoit' (Nichols)--image by Patrict O'Conner

White-Dural White Butterfly
Red-Red Velvet Elvis
Blue-Deja Voodoo
Orange-Ride for Dixie
Yellow-Daintree, Spanish Ballet, Edna Claunch, Melody Wilhoit
Purple-Great White Hope, Cajun Serenade, Starpower
Bronze-Cajun Sunrise

'Cajun Serenade' (Nichols)--image by Jim Morris


You will not be disappointed with the beauty of Louisiana Irises.

'Cajun Sunrise' (Mertzweiller)--image by Richard Sloan

Editor's Note: Hooker T. Nichols is one of our new bloggers and a famous, award winning hybridizer of tall bearded and median irises; in recent years, he has been breeding Louisiana irises and has spuria seedlings under consideration for introduction. His irises can be found at his garden: Hillcrest Iris & Daylily Gardens.

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