Native irises carry Louisiana name worldwide
|J E Theriot|
Blooming from late March to early May, the Louisiana iris is a floral ambassador that has carried the state’s name all over the world.
Though a number of iris species are native to Louisiana, only five species – Iris brevicaulis, Iris fulva, Iris giganticaerulea, Iris hexagona and Iris nelsonii – are known as “The Louisianans.”
Only in south Louisiana do all five species occur together. They are closely related and will interbreed with each other but with no other species. Their large, attractive flowers cover a broad range of colors, including many shades of blue, purple, red, yellow, pink, gold, brown, lavender, burgundy and white.
The best time to plant Louisiana irises is in August and September when they are dormant, but you can buy and plant them as well while they are in bloom in spring with good success. When purchased and planted in spring, however, Louisiana irises need to be handled carefully to avoid damaging the foliage and flower buds.
Louisiana irises should be grown with as much direct sun as possible. At least six hours of direct sun are needed for good blooming. When preparing a spot to plant them, incorporate a 3-inch layer of compost, rotted manure or peat moss and fertilizer into the soil.
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