offers gardeners what many consider to be one of
the most intense blue colors in the world of
the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah, Ga.,
has been building bridges, though they might look short,
in reality they stretch all the way to Louisiana.
to almost a thousand rhizomes courtesy of a leading
Louisiana iris nursery, we are now showing thousands of
visitors, and a region of the country, the incredible
display potential of the Louisiana iris. The new bridges
mentioned above actually serve as special vista points
overlooking the incredible array of color in our winding
I say bog and though Louisiana irises are native to
swamps, and perform well in actual water gardens, the
typical fertile garden soil of your home may prove to be
just perfect for a show like you have never experienced.
descriptions or identifications if you will, of
Louisiana irises prove to be more challenging than
actually growing the plant. Instead of me giving a
treatise on their nomenclature I turned to my good
friends Dan Gill and Allen Owings, extension
horticulturists with Louisiana State University which is
after all ground zero for Louisiana iris.
describe five species of being ‘The Louisianans.’
These are Iris brevicaulis, Iris fulva, Iris
giganticaerulea, Iris hexagona and Iris nelsonii.
According to Gill and Owings, Iris brevicaulis and I.
fulva are native along the Mississippi north to Ohio but
only in Louisiana are all five found. They are all
closely related and will interbreed with each other but
no other species.
you have never paid attention to Louisiana irises, then
you will most likely be in for a shock. It will most
likely thrill you to see all of the new selections,
colors and color combinations. In looking at ours it
seems as every color in the rainbow is there including
those with multi-colors and ruffles. The best of all is
that these incredible flowers are borne on plants that
might be best described as graceful if not exquisite.
your interest is starting to peak, then know that
Louisiana irises can be grown from zones 6-10. They
perform best with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight
per day. The soil should be fertile and organically
rich. If your soil is sandy then amend with 3 to 4
inches of organic matter like compost or humus and
incorporate to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. This organic
matter will improve condition for those of you with
are best planted in the fall setting just below the soil
surface. But if you are like most gardeners you will
find them available at the garden center in the spring,
growing in containers. These can be planted with great
success too, just plant at the same depth as in the
container. These are vigorous plants so plan on spacing
at least 2 feet apart.
start blooming in March and last into May depending on
varieties and regions and then go dormant in the summer.
Remove yellowed and unattractive foliage. Plants grown
with a lot of moisture available tend to keep more green
leaves but regardless expect a flush of growth in the
fall. Feed your plants with all-purpose slow release
fertilizer in fall and late winter.
Louisiana iris complements the water garden, ponds and
creek beds whether they are dry or flowing. I love them
combined with plants like elephant ears, ferns, gingers
and King Tut papyrus. Place some in grandma’s cottage
garden however and they will look at home and command
you haven’t looked at Louisiana irises lately it is
time to do so. You will fall in love and want as many as
you can get to add that special sizzle to your spring