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Herbaceous Perennial

Iris paradoxa

unusual iris

I. paradoxa is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial, 10-25cm high, with narrow leaves 2-4mm wide, and flowers in spring or early summer. The erect standards may be white, veined with deep blue-violet, to uniform deepest purple, pale blue or pale yellow; the somewhat horizontal falls may be blackish-violet, through pale purple densely overlaid with black-purple veins, to golden yellow, and the beards are velvety black-purple; it is dormant in late summer

Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Blue Black Blue Purple Yellow White Green Blue
Summer Green Blue Black Blue Purple Yellow White Green Blue
Autumn Green Blue
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Drought resistance
Yes
Hardiness
H3
Botanical details
Family
Iridaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Potentially harmful
Ingestion may cause severe discomfort. Wear gloves and wash hands after handling
Genus

Iris may be rhizomatous or bulbous perennials, with narrow leaves and erect stems bearing flowers with 3 large spreading or pendent fall petals, alternating with 3 erect, often smaller, standard petals, in late winter, spring or early summer

Name status

Unresolved

Plant range
E Turkey, N Iran, Caucasus

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How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in very well-drained soil, in full sun, and with the top surfaces of the rhizomes exposed so that they get baked in summer sun, which encourages flowering; best grown in a bulb frame or alpine house in containers using gritty, free-draining compost, and kept dry during late summer and winter

Propagation

Propagate by seed, or by division of rhizomes after flowering; for more advice, see dividing irises

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Gravel garden
  • Patio and container plants
  • Rock garden
  • Wall side borders
Pruning

Remove old flower stems after flowering, and any dying foliage

Pests

May be affected by iris sawfly, aphids, leaf miners, slugs, snails, and wireworms

Diseases

May be affected by virus diseases, iris rhizome rot, iris leaf spot, scorch, and a rust; for more advice see iris diseases

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