IN THE GARDEN
Louisiana irises (Iris ser. Hexagonae) are essentially water plants, originating in the swamps of Louisiana in the US, but their ability to thrive in different regions and in diverse microclimates means you can use them in a number of different situations.
Use them boldly: create corners, blocks or drifts of colour, and because they only flower from September to October, combine them with foliage plants and other acid-loving flowers for year-round interest, says Leone.
Make the most of their ability to grow in water by planting them in and around a water feature, in a pond, boggy area or next to a tap. Plants should be planted in a pot and left for three to four weeks for new roots to develop before sinking them into a pond.
Use tall varieties for height in a perennial border or as an accent plant.
Make a feature of them in large containers with folded plastic or pot shards, lining the base to slow down the drainage.
Use them to introduce colour to woodland areas that only receive dappled sunshine.
Use newer compact varieties in townhouse gardens.
In rockeries, plant them in deep pockets of soil to protect the rhizomes from extreme heat and cold.
They’re available in a range of heights. Find out from the nursery what the eventual height of the flowering spike will be as this will affect their placement.
BEARDED VS LOUISIANA
There’s a misconception that Louisiana irises are difficult to grow. This is probably because their growing requirements are different from their bearded counterparts. Bearded irises need full sun and alkaline soil, are shallow rooted and shouldn’t be overwatered. They don’t like humidity.