About this cultivar:
Iris ensata is the plain species on offer! Japanese water iris (Japanese: hanashōbu), formerly I. kaempferi, is native to Japan, China, Korea and Russia. Highly-prized in Japan it is possible that it was introduced into Japanese culture in ancient times, in association with rice farming. Possibly because, like rice, it loves boggy and wet areas. Certainly it has been cultivated and hybridised there for at least five centuries
But why buy this instead of a cultivar? Basically you are hoping for it to seed and naturalise with some variation in height and flower colour.
- Position: Full sun, partial shade
- Soil: Almost any soil, grows well in Ballyrobert
- Flowers: June, July, August
- Other features: Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (RHS AGM), Cut Flowers or Dried Flowers
- Hardiness: H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15°C), Fully hardy - grows well in Ballyrobert
- Habit: Clump forming
- Foliage: Deciduous
- Height: 60 - 90 cm (2 - 3 ft)
- Spread: 45 - 60 cm (1.5 - 2 ft)
- Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years
- Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
- Colour: Green, purple
- Goes well with: Hosta, Hemerocallis, Geranium
About this genus:
Iris (i-ris) is a genus of 260–300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colours found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, Iris is also used as a common name. Long in cultivation there seem to be as many cultivars as plants. Culturally the genus has had quite an impact. The fleur-de-lis, a stylized Iris, first occurs in its modern use as the emblem of the House of Capet (rulers of France 987 to 1328). It is also the universal symbol for Scouting. Many artists have a 'thing' with Iris, not least Van Gogh- who was a fan of Iris (not just sunflowers).... see images opposite!
As a group, Iris species can range from drought-tolerant dry land perennials to bog dwellers and from sun to shade, so there is no set of cultivation rules for the genus as a whole. In general though the cultivars we have in our garden (and sell), are tough, low maintenance plants perfect for wet gardens and similar sites.
Try pairing irises in the garden with Hosta, Hemerocallis, Geranium. They also look great as a cut-flower; the reason you don't get them in florists is that they don't transport well.