Plant family: Iridaceae - Iris
Plant type: Grass-like
Plant origin: N/A, California
Coastal Sage Scrub, Coastal Strand, Grassland, Woodland/Forest
Clay, Sand, Sandy Loam, Adaptable
Good for Cut Flowers, Good in Containers, Good under Oaks, Tolerant of Clay Soil, Tolerates Hard Frost
This beautiful perennial forms vigorous 2 to 3 foot wide clumps of arching, dark green sword shaped leaves. From spring to early summer 3 to 4 inch long flowers arise on 1 to 2 foot high stems. The flowers can range from a creamy white to lavender to dark purple. Douglas irises are one tough customer that provide the gardener a range of uses. They are fabulous scattered under oaks or other dry shady areas, or massed to produce a grass-like ground cover. They can be planted in full sun along the coast and in filtered light inland. Irises are not finicky about soil types, but they prefer richer soils such as clay with some organic matter in the soil. Once established they do not need much water but they like a bit of water throughout their first year to get established. Remember, they may look like lush grass, but do not appreciate regular watering in summer months, when they are naturally adapted to little or no rainfall. Important nectar producer for native bees. Make great cut flowers.
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